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The Great NGP Debate

March 6, 2011

Sony’s NGP – Next Generation Portable (aka PSP2) – it’s a powerful gaming machine with lots of means of interacting with it – front and back touch screen, tilt controls and more. Comparisions are being made as to the best device between this and the 3DS:

Here we have two very different gaming portables. Nintendo’s 3DS will provide the usual lower end graphics of the generation but is likely to capture the imaginations of many with some neatly innovative support and software. Let’s not forget the all-important glasses-free 3D visuals as well.

Sony’s NGP, on the other hand, is a real powerhouse. With an incredible amount of tech crammed into its shell, it’s thought to challenge the PS3 and Xbox 360 in terms of relative output and overall experience. It’s also had a fair few big names attached to its potential game catalogue come release.

But no longer is the handheld hardware battle in gaming a 2-axis debate.  This is a post-iPad world where the rules of gaming hardware are being re-written by the mobile phone.  How will it fare?  Not everyone is convinced:

Sony’s upcoming PSP successor the Next Generation Portable will be unable to compete with Apple’s iPhone and its digital distribution portal the App Store, a leading casual games exec has warned. …

“I think they are hurt; I think they’re clearly hurt,” Ngmoco CEO Neil Young said of Sony in an interview with IndustryGamers. “I think PSP is done and the new NGP is dead on arrival.

“It’s really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality.

“I just don’t think Sony’s going to be able to compete with that.”

I’m not sure I agree with all the points above.  The aim of the NGP is to carve it’s own path and not just follow the iPad et al.  However the issue of the shop and how you get content onto it is key.  The PSPgo’s means of purchasing and transferring content next to the iPhone was not very good.  Ease of purchase and install is key here.  But also key to the NGP making it is content – if the games are great, people will buy.  Sony can and does both make and attract great content.  The types of games possible on the NGP will be much more powerful and in-depth than the iPhone.  However they will also cost more to make and thus to buy.

At the moment I still think the NGP can make it…

PS. The Metal Gear Solid video for the NGP does look impressive…


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