In what is absolutely cliche, I must pause and ask forgiveness from my loyal readers. It has been a solid ten days since I posted and this will be the longest spell without a blog post.
It's been all the rage since it was announced (or "announced") and completely dominated the video gaming news this week. I guess with any new device, even if we've heard about the damn thing for months, it is still wondrous. What Sony is calling the NGP, or Next Generation Portable, I am calling the PSP2. Sincerely, I am glad that Sony is trying to step away from what the PSP was, or had turned into being in competition with its competition; and trying to make it sound remotely noteworthy is redeemable as well. If the NGP is what Sony goes with, I'll be sad. But enough of me ranting, let's discuss stuff everyone has already read.
Sony has been received free advertising for this thing for months, casually "leaking" out photos and letting information "slip" in interviews. The constant stream of news reports, stacking up digitally to the size of mountains, through pure speculation, has kept the PSP2 (that's what I'll be calling it through this blog post) in the annoying limelight for what seems like years. I am glad it is finally out there in the realm of public knowledge because if I have to see one more alleged photo of the fucking system I'd blow my brains out. That's all figurative, of course, but every week there was at least four or five stories on possibilities for Sony's next handheld. It was corporate brilliance to let the reports stack up, but also a news-making nuisance in letting the reports stack up. Why did Sony wait so damn long? I understand it was to try and combat the hype the 3DS has generated; but to do it in similar fashion? Why not show it at E3, even if it was in the early stages, and let the speculation train start there. I was excited for this thing, I really was; the failure of the PSP meant Sony would learn from their mistakes and be careful about how to approach this. And it seems like they have. Now if they call it the PSP2, I may have some genuine feelings towards it, but for now I am standing last in line.
Breaking down the hardware, this thing is a technological marvel. Minus the fact that it looks exactly like its predecessor, the device will behave basically like a smartphone. I don't know why it necessarily needs two cameras, one on both sides, or even Bluetooth. People look like egotistical pricks and ultimately stupid with those puny headsets on. It will also include a touchscreen in the middle, stereo speakers, a built-in microphone, GPS, and both 3G and Wi-FI capabilities. I would also go into detail about the hardware internally but I know nothing about GPUS or core processors but at least it sounds fancy. And the biggest thing - a reward for those that stuck with Sony and kept playing five years after the original came out - working analog sticks! It will actually have functioning analog sticks and not those little fucking twigs that caught sometimes and were really hard to move! Thank you Sony! You have made some kids' end of January very good.
As impressive as the hardware is, it comes nowhere close to the software. As expected, the device will have interconnection with the Playstation Network, and a user interface called LiveArea (a shot at Microsoft perhaps?) that is focused solely around the touchscreen. When I watched a replay of the conference, the person speaking got a little too excited over this. Maybe that's just me. To help contribute to the software, gameplay from several games was shown and other franchises to have games on the device included Uncharted, Call of Duty, Killzone, Wipeout, Resistance and LittleBigPlanet - so most of Sony's best exclusives. Taking a lesson from Nintendo, the PSP2 will also allow the user to download and play games from the Playstation Network (with the awesome lineup it has) and have trophies (something Nintendo has yet to embrace)! Going through the long list of developers scheduled to make games for it, there was one notably absent name: Electronic Arts. It could be nothing, but I thought it was worth pointing out,
I do have my concerns though. For one, the name just sounds stupid. I understand NGP is only a codename and will unlikely be the actual name of the thing, but Sony's creative department (if the company has one) should be scolded. Secondly, according to a video game information firm, Sony told developers that the device is "almost as powerful as the PS3". For everyone that knows anything about anything, the PS3's graphics would be impossible to replicate on a handheld because that would kill the battery life. And a handheld is, expected I'd say, to be used on the go. Or somewhere not near a socket. Unless Sony has some way of extending the battery life, in practice that isn't even possible. Two hours of gaming only is not worth just shy of a grand (Thanks GameStop!) out of my wallet.
Will this do well? I hope so. Will it make up for the inescapable failure of the PSP? Probably. But what Sony should be most fearful of, especially if they expect this to exceed all expectations, and arguably what is leading the hype train right now, is the 3DS. Nintendo is the king of the handheld market, and if Sony can reasonably price it and still have 3D then I'm game.