Following the reveal of Sony’s Next Generation Portable (NGP), successor to the Playstation Portable (PSP), at the 2011 Playstation Meet in Tokyo, there has been a steady trickle of information regarding its specs, its launch titles and more. However, there are still quite a few key questions that need to be answered before we get down to evaluating the real prowess of the handheld console.
This is not a list that’s made up of questions that portray the NGP as a wholesome portable entertainment and productivity center (think smartphone), but one that we, as gamers, need answers for.
So without much further ado, let’s get a move on.
What about the price?
This is the most important question that each and every one of us has on our minds right now. The specs, the launch lineup et al sound very enticing, but Sony has never played it smart when it comes to pricing. The Playstation 3 was launched at a disastrous price of $599 and the original Playstation Portable followed a rather similar trend with a launch price of $249, which at the time was way too much for a handheld. Even the PSP Go was priced atrociously which, along with the reluctance of people to switch completely to digital, made it a device that was dead on arrival.
So Sony, what are you going to do this time? Its primary competition, the Nintendo 3DS has a US launch price of $249 and if Sony, even with its superior hardware, decides to price the NGP over $299, it’s safe to say not many are going to lap it up.
What about PS2 games?
The PlayStation 2 (PS2) was one of the most successful consoles ever made and was easily the king of its generation. One of the biggest reasons for that was the developer support and more importantly, its library of games.
This was why most people rejoiced when Backward Compatibility (BC) for PS2 games was announced as a feature of the original SKUs of the PlayStation 3. However, as we mentioned above, Sony had to cut costs in order to reduce the console’s price and one of the first things to go was PS2 emulation, first hardware and then software.
Shadow of the Colossus: Handheld would be epic
The NGP is in pole position to bring this much wanted feature back into the world of PlayStation, simply because of two reasons. One is the reduction in hardware costs from the time PS2 BC was removed from the PlayStation 3, therefore making it possible for the NGP to have hardware powerful enough to emulate PS2 games and also to price it at a reasonable level. The second, more importantly, is the screen size. The PS3 is a high-definition home console, which made PS2 games show their age in terms of graphics when played on HDTVs and the like. While there is no doubt the NGP is going to have some pretty good looking games, the 5-inch OLED screen at a resolution of 960×544 isn’t all that great a leap from a PAL standard definition resolution (576p). Of course, the textures and the assets for current gen games are a lot better looking than the ones in PS2 games, the good looking PS2 games will still look good on the NGP.
Look, it obviously can’t play PS2 discs because there’s no DVD drive or anything of the sort in the device, but what we want to know is whether Sony will release Remastered PS2 titles on the Playstation Store for use on the NGP. Heck, even the original versions will do.
What about MGS, Lost Planet and Yakuza 4?
After the Uncharted demo, we saw various third-party developers come up on stage and pledge their support for the NGP. We also saw presentations from publishers like Konami (Hideo Kojima himself), Capcom and Sega, which showcased current PS3 games running on the NGP – but with ported assets.
What we want to know is whether this was just a tech demo to show off the device’s processing power, or if there is an actual possibility of current-gen games being ported over to the device.
Could these men be headed to the NGP?
While we’re not saying we wouldn’t be happy with Uncharted: Portable, the possibility of something like Uncharted 2, or a system seller like Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of the Patriot, ported over to the NGP is something we find irresistible.