Sony has finally lifted the curtain on the sequel to PSP, codenamed NGP for “Next Generation Portable.” Let me begin by saying that I own a DS and PSP, and that just because this is a Nintendo fansite doesn’t mean I will mindlessly hate on a competitor’s systems, like many other people out there. That’s not what I’m about, and that’s not what Nintendojo is about. That being said, it is my opinion that the DS is a superior handheld to the PSP, from a software standpoint. I have about 30 games for my DS, and there are still more that I want, while I only have a handful for my PSP.
Again, I don’t hate my PSP. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to play Valkyria Chronicles 2 or Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Back before the PSP launched, everyone believed that it would be Nintendo’s undoing. They believed that PSP would crush DS, and beat Nintendo at its own game. Maybe it would have, but Sony made some mistakes with the PSP launch and design. With the NGP, it looks as though Sony will be helping Nintendo out once again, making a whole bunch of mistakes once more.
Nintendo is a smart, practical company. Sony is an overconfident, egotistical one. When Sony launched the PS3, it thought everyone would buy the machine regardless of price, which was wrong, just like Sony was wrong with PSP. Both systems had large price tags and few games, and Sony has felt the pain since. While the PSP isn’t really a failure, it consistently gets outsold by DS in every region except Japan by a wide margin. All the while, PS3 slowly chugs behind Xbox 360 for third place on the home console front, despite having some amazing exclusives. After these mishaps, you think Sony would have learned, but it looks as though it hasn’t, and that’s good news for Nintendo.
Sony is probably the only company that has the ego to codename a portable “NGP”. With PSP, it tried to put Nintendo down, saying that it would “pull portable gaming out of the gutter,” and with NGP, it’s as if the company is saying that NGP is the only “true” next generation handheld in development. Once again, overconfidence is Sony’s weakness, just as it was the Emperor’s. From a technological standpoint, the NGP is absolutely mind-blowing. It has a quad core processor, two cameras, two analog sticks, 3G, a touch screen, sixaxis, a touch pad, four times the resolution of the PSP, and more. Sony is describing the graphical abilities of its new portable as close to, but not at, PS3-level. No price has been announced, but you can expect this machine to easily cost more than a 3DS. Sony has once again made a machine that is a technological powerhouse, and again, some think Nintendo is in trouble. It is a complete repeat of 2004 when the DS launched. But if I’m Nintendo right now, I’ve got to be happy.
The only way that the NGP could pose a serious threat to 3DS was if it were cheaper. However, with all of the features revealed, we know that this most certainly won’t be the case, and if this current portable gen is any indication, the NGP will go the way of PSP.
I’m not going to pretend that I like Sony as much as I like Nintendo. That would be a lie. As soon as the $249 price tag was revealed for 3DS, I was online preordering mine. I also was camped out in front of my local Best Buy when Wii came out, to make sure I’d have one on launch day. However, I didn’t get my PS3 until 2009 when the slim launched, and the price finally lowered to $299. I didn’t get a PSP until a few months ago, when I got the PSP holiday bundle for $129. Both of those tags, along with those of the Wii and 3DS, are reasonable to me. However, the NGP seems as though it could easily launch for upwards of $349, which would make me lose all interest in it. Not only that, but the lack of a UMD drive doesn’t make me too happy either. I know I’m not alone in this line of thought.
Sony seems to think that it is invincible, and that nothing can possibly go wrong, and in all actuality, it nearly is. As opposed to Nintendo, which only makes games, Sony can survive consoles that don’t live up to expectations, because it does more than make games. Nintendo, on the other hand, would be crippled if a console didn’t sell as much as it would have liked, and it nearly was. I think that Sony should have created a cheaper, more affordable portable, which would have made people think twice about buying a 3DS. It would have been the best situation for gamers, as we would have been able to get the best of both worlds. But as it stands right now, Sony once again won’t mind putting a huge price tag on NGP.
I could be wrong, like all those analysts were about the PSP, but after seeing what NGP has to offer, I am convinced that it doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance in the handheld market, precisely because of what it is. The NGP just seems like an advanced PSP. It doesn’t seem like it is really bringing anything new to the table besides great graphics, which are nothing game-changing. Sony has however, made the right decision to move to a flash-memory based cartridge system like Nintendo though, so that should help battery life a little. But with everything else going on with NGP, battery life is probably going to be a little shorthanded.
To close, I believe that this war has already been won by 3DS, even before either system is released. Had Sony created an affordable alternative to the 3DS, things really would have been interesting, but as of now it seems like Sony just gift wrapped the console battle to Nintendo. Will I be getting a NGP? You bet I will. How soon will that be? Ask me when the price is under $300. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my DS and PSP, and soon 3DS.