The big video game news last week was the unveiling of Sony's PSP2 system, now known as the Next Generation Portable. This system will break new ground and lead to the future of portable gaming. Here's why you should be excited about it.
#10 - The first new PlayStation system in 5 years
Gone are the days when a new video game system would be announced just a few years after its soon-to-be-predecessor was released. The PS3 came out in 2006, and this is the first time a new PlayStation system has been announced since then. The PS3 was first revealed in 2003, making it an eight-year wait since any brand new hardware was revealed from Sony. For that reason alone, there's a lot of excitement surrounding the NGP.
#9 - Multi-touch display
The NGP is taking a cue from the iPhone, which has proven itself to be quite a formidable gaming device. The Nintendo DS was the first to show that touch-screen gaming can work. Before that, everyone was skeptical about such an idea, but now it seems like a no-brainer. With multi-touch support on the NGP, there are sure to be a lot of sophisticated games that can take advantage of touch-screen controls beyond what the iPhone has been able to do with its casual gaming repertoire.
#8 - Trophy/PSN support
One of the disappointing things about the PSP is the lack of full connectivity with the PS3. While Sony has tried to make the two systems work together, it feels more like a fragmented experience. But the NGP will truly offer PS3 experiences on the go, allowing players to earn trophies for their PSN account, and also easily access the same downloadable content the PS3 offers.
#7 - Full PSP backward compatibility
Have a lot of PSP games you don't want to get rid of? The NGP promises to have backward compatibility with the entire library of PSP titles, and you'll also be able to transfer over any downloaded content you have. This will make the process of upgrading to the new device an easy, seamless process.
#6 - GPS
The NGP will have built-in GPS functionality, which opens up a whole can of worms for developers, in a good way. For a dedicated gaming device, this is a first, and I personally am curious to see what creative ideas all of the PlayStation-loyal developers are able to come up with when it comes to integrating the system's GPS feature into blockbuster video games.
#5 - Motion sensors
Mirroring the iPhone and Android platforms again, the NGP will have motion sensors, allowing players to control a game simply by tilting the system. This added level of gameplay control has worked on mobile phones, and now it's time to take it to the next level with the most sophisticated portable gaming device yet.
#4 - Dual analog sticks
One of the biggest complaints people had with the PSP was its lack of dual analog sticks. It's a mainstay with the PlayStation home consoles, so only putting one stick on the PSP was a big adjustment for the PlayStation faithful. Sony has come through, though, with the NGP, adding that all important second analog stick to make it feel like a familiar PlayStation controller.
#3 - Superior graphics
The NGP packs in a 4-core ARM processor, and an extremely sophisticated GPU. Sony has said it has the power to run games that look and feel like PS3 titles. If the hype is to be believed, that would make it blow the competition out of the water.
#2 - 3G connectivity
Playing multiplayer games from anywhere in the country, on the road or at an airport or train station, is just one of the benefits the NGP will have by incorporating wireless 3G connectivity. Users will also be able to download new games, purchase video content, and chat with their PS3 friends even when a Wi-Fi connection is not available. It seems almost like a prerequisite for mobile electronics today, but Nintendo's 3DS doesn't have it, giving the NGP a leg up when it comes to wireless connectivity.
#1 - Interoperability with smartphones
And perhaps the most intriguing part of the NGP comes from the fact that you don't even need to buy an NGP to experience the new portable PlayStation experience. Anyone with an Android phone running version 2.3 or later will be able to download the PlayStation Suite. This means Android users and NGP owners will both be able to download the same games and compete with one another, instantly expanding the number of connected users at any given time. Of course, the NGP itself will remain the best device on which to play these games, and it offers more content and connectivity features, but just by opening up that open-source connection, it's a win-win situation. [[PSP]]