It seems as if January is now known as portable console season as Sony has just announced its latest gaming machine strangely called the next-generation PlayStation Portable or NGP.
One week on from Nintendo giving the world the 3DS, Sony has announced what everyone had been calling the PSP2, and the new gadget does look a lot like its predecessor. However the NGP boasts some seriously impressive spec both inside and out including quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a quad-core Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU. Add to that highly improved screen resolution, touchscreen, multi-touch touchpad, dual analogue sticks and two cameras and you will see that the NGP is an entirely different beast to the PSP.
The NGP was announced earlier this morning at an event in Toyko by Kazuo Hirai, President of Sony Computer Entertainment. However while all this news is very exciting, we won’t be getting our hands on the powerful little device until Christmas - no, you didn’t read that incorrectly, Sony won’t be bringing the NGP goodness to us until late in 2011. It is therefore likely to be fighting a serious battle with the 3DS which hits shops here in the UK on March 25. However the NGP will be relying on its impressive hardware and new “social interaction” aspect to make it stand out.
The hardware is impressive. The CPU and GPU aside the 5in OLED touchscreen has a whopping 960 x 544 resolution, it sports dual analogue stick controllers, Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, a 5in multi-touch capacitive touchpad on the rear, two cameras (one front, one rear), as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer similar to those seen in the PlayStation Move and an electronic compass.Tentative dimensions for the NGP given by Sony were 182 x 18.6 x 83.55 mm but no weight was released.
On the gaming front, Sony has done away with the UMD and games will now come on a “a small flash memory based card” which will be technology dedicated to NGP games. Some of the games on show in Toyko included Killzone, Resistance, Little Big Planet, and Uncharted – the latter showing off how the rear touchpad could be used for climbing up vines. We hope this wholly new control system could see developers come up with some innovative ways of controlling in-game characters.
The new UI on the NGP will be called LiveArena which will include built-in social networking through PlayStation Network. The UI will even let you jump directly from games to LiveArena to update your status without losing game position. A new application called Near, designed specifically for the NGP that comes pre-installed will let users find out what their friends in the vicinity are playing now or what they were playing recently. Users can also meet their friends and new players virtually.
It seems a little mean for Sony to announce the NGP now and make everyone wait a whole year to get their hands on one but in the mean time we will be bringing you all the latest news regarding games, hardware and of course the all important pricing. However, terrible name aside (and Sony may change this prior to launch), the NGP looks seriously impressive and we can't wait to get our hands on one to have a look.