Gut Reactions: Sony's Next Generation Portable

Find out what the GameSpot editors think of Sony's new handheld gaming device.

Sony has finally announced the successor to the PSP code-named the Next Generation Portable. While the device doesn't have an official name quite yet, we already have plenty of information about the NGP, which can you read about in our wrap-up story. Some of the GameSpot editors have chimed in with their thoughts on the NGP and what its capabilities mean for handheld gaming.

Ricardo Torres, Editor-in-Chief

Seeing the NGP (and, man, do I hope they sort out a sexy new name soon because that is not doing it for me) for the first time took me back to the first time I saw the original PSP and how blown away we all were by its screen. Fast-forward to 2011 and the unveiling of the NGP, and as sexy as all the other features that are being touted are, I'm dwelling on the screen, which is just stunning. A 5-inch OLED screen really does rock the house. The color on that thing was impressive, and the viewing angles let it pop however you looked at it. As for the rest, there's a lot of interesting tech and software being crammed into the NGP--most good, some a little creepy.

I'm not so sold on the "near" functionality since I'm just never a fan of products or apps that track my movement (I really don't need to make it any easier for Skynet to find me when the robot revolution starts), but I do appreciate the social features. The PSN ID support and inclusion of trophies is something I'm sure many PlayStation 3 owners will be happy to see. Personally, I'm pretty intrigued by this "live space" business since it seems to be taking a regimented approach a la Xbox Live to ensure that there's a common online experience for consumers, which has been a weakness on Sony's part. The backward compatibility with PSP games is nice, and the graphical face-lift they get is nicer. It's very cool to see that, and with your PSN ID carrying over, your digital purchases should be all good.

Speaking of media formats, I have to be honest and say I'm bummed about the switch to cartridges. Thinking solely of myself, I'm cringing at how I'm going to travel with an NGP. One of the things I love about my PSPGo is that I can bring a ton of games and video with me when I'm on the road, and I don't need a special bag to hold everything since everything is on the Go's internal memory or the memory stick. No clutter, no big foot print--just a ton of games. With the NGP, I'm worried I could wind up looking like Chewbacca rolling with my bandolier of peripherals and my NGP--not a good look when you're trying to blend in with the populace.

While I'm very excited for the NGP, I'm left with a ton of questions, which I'm sure will likely be answered at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Is there video out on the thing? Does it still have the crazy multimedia options of the original PSP? Will it be less painful to put your videos on the thing? Would be great to see this thing offer video support similar to the PS3 where it's possible to just drop certain formats in without encoding and they just work as opposed to the song and dance you have to do now to get your own video on the current-generation PSP. Is there internal memory for games a la the PSPGo? How much are games going to cost? Skype? How much is it and how much of a price bump is going to happen if you opt for a data plan on this thing? How much is the hardware going to cost? (It sure doesn't look cheap…) In the end, I hope the price is in the $250 to $300 range, though data plans will bump it up some. At any rate, the NGP is a sexy piece of hardware that I'm hoping succeeds where its predecessor stumbled.

Carolyn Petit, Associate Editor

I was extremely excited about the launch of the PSP back in March of 2005. The first time I held one and immersed myself in the throbbing beats and sleek visuals of Lumines, I was sold on the device and envisioned a glorious future in which the PSP would usher in a new era of world peace, uniting all humankind in a love of the universal joys of gaming. But alas, while the PSP has certainly been home to a number of excellent games over the years, overall, I'm pretty disappointed in the PSP and feel that the games just weren't there to enable the device to live up to its full potential.

So I'm coming to Sony's next journey into the very competitive arena of handheld gaming with a bit more wariness and skepticism. But I have to say that the information coming out of Japan about the NGP is making me intrigued. I'm always glad when a device enables developers to give players new ways of interacting with games. And although only time will tell if features like the rear touch screen turn out to be a gateway to cool new experiences or just a gimmick that gets awkwardly shoehorned into games, I enjoyed watching the demo of Little Deviants. The idea of pushing on the game screen from behind to interact with the environment is also one that I think has potential and demonstrates that Sony isn't just trying to deliver a more powerful PSP with this device. But Sony isn't wading too far out to sea, either--the much-needed dual thumbsticks suggest that the NGP could make a better home than the PSP for the kinds of traditional games that may make a handheld like this thrive.

