Hardware

PSP Reborn: The Quad-Core Next Generation Portable (NGP)

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Sony has stunned many with the news of a holiday 2011 release for the long-awaited successor of the PSP, codenamed “Next Generation Portable” (read that link, its very informative). We’ll be referring to it as the NGP for brevity, plus it sounds cooler. Although I wonder if Sony should play brand recognition and keep it associated with the name we all thought it would be, which is PSP2. Not to mention there’s nearly five million results for PSP2 on Google.

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13-Jan-2011 11:01, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

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12-Jan-2011 19:43, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

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12-Jan-2011 19:11, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

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12-Jan-2011 18:35, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

 
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13-Jan-2011 15:52, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

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13-Jan-2011 14:54, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

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13-Jan-2011 12:56, Phase One P 45, ISO 50

 

Let’s talk about the hardware. It’s juicy. In fact, it’s so delicious that you really get a sense that Sony is playing three to five year specifications with this launch. I am praying that there will be no delay in its introduction and that it is commercially available in the USA in early December or late November. It could be the true hero of the holidays.

NGP should look familiar to many of you, as its appearance is very similiar to the PSP. However, the NGP includes the highly-requested dual analogue sticks. There’s also a D-pad, and a set of standard PlayStation buttons (Triangle Circle Cross Square), two shoulder buttons (L and R), a PlayStation button as well as Start and Select buttons. In between the analog sticks, a stunning 5 inch OLED capacitive touchscreen is capable of a 960×544 (16:9) resolution and 16 million colors.

An interesting addition is the rear multi-touch pad (capacitive) that game developers can use to create new, unique gaming experiences with this type of input. There’s also front and rear cameras, but specifications on each haven’t been revealed yet. You can see it demonstrated in the video below, and we’ll cover this in greater detail later. In response to the iPhone/iPod Touch, there’s no doubt that this PSP successor has it all, including a six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), and three-axis electronic compass.

Speakers return to Sony’s new gaming dynamo, along with a microphone. GPS, 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.b/g/n) support round out connectivity options. There will be a NGP offered without 3G. It will be interesting to see how much wireless (3G) data will cost, and if carriers will offer bundles and so forth.

Internally, the NGP features a mind blowing quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. There’s also a SGX543MP4+ Graphics processing unit, which will run the “LiveArea” as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar (XMB) for the PlayStation Portable. For more detailed analysis of the processor and graphics hardware, take a look at this insightful article about NGP’s CPU/GPU I found at PS3 Center.

If you want to see some quick video of the NGP in action, check out these Game demos presented earlier today at the “PlayStation Meeting” press conference in Japan. Uncharted | Hot Shots | Little Deviants. Amazing.

(click to start the video where the NGP is announced – 23:27)

Here is the complete one hour and thirty minute “PlayStation Meeting” in HD (and English) courtesy of Gamespot. Most of you already know a great deal about the NGP, but it’s nice to watch the introduction and videos in high quality. Unfortunately, Kaz (and others) are speaking in Japanese. So you will have listen to a translator, but it is still enjoyable and better than most videos out there.

Games have been announced for the device, including Uncharted: Portable, Hustle Kings, Hot Shots Golf Next as well as new iterations of Killzone, Wipeout, Resistance, LittleBigPlanet and Call of Duty. The device will also be backwards compatible, supporting any downloadable PlayStation Portable game, existing owners can simply transfer their digital content over to the new device.

Several third-party studios showcased technology demos of the device by exporting existing assets from their PlayStation 3 counterpart and then rendering them on the device.

Some of the games that were demonstrated include Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Yakuza 4 and Lost Planet 2. Sony has told publishers that the device will be “as powerful as the PlayStation 3.”

id Software Founder/Technical Director John Carmack, creator of genre-defining games such as Doom, tweeted enthusiastically about the NGP. Carmack tweeted, “Low level APIs will allow the Sony NGP to perform about a generation beyond smart phones with comparable specs.”

Game developer support looks pretty outstanding, as an early announcement thread at NeoGaf lists just how numerous:

JAPAN
ACQUIRE Corp., ALVION Inc., AQ INTERACTIVE INC., ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co.,Ltd., ARIKA CO.,LTD., ARTDINK CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS Inc., CAPCOM CO., LTD., CHUN SOFT CO. Ltd, Codemasters Software Company Limited, Crafts & Meister Co. Ltd., CyberConnect2 Co. Ltd., D3 PUBLISHER Inc., Dimps Corporation Edia Co. Ltd., ENTERBRAIN, INC., FromSoftware, Inc, Gameloft K.K. Genki Co.,Ltd., Grasshopper Manufacture Inc., GungHo Online Entertainment Inc, GUST CO. LTD., HAMSTER Corporation, HUDSON SOFT CO. LTD., IDEA FACTORY CO. LTD., Index Corporation(Atlus), IREM SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INC., KADOKAWA GAMES LTD., Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. Ltd., Konami Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd., LEVEL-5 Inc., Marvelous Entertainment Inc., media5 Corporation NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., Nihon Falcom Corporation Nippon Ichi Software Inc., NOWPRODUCTION CO. LTD, Q Entertainment Inc., SEGA CORPORATION, SNK, PLAYMORE CORPORATION, Spike Co., Ltd SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd. SystemSoft Alpha Corp, TECMO KOEI GAMES CO. LTD., TOMY Company Ltd, TOSE CO., LTD. Ubisoft, K.K., YUKE’S Co. Ltd.

NA
Activision, Inc., Capybara Games, Demiurge Studios, Epic Games Inc., Far Sight Studios, Frima, High Voltage Software, Kung Fu Factory, Paramount Digital Entertainment, PopCap Games, Powerhead Games, Trendy Entertainment, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 2K Games, 2K Sports

EU
Avalanche Studios, Climax Studios Ltd, Codemasters Software Company Ltd, Eurocom Developments Ltd, Eutechnyx Ltd, Exient Ltd, Firemint PTY Ltd, Gameloft SA, Gusto Games Ltd, Home Entertainment Suppliers PTY Ltd, Impromptu Software Ltd, Rebellion, Rockstar Games, Sidhe Interactive, Sumo Digital Ltd, Team 17 Software Ltd, Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Zen Studios Ltd

Games will also be distributed in a new flash storage format rather than the original PlayStation Portable’s Universal Media Disc format. It hasn’t been detailed what type of flash drive it will contain, or what the maximum capacity of the drive.

Anyone want to guess what the price will be? $299 would be incredible, but with such specs it seems impossible. Would it sell well at $350-$399?

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