Sony announces PSP2 NGP handheldPSP successor to rival Nintendo 3DS
27 January 2011
Sony has announced the long-awaited successor to the PlayStation Portable, currently codenamed NGP - Next Generation Portable.
Sony's new handheld features a five-inch OLED screen, bigger than the original PSP's 4.3-inches, and according to Sony, four times the resolution of its predecessor. The screen is touch sensitive, like Nintendo's DS and upcoming 3DS. There's also a touch pad on the back of the console.
The NGP features two analogue sticks, compared to the original PSP's one. This should make simultaneously controlling the action and the camera in 3D games much easier. This is a feature that users have been asking for since the original PSP launched, and it seems Sony has listened.
For the first time Sony's handheld will also feature two built in cameras, one front-facing, one rear-facing. Previous models only had the option of adding a camera peripheral. Sony has stated that these cameras will be used for augmented reality (where information is overlaid on real-life images) applications, potentially even games.
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The NGP features both wi-fi and 3G. Sony has developed a social gaming system, called 'Near', that tells a player what people in the vicinity are playing. Nintendo's 3DS has a similar system. When in this mode players can click on a title and buy it directly from the PlayStation store, and then download it.
The LiveArea feature is another social aspect of the NGP, and will allow players to see the progress of other people playing the same game, and communicate with them directly. It will also be a portal for information and updates from the game manufacturer.
Games and cartridges
The NGP does away with Sony's Universal Media Disc (UMD) system entirely, replacing them with more traditional flash cards instead. Early indications suggest that these will be propriety in design. Sony has confirmed that any previously downloaded games will be fully backwards compatible.
Sony showed off some of the big games that will be appearing on the console, with popular franchises such as Call of Duty, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, Killzone, Monster Hunter and Wipeout all making an appearance. There were also some new titles revealed, such as Reality Fighters, an augmented reality fighting game that uses the NGP's camera to provide the backdrop for the onscreen action.
Games played on the NGP will also feature trophies, so that players can track their in-game achievements, and share their progress with friends. This has been a feature of the PlayStation 3 for some time.
The NGP will also be compatible with Android software, allowing users to play popular Android titles on their Sony handheld.
Read our hands on impressions of the NGP's rival, the Nintendo 3DS.
The NGP has been confirmed by Sony as being available to buy in Japan by Christmas, although there is no word on a European release date as of yet, and no price announcement has been made.
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