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‘PSP 2′ unveiled – a godsend for FPS fans?

15:4027/01/2011Posted by Simeon PaskellNo Comments

After months of rumour, speculation, covert-photography (and, for good measure, a little more rumour and speculation), Sony have finally unveiled the successor to the PlayStation Portable. During a press conference held today in Tokyo, the curtain of secrecy was pulled away to reveal the ‘NGP’ (or ‘Next Generation Portable Entertainment System). Though the final name of handheld has yet to be announced (‘NGP’ is a codename), the company had plenty of details to share.

Stylistically the device shares a lot in common with the PlayStation Portable (no PSP Go-style sliding back-plate here), but there are plenty of new features housed inside the slickly rounded exterior. Most prominently, the NGP features dual-analogue stick (FPSs fans of the world rejoice!). Not so easily apparent from photographs is the fact the screen (a 5 inch 5-inch organic light emitting display) has multi-touch capabilities. Additionally, (as rumoured) a multi-touch pad can also be found on the rear of the device, something that offers some intriguing possibilities for more tactile gaming experiences. It also houses 3G mobile support, built in Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass and two cameras (one front, one back).

The NGP offers a substantial step up from the now aging PSP in terms of graphical grunt of the PSP, with four core ARM® CortexTM-A9 CPU and SGX543MP4+ GPU providing huge potential for PS3 quality experiences.

Along with the new hardware, Sony was keen to pimp the systems built in software. ‘LiveArea’ will enable users to access to the latest information on games provided from SCE and 3rd party developers and publishers through PlayStation®Network. Additionally, NGP users will be able to view an “Activity” log that is constantly updated with accomplishments from users who are playing the same game, which in turn can trigger active real-time communication among users.

On top of this, ‘Near’ will enable users to identify find out what their friends in the vicinity are playing now or what they were playing recently as well as aiding users to meet friends and new players virtually, regardless of what games they are playing, by sharing their game information across different dimensions of time and distance.

The final piece of news was that the launch of the NGP will be coordinated with the ‘PlayStation Suite’ (or PS Suite) enabled, Android based portable devices (also unveiled at the even). All the games that are available for the latter will also work with the NGP, broadening its library of titles.

We say:

It’s intriguing to see Sony finally stake-out its vision for the future of portable gaming; with the Apple’s iPod and iPhone making huge in-roads in gaming and the leviathan that is Nintendo prepped to take the market by storm with it’s 3DS, the task that wasfacing Sony was undoubtedly a daunting one. From what we know of the device, Sony look to have responding with an interesting balance of the innovation and good, old fashioned grunt. To see a portable finally include a second analogue stick is a significant (and long overdue) step, and should do much to ease the transition of games from home console to handheld, as well as being a god-send for FPS fans. The 5 inch touch screen is also welcome, but it is the rear-touch pad that intrigues us the most, with plenty of scope for developers to explore new control methods and game mechanics.

The NGP looks to further cement Sony’s commitment to console-quality gaming on the go, and once again sees technical grunt going toe to toe with the novelty factor (in this case, the 3D screen of the 3DS) – we’ve not seen a portable face of this kind since the Nintendo DS and the PSP went toe to toe – and we can’t wait to see how it pans out. More importantly, however, we can’t wait to see more of the games…

While we wait for that, check out our gallery below for more pics!

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