Is Sony's NGP too niche?

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Sony's NGP is definitely one sweet handheld console with plenty of raw horsepower for hardcore gamers. But one analyst firm is warning that the NGP may actually be too niche and will likely face "diminished prospects" because of casual smartphone gaming.

"[Yes], the NGP represents a significant upgrade in technology across graphics capability, connectivity and interface compared to the original PlayStation Portable (PSP)," an IHS spokesperson told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

"[Still], we believe that the market opportunity for a specialist device such as the NGP is shrinking rather than growing, and that short- and medium-term market conditions are less supportive of the release of a high-end handheld console."

According to the spokesperson, by the end of the fourth year after its release, the NGP will have only managed to accrue a total installed base of 22.8 million units.

In comparison, the PSP achieved an impressive base of 30.7 million, 34.8%, during the same length of time.
 
"On smartphones, not only is games content plentiful, it is cheap as well. This combination will deliver a hammer blow to specialist devices like the NGP. 



"The overlap between the average future NGP user - males aged 14 to 35 with high disposable income-as well as the high-end smart phone user is substantial. Because of this, [we] believe the opportunity for NGP is narrowing, especially in Western markets," added the spokesperson. 



However, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told TG Daily that the NGP wasn’t really focused on "competing directly" with smartphone gaming.

Rather, he explained, the higher fidelity of games and the overall experience targeted a different market that has previously only been addressed by the PSP. 



Divnich also noted that the availability of "differentiating features" for the NGP, such as the rear touch-pad, front touch-screen and SIXAXIS, will provide devs with additional incentive to code unique and original content - thereby solving a "crucial problem" plaguing the PSP.

"While EEDAR does not believe the touch-screen, rear touch-pad, or SIXAXIS will [truly] revolutionize our favorite genres such as Racing or Shooter, they will provide an allure of novelty, driving consumer interest and demand for the NGP."