Sony officially announced a new portable gaming system in Tokyo this afternoon, codenaming the machine the "Next Generation Portable (NGP)."
The evolution of the PlayStation Portable had to be a big leap, with Sony's first attempt at changing the PSP, the "Go," being lambasted by most critics and by consumers. In addition, Sony's main competitor in the portable console market, Nintendo, has a major revision coming this year with their 3DS handheld.
Boasting an OLED screen, a powerful processor, two touch screens, two analog sticks, gyroscope and accelerometer controls, Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, two cameras, and a new flash card storage system, this is definitely a system that tech-heads can drool over with ease. What it means to the rest of the gaming population is very pretty (Sony promises near-PlayStation 3 graphics) games with more ways to interact than ever before.
For example, in a game like the action-adventure Uncharted, you can use the back-touchpad to climb vines, the tilt-controls to aim a sniper rifle or swing, the front touch screen to stealth-kill enemies, and the dual analog sticks and standard buttons for your regular movement and camera control. With huge 5-inch diagonal touch on both the front and back of the device, Sony promises this will all be natural feeling for gamers.
Of course, a new game system is nothing without big time games. While the system will not be out until Holiday 2011 (in Japan, no announcement for worldwide release has been made as of yet), some very big games have already been announced. In addition to Uncharted, new games in the, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, and Call of Duty franchises have already been announced, along with other hit Sony games and promised major third-party support. Games downloadable via Sony's PlayStation Network for the PSP will be backwards-compatible on the NGP, including PlayStation One games.
As for those PSone games, they have a new delivery system called PlayStation Suite. In addition to the NGP, PlayStation Suite will be available on Android-powered cell phones and tablet devices. This marks the first time Sony will offer hardware-neutral games, though few details were offered on this system so far.
No price point or official name was announced for the NGP in the initial announcement.