As with the PSP, the ultimate test of the NGP will be in the games that come out for it, month after month, year after year. The mention of an Uncharted game for the NGP is enough to get me immediately excited, but then again, so was Lumines, and I'm not yet forgetting the general sense of disappointment with which the PSP left me. But if the NGP can actually make good on its obvious potential, I'll be more than willing to forgive Sony for letting me down before.

Tom Mc Shea, Associate Editor

I'm going to assume the role of Mr. Grumpy Face since that seems to be what I do in these gut reactions features. I'm not sold on Sony's latest portable system one bit. In my eyes, portable and console games are completely different experiences. Portables thrive with relatively simple, pick-and-up-play games that provide a unique counterbalance to what I would play on an HDTV. Part of the appeal of Uncharted 2 is seeing this beautiful world take life on a gigantic HDTV, and that feeling of immersion is lost when trying to cram that basic concept onto a 5-inch screen. I understand there will be games other than Killzone, Lost Planet, and the like on the NGP, but that doesn't hide the fact that this system is designed with those larger-than-life games in mind.

The NGP is as powerful as a PlayStation 3 (or so Sony claims) and comes packed with so many bells and whistles that the price could skyrocket into dangerous waters. But all of that technical wizardry is going to be lost on me since I prefer to play something like Ghost Trick or Z.H.P. on a handheld. Sony is going down the same path it started with the PSP, and I feel it will once again lead to an overly expensive system that tries so hard to replicate a home console that it struggles to forge its own identity.

Sophia Tong, Editor

I know a lot of people are excited to have dual analog sticks (finally!), but what I'm looking forward to is the possibility of playing my PlayStation 3 games on the go! According to Toshihiro Nagoshi from Sega, there's the ability to port over PS3 games, which would make me a very happy person. I'm also excited to see the lovely OLED screen in person and check out the PlayStation Suite service since I have an Android phone. I've always liked the PSP for its screen, but the NGP's screen has me drooling. The built-in GPS and 3G are excellent additions, which then makes me wish that Sony just made this a phone so that I could keep it on me forever (unless Skype is possible).

The tech demos that were shown (Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted) were enough to get me excited. I can't wait to actually feel how light it is and how it fits into my hands. The touch pad on the back seems a bit awkward, but we all knew touch controls were bound to happen. I'm not entirely sold on the new design and look of the NGP, though. Maybe it'll grow on me, but then again, I'm not sure I really care. Did you see that sexy screen?

Knowing how powerful this piece of technology is, I'm pretty sure it's going to be pricey. However, if it lets me consolidate all the gadgets I already carry on me, it would be worth it.

Kevin VanOrd, Editor

The NGP is something I want--badly. It's made for people like me, and chances are, for people like you as well. We're gamers, and this is a system designed squarely for us. It plays games, and the ones we've seen are beautiful: that gorgeous screen looks like it will make the action pop right off the screen. It's got a gyroscope and an accelerometer for tilt control; a touch-sensitive screen; and (thank God) dual analog sticks, along with that big touch pad in the rear, which could be a legitimately interesting addition should developers take advantage of it.

The feature list continues, of course: dual cameras. 3G connectivity (pricing to be announced), built-in compass, and GPS. These are great things for gadget enthusiasts like me, but even then, how much will I actually get out of these features--and in turn, how much will a device touting all these features cost me? I already have an iPad, an HTC EVO, and I use my old iPhone as an iPod touch. I already have GPS, Android, and dual cameras on a device that, by nature goes, with me everywhere I do. Obviously, a game-centric device like the PSP might use these features in ways my current devices don't. But that's the rub, is it not? The audience that craves these features already has devices that do similar things. The casual audience that embraced the DS and Wii won't find these selling points particularly compelling--particularly if, as I suspect it will, the NGP sells for a penny more than the 3DS.

