It's the sequel to the PSP! Brace your wallets!
Oh the joy! Sony has announced a successor to the PSP. In their PlayStation event which took place last night in Japan, they revealed their newest portable game system codenamed the NGP, which stands for Next Generation Portable.
First let's talk about Sony's plan to bring the PlayStation Store to Android users. This means that anyone with one of those fancy Android phones can connect to the PS Store and start picking up original PS1 games and original PSP games. Because most Androids are touch screen only, the buttons will be virtual buttons on the touch screen (check the pic below. Thanks to Engadget for the pic). On that same note, we've been seeing pics of a “PlayStation cell phone” circling around the net for some time (check the pic below). My theory is that when accessing the PlayStation Store games using the PlayStation Phone (which features real buttons in the same manner that a PlayStation controller does), users will be able to play the games using the phone's physically built-in PS control scheme while every other Android user will have to use the virtual, touch screen controls.
Now on to the NGP or PSP2 or... whatever. First off, I already praise it for having one thing that the original PSP did not... dual analog sticks! (check the pics below) Sony has ditched the singular slide pad design of the first PSP to actually have analog “sticks”, and 2 of them for that matter! Not only that, but this new PSP features a whole bunch of new goodies such as 2 cameras, a mic, a touch screen and an additional touch panel on the rear of the system. Here are the official specs from Sony.
ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (A portable Quad-Core processor. I feel a tremendous pain in my wallet.)
SGX543MP4+ (A Quad-Core GPU developed by Imagination Technologies running at 200MHz core clock speed! Possible 133 million polygons per second and fill rates in excess of 4Gpixels/sec. This essentially destroys all portable devices out on the market right now including the iPad, iPod and iPhone not to mention LG's dual core Optimus 2X phone which hasn't even been released in the states yet!)
Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen (Touch screen)
5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLEDMulti touch screen (capacitive type) (OLED means a flexible screen which means that the screen won't instantly be destroyed if you drop it.)
Rear touch pad
Multi touch pad (capacitive type) (seems a bit unnecessary to have 2 touch panels but could possibly produce some interesting gameplay ideas.)
Front camera, Rear camera (Don't know what the Megapixels are on either camera yet.)
Built-in stereo speakersBuilt-in microphone
Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Built-in GPSWi-Fi location service support
Keys / Switches
PS buttonPower buttonDirectional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)Right stick, Left stickSTART button, SELECT buttonVolume buttons (+/-)
Mobile network connectivity (3G) (3G capability might not be available on all PSP2 models, much like how the iPad features models with 3G and other models without.)IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1x1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR （A2DP/AVRCP/HSP）
Thankfully, Sony has ditched the use of the fragile and power consuming UMD optical game discs and has now done the gaming world a huge service by going back to solid state, flash based cartridges. Let the retro fanboys rejoice!
In one of the pictures below you will notice that it kind of looks like the NGP / PSP2 has 2 game card slots on the top of the system. It might mean that it's possible to insert 2 different game carts into the system and switch between them without having to swap out carts. Another possible use for the dual cart slots is that Sony might be developing their own proprietary “storage drives” in the same shape and form of the game cartridges so that 1 slot would be used for the game cart and the other for the storage drive. This is pretty unlikely as Sony has mentioned that as the future of the NGP progresses, they will develop higher capacity game carts to developers to allow for richer, deeper games and to allow for DLC content to be saved directly onto the game cart. I love this idea because it takes digitally downloaded content and turns it into a physical format and, as many of you know, I always prefer physical over digital.
The biggest problem I see with the PSP2 is that there are really no good games announced for it yet. So far nothing is confirmed but we see a Hot Shots Golf, a Resistance, what looks like a port of the original Uncharted, a Lost Planet (I think), a Dynasty Warriors, a Yakuza title is thrown in there also and just a bunch of tech demos (check the video below). Admittedly, it's still very early but, let's be real, when Nintendo announced the 3DS they also announced some huge name games like Contra, Ninja Gaiden, Resident Evil, a new Kid Icarus title and, of course, the massive announcement that Super Street Fighter IV would be featured on the 3DS, not just in it's entirety, but with added features specific to the 3DS version!
I'm very happy about the fact that the Unreal Engine 3 will be a game engine tool on PSP2 and it's also nice to hear that a Call of Duty is being worked on for the PSP2. Mind you, the Call of Duty franchise is heavily over-rate but it would be nice to finally play one on a portable system with dual analog sticks.
Nintendo's 3DS already has already been announced at a price point of $250. On that note, the PSP2 could very well be the most expensive portable system ever created. The disastrous Nokia N-Gage was the most expensive when it released at a staggering $300 and with the kind of specs that Sony has announced, it might be a fair bet to say that the PSP2 might cost much, much more than even that. Game Informer got a quote from Sony Computer Entertainment president of worldwide studios Shu Yoshida saying "It's not going to be $599." referring to the outrageous price point which the PS3 first released at. Does that mean that it might come out at $598. That would be truthfully sadistic. Oh Sony, please be gentle!