It’s been a few hours but the video game industry and gamers alike are still buzzing over Sony’s reveal of the NGP i.e. the PSP2. Everyone knew that Sony would show their PSP successor at some point, but I think we’re all still shocked because for once the pre-reveal hype and initial hardware rumors didn’t fall apart when the actual news came in. If anything, the NGP somewhat surpassed the initial expectations gamers had for Sony’s latest handheld unit.
Sony didn’t reveal a few key details about the NGP during the PlayStation Meeting, but a few details have arisen after the show which should alleviate certain fears gamers have. I think the first thing everyone thought of when seeing the NGP was that “It’s awesome but is going to be crazy expensive.” When the original PSP came out the device had a $299 price point that made quite a few people gasp if not entirely laugh out loud over Sony’s somewhat presumptuous attitude to think that consumers would pay such a high price. Now with the Nintendo 3DS being priced at $250 in North America/Europe and $300 in Japan, Sony is going to have to find the sweet spot with their pricing and apparently they’re willing to take a risk. According to Eurogamer’s chat with SCEE’s Andrew House, the NGP will be sold at an “affordable price that's appropriate for the handheld gaming space.” Knowing Sony that could mean we’re going to see a $400 handheld, but sources close to Sony have commented that the Sony will be selling the device at a loss so maybe we could see Sony sell the NGP around the $250-300 range.
The battery life of the NGP is a very big question gamers have and as of now we only have unofficial comments regarding just how long we’ll be able to enjoy games like Uncharted before the battery runs dry. Supposedly the battery life of the NGP will last between four to five hours, a somewhat short amount of time, but it almost seems to be the norm this gen on the handheld front as the 3DS has a similar battery life.
On the game front Sony is blowing things up with games like Uncharted, WipeOut, and Resistance. Presumably SCEE and the remnants of the WipeOut Pure/Pulse team will be handling the latest of WipeOut, but Sony Bend (Syphon Filter) will be tackling Uncharted while Nihilistic Software (PlayStation Move Heroes) will be tasked with adapting the fps action of Resistance for the NGP. It still remains a mystery who is developing Killzone for the NGP but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another studio within the SCEE branch. That’s unless Guerrilla Games are absolute masters and are doing the NGP version themselves.
As you can tell by the video above, the NGP is very impressive graphically at this stage. Not all of the games are quite on the PS3 level, but some such as Uncharted do look like they’re a few steps away from the 1st gen games that we saw appear on the PS3. The only thing that greatly concerns me about the NGP and its games is how the touch controls will be implemented. The Uncharted demo may have been a bit cut & dry, but having to tap the screen to climb a ledge or do a climbing motion on the back touchpad of the NGP in order to climb a vine seems a bit off if not silly. It hasn’t been said if developers will have otherwise simple moves assigned exclusively to the touch features of the NGP or if gamers will have the option to go “old-school” and use actual button method inputs.
It’s January and already I think everyone wants it to be November or whenever the hell Sony plans on releasing the NGP. Sony certainly stumbled with the PSP a bit, mainly in terms of software, but if developers can easily port over their PS3 assets and then use them to create either ports/spin-offs or sequels then we could see the handheld get a wealthy amount of support from 3rd party devs, which hopefully will lead to a successful handheld.