But hey, knowing me, this is a day-one purchase. The system is powerful, the screen looks stunning, and there is potential for amazing things should developers use that rear touch pad and the GPS in interesting ways. But I will be curious to see if Sony alienates mainstream consumers with the "this gadget does everything!" philosophy. I expect that a lot of people simply want a portable gaming device that does a few things, and does them extraordinarily well at a good price. But I'm not a mainstream consumer; I buy expensive feature-rich devices all the time, and I'm all over this thing.

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Discussion

308 comments
Reltec
Reltec

I pre-ordered mine on Sunday.

greyghost33
greyghost33

It would be nice if more people played this online espically golf and hockey. WHen is it actually coming out? SOunds like Christmas which will make it impossible to get prolly.

master_49
master_49

I would like to see some big box retailers offer download 'kiosks' where the hottest new demos and games could be downloaded/purchased then downloaded. This would very much help people with slow broadband, satellite, mobile internet, or (shudder) dial-up.

greyghost33
greyghost33

well they did kinda label this as a sports system or somewhere along the lines of that. The Ea Nhl series has received muliple awards and is by far one of the best sports games there is.

xixihaha
xixihaha

Beside all thiose awesome features revealed so far, one of the most important components is missing or will even not be in the next generation psp which is the optical driver! Why is there no optical driver? Let me download a game with more than 1.5 GB from the official website which takes xx hours if I don't have FIO? Let me spend nearly double of downloading time to get an imported game from Japanese website? (or might even impossible due to region lock) Give me a break, I don't want another PSPgooooooooooooo(ber)!

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

@greyghost33 Enough with the hockey comments, man!

greyghost33
greyghost33

I just hope they come out with a sick hockey game that runs smooth online. Then i will buy this.

supernaught360
supernaught360

This portable looks sick. Absolutely awesome. But I have to say this: it is L-O-N-G past time for me to be able to play portable PS2 games. Taking Kratos, Leon Kennedy, Snake and a myriad of other great PS2 series on the go is a dream of mine since the original PSP came out. I will be H-O-R-R-I-F-I-E-D, hurt, and confused if I can't dpwnload from the massive PS2 library onto this system. There are no more excuses, Sony. There's serious money to be made here, and with HDMI support, we can even retire our PS2 Slim's to the closet and jack in our NGP's.

Play2_Borre
Play2_Borre

-toabob- maybe gamespot is a sony fanboy but its more than obvious that u are a nintendo fanboy ^^

toabob
toabob

its funny how positive gamespot seems about it one guy said it blows nintendo out of water?? and they havent even touched one yet.they strangely one sided with sony. but when they do stuff with the 3ds they dont seem happy at all is gamespot a gaint sony fanboy or what?? lol. it doesnt make any scence

Sly_Boogy07
Sly_Boogy07

Dmsn there are just no sources saying those analog sticks click. seriously thats a really big deal. we cant assume they do cause the nub didnt click and wasnt even a analog, whos to say their first run at portable analogs will click? idk either way im gonna wait and see on both 3ds and ngp, leaning towards 3ds right now, but i wanna green one :P, i dont really care about virtual console, my droid already does that :P up to n64

greyghost33
greyghost33

Yeah the price of this thing needs to be within 50 bucks of the 3D DS. That is Sony plans on competing with Nintendo in the hanheld market. Asking $300 for a sequel to the PSP doesnt seem pratical. Most likely i will not be buying this right away.The only games i would play on this is Hot Shots Golf and a hockey game that plays well online. Hot Shots already has a game due to come out for it. If a hockey game comes out as well u can believe ill be purchasing it come winter time.

keeperoffate
keeperoffate

No UMD compatibility. Unfortunate, but if you want to play your PSP games, just don't throw out your PSP. I'm not sold on the switch to cartridges, but honestly everything else about this system is looking like a record breaking handheld gaming console. Tom Mcshea makes some good points, but mostly not ones I think are very pertinent. Requiring a set identity for each system is really just a marketing strategy for IF you can't appeal to all gamers - something I think sony does well (save for the following point). The key element is the price. If it can be produced cheaply enough, this could steal the spotlight of the entire gaming market. But that's a big if...

