Sony’s Next Generation Portable: Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

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So guess what? Sony announced its latest portable gaming device roughly two weeks ago. I was just as surprised as you were. [Or weren’t.] For what could easily be the entire history of its existence, the handheld market has been inescapably monopolized and or dominated by Nintendo. I would know. I’ve grown up with it. And with the 3DS quickly approaching its release in March (of which you can read all about in Chris’ latest preview), why would we suspect another contender to be announced so soon? Well, there has been ponders and rumors of all sorts to if and when Sony would ever announce a PSP2, and it seems that Sony could no longer keep the door barricaded on those ponders. With that, they present the Play Station Next Generation Portable, or NGP, and with it comes plenty more questions to take the rumors’ place.

Hmm… Looks like what I wish the PSP looked like in the first place.

So, according to its debut trailer, the NGP will allow gamers to open a GPS out of thin air that can find friends currently riding a bus. Said friend can then virtually pass a basketball to another friend who can then expand it in thin air so big it can blot out the sun. And then the basketball will… disintegrate into tons of rainbow colored plastic balls from those play pins at McDonalds. It also lets you text your friends and you can pick them up and teleport them to your location so you can… tilt around on a bus while another friend… virtually bounces you around to… collect points for… oh for the love of, WHAT IS THIS? This trailer doesn’t even show us the thing it’s advertising, let alone tell us that it is even a game device at all. Yeah, that’s right. It neither shows, nor tells.

Listen Sony, I get it. You want to make a portable devise that will have multiple uses. So it’s a GPS, a camera, an IM, and a bunch of other cool techie stuff. Great. More power to you. But don’t forget you are selling this first and foremost as a game device. If you fail to reach your audience on those grounds, than you’ll already be lost, and advertising all those other gadgets, in a very cryptic and overzealous manner no less, will be completely pointless.

That’s better.

Now when we take a look at their game line-up trailer, we see a 100% improvement. See Sony, that wasn’t too hard now was it? In less than two minutes, we were given a glimpse at a total of twelve titles in the works, and I can also see that there was legitimate effort put into appealing to a wide audience by including games in many genres. For the hardcores, there are many familiar franchises coming to the NGP, including Uncharted, Killzone, Resistance, and Little Big Planet, and new title called Gravity Daze, which just looks cool to an Antarctic degree. For casual players, there are sports games like Hot Shots Golf Next, Hustle Kings, and WipEout. Some of the puzzle games shown like Smart As and Little Deviants make me very interested to learn more. We also got to see how the system has a touch screen, is motion sensitive, and even has triggers and a sensor pad on the back of system. Plus, we see how the camera can be used to create a gamer’s own unique experience in games like Reality Fighters and Broken. And as an added bonus, several of these titles look to be boasting graphics as great as any current generation console game.

Gotta’ admit, the sensor pad looks snazzy.

Unfortunately, that is the only information I have at this moment. No confirmation has been given about the system’s price, release date, or if any of the working titles listed above will be ready by launch when said release date is announced. As of now, Sony estimates the release to be this holiday season, or at least in Japan.

I’ll say this: The NGP undoubtedly LOOKS like an impressive piece of technology. While many gamers have had their questions answered about whether or not this thing was coming or if it even existed, in the process, we now have oodles of more now that we’ve actually seen the thing. I for one want to know if they’re really going to stick with the NGP as its actual name, because to me, it sounds like a prototype title (like how Project Natal was to Kinect for a while.) There are still three quarters (at least) until the system reaches shelves, so I suspect, no… guarantee, more information to come our way in the coming months, specifically the E3 conference in June. Nintendo’s 3DS will be approximately a year into its cycle when this finally comes, so no matter how you look at it, Sony’s definitely has its work cut out for them.

Still… it’s the little things you appreciate. Like a second analog stick. Yay!

Want more game news? Have a look at these:

Little Changes, Big Smiles: A Review of Little Big Planet 2

Easy Come, Easy Go: A Year in Review of Sony 2010

No Freaking Way: A Duke Nukem Forever Preview

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