NGP's success will hinge on its software

By Mike on 9:00 pm

Filed Under:

Sony dropped a bomb on the gaming world yesterday. After months of speculation, we finally have a true successor to the PSP. It's not a phone either. It's an NGP, or "Next Generation Portable." That's what Sony is calling it. The device is a beautiful meld of the PSP and iPod Touch, mixed in with some pretty impressive hardware. OLED screen, dual touch surfaces, and two mighty quad core chips powering it.

Sony has gambled on high tech over the last six years. The original PSP was impressive for its day, and the PS3 was essentially a mini super computer. Sony's hardware is outstanding on all fronts, but that's only half the equation.

The PSP sold poorly in North America, relatively speaking. The Nintendo DS has outsold the PSP two to one since both launched in 2004. Sony has revised the hardware three times since then. Then again, so has Nintendo.

Sony's real problem with the PSP was lack of proper software support. Developers and publishers both bailed on the device. Although piracy was blamed, it's only a small part of the story.

The NGP is a powerhouse but it
will need original, innovative game to keep up

The PSP never really had any standout titles beyond God of War and Monster Hunter. Most of the games were pretty humdrum. Sony wanted to bring the console experience to mobile. That's commendable, but they did a lackluster job. Many of the games were ports of older PS2 titles, featuring watered down graphics. Few original franchises made their way on the system. Games were also consistently low rated. Not bad, but not good either.

So far the NGP seems to be going down the same road. They've already showed off an Uncharted: Drake's Fortune port for it. Rumour has it there might be Metal Gear Solid ports as well.

If Sony wants the NGP to be a hit, they're going to have to take a page from their competitors. The system needs its own Pokemon and its own Angry Birds. Original, innovative titles that allow games to be played in bite sized portions. That's what portable gaming is all about. Nobody wants to sit through a twenty minute cutscene while riding the bus.

Image courtesy of HyperBeast

0 comments for this post