Given the deluge of information released on Sony's successor to the PSP, it can be easy to overlook significant pieces of information about the new handheld. We've sorted through the interviews and demos and will attempt to answer major questions about the Next Generation Portable.
What are the specs for Sony's Next Generation Portable?
You can find the full list of specs here, but the short version is that it has a 16:9 5-inch OLED touch screen, a multi-core ARM CPU, a PowerVR multi-core GPU, a touch pad, gyroscopic control, Wi-Fi, 3G, and more. Sony's head of worldwide development, Shuhei Yoshida, said in our interview, "It's closer to PS3 [than the PSP was to the PS2]," in terms of processing capabilities. Sony wanted to make it as easy as possible for developers to bring their assets and programming techniques from the PlayStation 3 over to the NGP.
That's the technology that powers the NGP's screen, and it stands for organic light-emitting diode. Because the technology doesn't use backlighting to light the entire screen (like in LCDs), it's able to produce more accurate colors and a higher contrast ratio. Additionally, the lack of backlighting makes it less power hungry, so the battery won't take a huge hit.
What kind of format will the games come in? Are they download-only games?
Yoshida explained that NGP games can come in two formats. One format is basically a proprietary card (or "game card," as Sony calls them) that you can purchase from a store as you would any other game. The other format is digital--you can download games from the PlayStation Network, including PSP games.
Will there be both physical and digital versions of all games?
It sounds like most, if not all, of Sony's first-party games will be available through game cards and through the PlayStation Network. However, there will be smaller PSN-exclusive games that won't be released on game cards. We're not sure if third-party publishers will follow suit with two versions of their games.
Will the NGP have built-in memory because it uses cartridges?
No. The NGP actually has two different slots--one is for the game cards and the other is for a memory card (Sony calls them "media cards") that Sony has yet to reveal. This means you can store all of your personal data (videos, photos, downloads) on the media card and then play games using the game card.
How much will game and media cards cost?
Sony has not officially announced the price point for NGP games or the media cards.
How will PSN work on the NGP?
Thankfully, you'll be able to use the same PSN ID across the PlayStation 3 and NGP. It will offer similar features found in the PSP and PS3 versions of PSN (including trophies, eventually), but Sony is working on some NGP-specific PSN features that it has yet to reveal.
Will NGP games have trophies?
Will NGP games have downloadable content?
Yes. Yoshida said that NGP games can have DLC, but what's interesting is that the DLC and game saves can be stored on the game card and not the media card, which would indicate that the game cards come with some extra space for such uses.
Can I play my PSP games on the NGP?
You can play the digital versions of PSP games (that are available on the PSN) on the NGP. The NGP does not have a UMD drive, however.
What kind of connectivity options does the NGP offer?
The NGP features both Wi-Fi and 3G connection options. At this time, both connection types will be available in Japan, North America, and Europe, but European consumers--according to an interview at Eurogamer--will also be able to buy a Wi-Fi-only version of the NGP. No word yet if that option will be available in other territories.
How long will the battery last?
Sony has yet to release any details on battery life, but a report on 1UP indicates battery life will be about the same as the PSP, which would be about three to six hours.
How much will the NGP cost?
No word yet, but analysts have pegged it from $300 to $350.
What games have been announced?
Some of Sony's major franchises will make an appearance on the NGP, including Killzone, Resistance, and Uncharted. Konami has revealed that it's working on something Metal Gear Solid related while Capcom will release an NGP version of its Monster Hunter game. You can find a complete list of currently confirmed, shown, or teased NGP games here.
When will the NGP be available in stores?