Finally! Sony’s NGP (PSP2) Details

The NGP (PSP2) is finally here. Sony revealed its brand new PlayStation Portable at an event in Tokyo today, our first official look at the PlayStation maker’s next foray into handheld gaming, the NGP or “Next Generation Portable.” First details, just click for more.

The Hardware

Sony confirmed many of the features of the PSP2 that we’ve seen in the form of leaks, rumor and speculation. The PSP2 features a high-resolution, touch-sensitive OLED screen that’s larger than the original PSP screen, tilt-sensitive SIXAXIS controls, dual analog sticks, front and back-facing cameras, and a touch sensitive back panel.

Sony boasts that the new PlayStation Portable is as powerful as a PlayStation 3. The device features built-in WiFi and 3G wireless connectivity and uses an all-new form of media storage for games—no more UMD.

Here’s how Sony describes it: “NGP adopts a new game medium, a small flash memory based card, dedicated for NGP software titles. Taking advantage of the flash memory feature, this innovative card can store the full software titles plus add-on game content or the game save data directly on to the card. By adopting flash memory based card, SCE will be able to provide game cards with higher capacity in the future, allowing developers to store more game data to deliver rich and immersive games. “For now, Sony is officially calling the new PlayStation Portable by its codename, Next Generation Portable or NGP. It will be out this holiday in Japan.

The Full Specs

  • CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
  • GPU: SGX543MP4+
  • External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
  • Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
  • Cameras: Front camera, Rear camera
  • Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
  • Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
  • Location: Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi location service support
  • Keys / Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons
  • Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP) 

The Games

Sony showcased a handful of games alongside the reveal of the new PSP, including new titles Little Deviants, Reality Fighters and Gravity Daze, plus games based on the following PlayStation franchises.

  • Uncharted
  • Killzone
  • WipeOut
  • Resistance
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Hustle Kings
  • Hot Shots Golf

Sony says the new PlayStation Portable will also play PSone games supported via its PlayStation Suite platform and will be backwards compatible with downloadable PSP games. To demonstrate this, Capcom’s Jun Takeuchi demoed Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for the PSP on a NGP.

Third parties have shown demonstrations of Yakuza 4 and Metal Gear Solid 4 running on the system, with Activision announcing a Call of Duty for the new PSP.

During Sony’s event, the NGP’s beautiful OLED screen was stunning. It has been said to look even more stunning up close. The touch elements on the front screen were more than serviceable, offering a new experience for PlayStation Portable gamers. At first glace, the NGP seems large. It is, measuring out larger than the PSP-3000. But while it isn’t the smallest handheld on the block, it is surprisingly light.

“That’s because it doesn’t have a UMD drive,” Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida tells Kotaku. In the place of the Universal Media Disc, Sony is using flash memory-based cards and digital downloads. Unlike the smaller PSPgo, the NGP fits comfortably in the hands. On the back, there is a touch pad, which is glossy and slick to the touch. Initial worries are that it’ll get guncky with dirt and grime. Using it, however, is reported to  feel quite natural as finger movements respond directly to the onscreen action. There are Sony’s iconic button icons as a monogram. Next to them are grips for one’s hands.

The entire handheld is sealed like an iPhone, so players will not be able to change the battery. The reason for this, Yoshida says, is because of the rear touch pad. It’s apparently not possible to have a rear touch pad and changeable battery like on the current PSP-3000. On the top of the console, there is metallic trim on which there is a power button as well as volume controls. The rear and front cameras are unobtrusive. The buttons and the directional pad are akin to what players are familiar with on the current PSPs. Also, the handheld has a layer of gloss similar to the previous PSP models. Throughout my hands-on, two Sony staffers stood by with white gloves, ready to wipe down any fingerprints.

The dual thumbsticks are a revelation — most reports them as fast, responsive and easy to use. For those who always felt that the PSP’s thumb “nub” never got it right, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised. The NGP, for as large size is reported to be surprisingly light, and based on the pictures it’s beautiful.