Sony Officially Announces the PSP2, A.K.A. NGP “Next Generation Portable”

To begin, Sony hasn’t officially named the portable just yet, instead calling it Next Generation Portable or NGP for short.  It sports a 5” OLED screen, has two analog sticks, two cameras, and two touch surfaces, the screen and a trackpad on the back of the system.  There’s so much to talk about so let’s start with the basics, the specs.

Specs

CPU: ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core)
GPU: SGX543MP4+
Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen: Touch screen 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED, Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras: Front camera, Rear camera
Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Location: Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi location service support
Keys/Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons
Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

UMD is gone, replaced by a new flash card medium.  DLC will be saved directly to the card and not the system, which is somewhat interesting.  No specifications were given on the actual size of the cards, but we expect that will change in the coming week.  Finally Sony revealed the target release date for Japan is this holiday season.  We’ll see if that sticks because it appears as though as lot of this information is still very early.

What I can confirm is that every system sold will be 3G-enabled, but no word yet on exactly how the 3G will work what carriers, etc.  More information will be disclosed at a later date including the portable’s final name and price.  Sony clearly did this to take a little steam out of the 3DS.

PlayStation Suite

PlayStation Suite will be heading to a variety of Android mobile device, and the NGP.  We don’t know exactly what will be featured on the suite just yet except for a collection of PS1 titles including Wild Arms, Cool Boarders 2, Rally cross, Medievil and Syphon Filter.  We expect to hear much more about the PlayStation Suite in the coming weeks leading up to the Mobile World Congress conference.

The NGP will also support the PlayStation Suite, and has full access to the PlayStation Store.  It’s also backwards compatible and will work with all your PSP downloads.  Obviously the lack of a UMD-drive makes playback impossible for all your old discs.

So How Does It Work?

Now that the hardware specs are out of the way, would you like to see the first official trailer for the device?  Sure you would.  Don’t get too excited, this is actually a somewhat useless trailer.

Exciting wasn’t it?  What the trailer shows is how the NGP works…sort of.  The home screen displays a bunch of circles which you touch to activate.  Think of it something like the iPhone interface.  I’ve included a picture to better demonstrate.

The other features shown include the SIXAXIS tilt controls and 3G communication.  The rest is just marketing mumbo jumbo.

Location-Based Entertainment

One application that seems kind of interesting tracks gamers’ movements and reveals what other gamers are playing around you.  It also has a bunch of other stats like what game is popular in your city, how many people are playing against each other and more.  If you happen to find a game you’re interested in, you can instantly purchase it through the PlayStation Store.  We’re still waiting for confirmation on exactly how integrated the PSN is with the NGP, but it sounds rather extensive.

Any Games Shown?

New games shown include Little Deviants, Reality Fighters and Gravity Daze, plus new games based on these PlayStation franchises: Uncharted, Killzone, WipEout, Resistance LittleBigPlanet, Hustle Kings, and Hot Shots Golf.  Kojima-san showed Metal Gear Solid 4 playing on the system, while SEGA showed Yakuza 4.  Activision also came out and said Call of Duty will be hitting the portable as well.  Outside of that, it’s clear this was an early look at the platform before the software blowout occurs, like at E3.  Check out Uncharted below.  Thanks to Kotaku for the screenshot.  We’ll have more official shots as soon as Sony sends them our way.

Official Support

Japan:
Acquire Corp.
Alvion Inc.
AQ Interactive Inc.
Arc System Works Co., Ltd.
Arika Co., Ltd.
ArtDunk Corportation
ASCII Media Works Inc.
Capcom Co., Ltd.
Chun Soft Co., Ltd.
Codemasters Software Company Limited
Crafts and & Meister Co., Ltd.
CyberConnect2 Co., Ltd.
D3 Publisher Inc.
Dimps Corporation
Edia Co., Ltd.
Enterbrain inc.
From Software, Inc.
Gameloft K.K.
Genki Co., Ltd.
Grasshopper Manufacture Inc.
GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc
Gust Co., Ltd.
Hamster Corporation
Hudson Soft Co., Ltd.
Idea Factory Co., Ltd.
Index Corporation (Atlus)
IREM Software Engineering Inc.
Kadokawa Games, Ltd.
Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.
Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Level-5 Inc.
Marvelous Entertainment Inc.
media5 Corporation
Namco Bandai Games Inc.
Nihon Falcom Corporation
Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
NowProduction, Co., Ltd.
Q Entertainment Inc.
Sega Corporation
SNK Playmore Corportation
Spike Co., Ltd.
Square Enix Co., Ltd.
SystemSoft Alpha Corp.
Tecmo Koei Games Co., Ltd.
Tomy Company, Ltd
Tose Co., Ltd.
Ubisoft K.K.
Yuke’s Co., Ltd.

North America:
Activision, Inc.
Capybara Games
Demiurge Studios
Epic Games Inc.
Far Sight Studios
Frima
High Voltage Software
King Fu Factory
Paramount Digital Entertainment
PopCap Games
Powerhead Gamse
Trendy Entertainment
Ubisoft
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
2K Games
2K Sports

Europe/PAL:
Avalanche Studios
Climax Studios Ltd
Codemasters Software Company
Eurocom Development Ltd
Eutechnyx Ltd
Exient Ltd
Firemint Pty Ltd
Gameloft SA
Gusto Games Ltd
Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd
Impromptu Software Ltd
Rebellion
Rockstar Games
Sidhe Interactive
Sumo Digital Ltd
Team 17 Software
Ubisoft Entertainment SA
Zen Studios

I plan to update with more stories as the day goes on.  I’m hoping we can get some official game screenshots and videos for your enjoyment.  For now, just enjoy what information you have available and be sure to chime in with your thoughts.  I’ll do the same at some point this afternoon.