kpuff
kpuff

Whoa, wait! There may be PS3 ports to it? If so, I'm a bit more interested now! The only thing is, would you be able to play old UMD games on it? Would they fit in, or would there be a way to transfer the game from the disc to a file in the NGP? But it still sounds like it's going to be pretty cool. (:

greyghost33
greyghost33

If this system gets on of the hockey titles and its good to play online i will definitely be getting this! anyone heard of hockey coming to this system? arent they calling this a sports system or something like that?

IMDLEGEND
IMDLEGEND

I first must mention that the PSP was a great system that provided experiences that Nintendo DS simply could not. the GOW games, the MSG games, the Wipeout games, and true GTA games (not including China Wars), just to name a few. My main concern is price. It sounds like they may have overloaded it a bit with features (do we really need GPS?), I can only see the hardcore, and the financially well to do getting a portable for $300 +

GamerNes9
GamerNes9

I don't agree with Tom Mcshea- The device is AMAZING

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

@Marky360 Really? I've done that so many times without success. What are your video files saved as, or does it matter? I know it won't accept windows movie maker files...

Marky360
Marky360

you just take the video from where ever it is on your computer weather it be the desktop or video folder and click the vid hold down the left mouse button then drag the vid to the psp folder labeled video then let go of the left mouse button and your done it's simple don't see why every one says it's so complicated.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

@Marky360 So how do you put videos onto a PSP exactly?

Marky360
Marky360

@dawnofhero I just don't get it I never have any problem putting videos on my psp and thats one of the reasons I prefer the psp over an Ipod to watch movies on.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

@Marky360 Actually, from what I've seen and heard, the majority of PSP owners will say that putting videos on the system is a pain. Sure, it's easy when renting a movie on the PSN, but to actually put YouTube videos or home videos on it is not as easy as it should be. The click and drag thing never did it for me. Not sure why.

BHudson2070
BHudson2070

I sure hope those analogs are removable or that would never fit in your pocket/case normally. Other than that nice looking system.

beileveit
beileveit

the NGP WOULD BE the greatset if you can play ps2 games

Marky360
Marky360

What is Ricardo Torres talking about I don't have any problems putting vids on my PSP you just plug it up and then drag and drop the file right in your video folder. He makes it sound as if there are a whole bunch of unnecessary steps or something. The PSP is easier then the Ipod touch with that you gotta download Itunes and then sync Ipod with Itunes before you can put vids on it it's very annoying and painfully slow.

MrCoolGuy420
MrCoolGuy420

if you could plug it to a HDTV that would be sick

ripse3
ripse3

I just can say 1 word is Brilliant, i can't wait this come out I hope title games NGP can be much like PS1 or NDS with Great Quality

JGram33
JGram33

i am still skeptical about it. i remember when the psp came out and my friend got it how nice it looked, but besides that there was little left for me. sure the graphics were "good", not ps2 but better than ps1, but the loading killed it, and sure the ports were good, but why would i want to buy the same game i beat on a ps2 on a psp. i eventually bought a ds, and was surprised how much i liked the games, which continue to come out even today. i already think $250 is a lot for a 3ds, and anything more than that for a psp2 will be too much for a portable, and i have to agree with a previous post, games for ps3 and 360 cost a lot to make, how many dev are going to invest that much in a portable game? looks can only do so much, the games are what make a system great; ie ps2.

mumui10
mumui10

sony is too high in price and its not right if its only 300 USD i will go for it but if it go up from that now way i go to 3ds with good games also.

