Sony Unveils Its Next Portable Dream Machine, Codenamed ‘NGP’

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Last week, Nintendo showcased its “next big thing” for the portable gaming market, the 3DS. A DS upgrade powered by glasses-free 3D technology.

This morning, Sony has fired back, officially pulling the curtain back on its long-rumored ‘PSP 2’. Sony’s successor to the PSP is currently codenamed ‘Next Generation Portable’ (or ‘NGP’ for short) and is said to pack the horsepower of a PS3. It’ll be out by the end of 2011, too! But no specific dates or pricing have been confirmed.

The device itself looks very similar to the current PSP, only with a more rounded form factor (dubbed ‘Super Oval Design’) and an even larger and more visually stunning OLED screen. The 5-inch OLED touch screen is complimented by a multi-touch pad of exact proportion on the back of the system, and similar to the 3DS and DSi, the NGP is equipped with front and rear cameras. Satisfying critics of the original PSP’s lone analog nub, the NGP also features two full analog sticks, in addition to SIXAXIS-style motion controls.

Social connectivity seems to be a major component to the NGP experience as well, with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity and new software applications like LiveArea and Near bringing gamers together like never before.

The other big news is that the NGP is ditching the UMD format, as expected, in favor of flash memory. NGP games will be available on high-capacity flash memory cards capable of storing full software titles, add-on content and save data. The NGP will also be backwards compatible with all PSN content, including original PSP games, PlayStation minis, PSOne Classics, comics and videos (but don’t expect some form of UMD transfer program given Sony’s track record with the PSPgo).

More NGP news to come. For now I leave you with the official press release with all the early details and a gallery of the first hardware shots. And don’t forget to sound off in the comments. We’d love to hear what you think about the NGP so far!

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Sony Computer Entertainment Announces Its Next Generation Portable Entertainment System

Ultimate Portable Entertainment System Makes Its Debut This Year, Further Expanding the PlayStation® Business in the Portable Gaming Market

TOKYO, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — SonyComputerEntertainment Inc. (SCE)today announced its next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP), which delivers the ultimate portable entertainment experience. NGP will make its debut at the end of the year 2011.

NGP is designed to offer unparalleled interactive entertainment that is only possible on PlayStation®. This new system offers a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context, made possible by leveraging SCE’s experience from both PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®3 (PS3®) entertainment systems.

Deep and immersive gaming is at the core of PlayStation’s DNA, and NGP is the latest embodiment of this vision. By having both Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity, together with various applications, NGP will enable infinite possibilities for users to “encounter,” “connect,” “discover,” “share” and “play” with friends wherever they are. Within the device are a range of features that provide a genuinely cutting-edge, next generation ultimate portable entertainment experience.

· Stunning OLED and Revolutionary User Interface

NGP incorporates a beautiful multi-touch 5-inch organic light emitting display (OLED) as the front display. A high-performance CPU / GPU combined with OLED enables rich, visually striking graphics never seen before on a portable entertainment system, for both games and other digital entertainment content. The new system also incorporates a unique multi-touch pad on the rear, and together with the front touch display, NGP offers new game play allowing users to interact directly with games in three dimension-like motion, through “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” moves of the fingers.

· Super Oval Design and Dual Analog Sticks

While succeeding the basic design philosophy of PSP, NGP adopts the Super Oval Design form factor, created to fit comfortably in users’ hands. For the first time, a portable entertainment system will feature two analog sticks, which enable a wider range of game genres to be brought into the portable experience.

· LiveArea™

Every game title for NGP will be provided with a space called “LiveArea™” where users can share the fun and excitement with other players. Users will have access to the latest information of games provided from SCE and 3rd party developers and publishers through PlayStation®Network. Additionally, NGP users will be able to view an “Activity” log that is constantly updated with accomplishments from users who are playing the same game, which in turn can trigger active real-time communication among users.

· Near

SCE will also provide location-based services on NGP as part of the basic features utilizing PlayStation Network. The new application called “Near,” developed specifically for this service and the network, will be pre-installed in the system to let users find out what their friends in the vicinity are playing now or what they were playing recently. Users can meet their friends and new players virtually, regardless of what games they are playing, simply by sharing their game information across different dimensions of time and distance.

· New Game Medium

NGP adopts a new game medium, a small flash memory based card, dedicated for NGP software titles. Taking advantage of the flash memory feature, this innovative card can store the full software titles plus add-on game content or the game save data directly on to the card. By adopting flash memory based card, SCE will be able to provide game cards with higher capacity in the future, allowing developers to store more game data to deliver rich and immersive games.

NGP will also come equipped with two cameras on its front and rear, as well as three motion sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass, all of which are designed to enable users to enjoy the world of entertainment that is linked with real life experiences.

PlayStation®Suite (PS Suite),announced today, will also closely coordinate with NGP. The newly developed and released game content for Android™ based portable devices can also be enjoyed on NGP. As a result, users will have access to not only the most leading-edge content, but also some of the more casual experiences that typify the mobile market place.

SCE will vigorously promote NGP towards the launch as the next generation portable entertainment platform and deploy various measuresto further expand the portable gaming market.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!