Franzkill
Franzkill

Things that would make the NGP SHINE!: * A PS2 Emulator/Decently priced PS2 game service * Deal with Sega to make some sort of Dreamcast emulator :) * Possible trophy patches for recent PSP games along with 'dual analog' patches * UMD to digital PSP game converter * PSOne/PS2 disc to digital converter * Free 3G service akin to Amazon Kindle's service with fairly good speeds * Support for latest Wi-Fi standard * Support for Bluetooth/USB 3.0 I will be a very happy man if Sony manage to pull this off! :)

edmaccan
edmaccan

Everything I wanted in a handheld gadget.

supernaught360
supernaught360

They need to get rid of the gimmicky, stupid rear touch panel and knock $100 off from it. No one ordered a rear touch pad. No one was spamming the forums with "Oooohh... is it gonna have a rear touch pad???" or "ZOMG - Is it going to have gyroscopic controls???" In fact, is this thing gonna finally have PS2 support?? I DO seem to see some gamers concerned about THAT.

SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

@Sly_Boogy07 I hope they do click because I was thinking the same thing as you earlier.

SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

I agree with Ricardo when he says the name "NGP" doesn't sound right.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Geez, Ricardo, why are you so obsessed with how 'sexy' the NGP is? That just sounds wrong.

gho5ty
gho5ty

LOOKS like a god damn Fin joke if u ask me WTF is sony thinking i dont mind the duals because thats what we all wanted from the start the touch screen dont care for but BUT when i saw a video of it in action with Uncharted and the dude was touching the back of it i was your craping me right thats a waste of space i dont want too touch a god damn back with my fingers sure maybe they will have option in it where u can turn it off.For sum god damn reason sony likes too piss on there people thus makeing me think twice about this and a price tag of 350-400 if not 450 .....

Sly_Boogy07
Sly_Boogy07

after all that is said i still dont know. DOES IT HAVE CLICKABLE STICKS?!?!?!?!?! seriously analogs are cool but dude if they dont click then COD and other shooters will suck. i mean i cant find a good substitute for running and either crouching, or slashing. square, nope thats reload, triangle thats switch guns, x is jump, and circle is opposite of right stick. and the cross d-pad buttons are kill streaks, equipment, and claymores etc. why has no one said if they click?

ositoPERU
ositoPERU

looks amazing, really looking forward to it!

toasty1979
toasty1979

It looks beautiful, I have a 3DS on pre order, might have to get this too. Ah well! Most interested in the two analogues than anything else, we're going to be getting proper hand held FPS's! hooray!

Snakehead11
Snakehead11

I thought it was going to be another PSP Go type console but this seems much better and really promising. But the price i'm not going to be too fond about..

packtop
packtop

Everyone seem so happy because the psp will be able to play graphic close to the ps3 but i think that's more of a bad thing then a good thing. Because it cost a lot nowaday to develop game average 20-30m each game on the 360/PS3. No many developer will be willing to spend that much on a game for the NGP. So in the end it's most likely it will go the same way as the psp have gone until now lot of remake and port from the ps2 well ps3 in NGP case.

Mokintash
Mokintash

Hope I don't rub my fingers raw with this new touch pad!! xD

Sammy296
Sammy296

@toabob actually the difference between a quad core (multi-threading enabled) GPU and a single core GPU is like chalk and cheese, the fact that the NGP can run multiple threads of a given application is a huge advantage, it can pump polygons on 1 core and handle physics on another!! also its very very possible that an NGP can produce graphics on par with a ps3 because of the screen size! a ps3 has to run a screen typically at 720 or 1080p an NGP runs a screen at 960

BK0omega
BK0omega

when is the psp2 coming out

toabob
toabob

@turker03 ya two. one in front and in the back like dsi/iphone

turker03
turker03

is there any camera or psp2 ?

toabob
toabob

You can only see one clear image of the NGP playing a game which you can see at amazon.com. if you compare that an image of resident evil on the 3ds you will see that they both have very similar graphics.

toabob
toabob

People need look up info before they comment. Some are saying NGPs graphics are like ps3s Which is not the case here .NGPs GPU the Quad-core Power SGX543MP4 is in the 233MHz range. The 3ds GPU the DMP PICA 200 is 200MHZ PS3 has about 500 MHz that very is different processing power therefore 3DS actually has almost the same capabilities as the NGP the difference is only the quad core which the 3ds does not have