24 thoughts on “Sony Officially Announces the PSP2, A.K.A. NGP “Next Generation Portable””

  1. Yeah man this got me going on :D

    My biggest surprises that we didn’t already know:
    -GPS
    -Touch screens (plural)
    -Near (network service to track all your friends)

    Biggest letdowns:
    -No Phone

  2. The track pad is possibly the biggest thing going for it in my opinion. It can really add another layer to portable gaming which we haven’t seen before with the iPhone and DS. Biggest disappointment is obviously lack of backward compatability. As an avid PSP user who prefers buying UMDs instead of downloads, the fact that I won’t be able to play my current library on the new system sucks. The very small audience who adapted to the PSP Go will obviously really benefit from the PSP2.

    So the format of the PSP2 games themselves are flash-based, Jarrod? Can’t really find any news on that from other sites so you’ve brought up an interesting point. Is it based on a current flash medium like SD, USB, SSD, etc? Or is Sony customizing their own flash cards ala Nintendo? Do we know the current size cap on the flash?

    1. Ahmed the information is extremely limited. What they’ve confirmed is they are using a flash-based medium, but won’t confirm on card sizes right now. We also know that a certain portion of said cards will store rewritable data. This is interesting because it begs the question, exactly where do saved games go? I’m not talking save files, I’m taking actual games downloaded off the PSN. Does the system have an internal storage solution that hasn’t been discussed yet? My guess would be yes, and that there will be different SKUs based on the size of said storage.

      I’ve put in a request for an interview with our official rep to ask these very questions. I’m hoping to get some clarification, but I doubt that will occur before tomorrow.

  3. Based on all the developers I’ve spoken to today the device has been set for some time, but it’s still very early as far as public announcements are made. The price point is still very much in the air. It could be as high as $600 and as low as $300. Based on the “rumors” everyone and their mother wants it to be priced at $299.99. The only problem with that is it puts it right in line with the PS3 and will people say “why pay $300 for a portable when I can pay $300 for a console and Blu-ray player.” E3 will reveal more info for sure, but I’m really hoping for a moderate price.

    What other news are you looking forward to with the device, and I’ll see what I can find out for you. I’m working with SCEC right now to try and secure some good quotes we can use in another article I’m writing.

    1. I did catch a few pics which displayed multiple ports for stuff like Sony’s own Memory Sticks and SD-based storage. Not sure if the gaming medium itself is part of those.

      It’s like you’re saying, Jarrod. There may very well be multiple SKUs of the device with different price ranging depending on the features, ala iPhone. Just recently sites have been confirming that one SKU will have 3G functionality while others won’t. So the system may be as expensive or affordable depending on your choice.

      What I’m curious about though are the providers of 3G for each region. I’m optimistic that the Middle East will be covered given the awesome local support of PlayStation and Sony products here. It’s just a matter of when. The official launch of the system may be delayed here based on determining 3G support. The iPhone was officially just released over a year ago here and signed an exclusive deal with one mobile company.

      Theoretically speaking though, let’s say the basic model without 3G costs 300$. Is it really worth spending another 300$ for 3G support? People may rather save up their money and buy a PlayStation Phone as it’s the more convenient system to benefit from 3G.

      BTW, as for the DLC being saved directly to the medium, nothing new. Nintendo has been doing it with the DS. :)

  4. Yeah it’s nothing new for saving content to the card, but it is for Sony. Typically this function has been reserved to the storage solution of the hardware itself.

    Where did you hear about multiple SKUs for the 3G, because I’ve heard the exact opposite. I was told that every model will come with a 3G antenna, you just have to activate the SIM card.

    There are still a ton of questions we need answered, but they will have to wait until tomorrow and later on as I’m fairly certain Sony won’t be revealing all their cards so early on.

    This was a good showing and at least tries to make the system unique enough compared to the 3DS and iPhone. Now everything will depend on the price and on what developers actually make for the system.

    One thing is certain, Nintendo and Sony are on much more equal footing this time around as I’ve heard the development costs for both system should be very close together. Sony will have the horsepower, but Nintendo has the 3D which isn’t cheap.

    I’ve also got another story coming up about another important issue…battery life.

    1. Destructoid has a news piece about the possibility of multiple SKUs and a supposed confirmation that not all PSP2s support 3G.

      Yeah looks like development costs aren’t cheap for these new batch of handhelds, but the support is great. Developers seem happy with both.

      As for battery life, if Sony does like the first PSP and makes detachable batteries then I’ll be happy. It’s obvious that the first version of both Nintendo and Sony’s handhelds are limited to 4 to 5 hours of game time, which sucks. What can you do though? In Sony’s case as long as the battery is detachable then all I have to do is look forward to the double battery storage pack. With the 3DS, however, I know that I’ll regret being an early adapter of the handheld when the 3DSi will hit next year. :P

      1. I take all news reports with a grain of salt, even those coming from reps. I can assure you there will be multiple SKUs and I too believe 3G will be on only a few SKUs, but that’s not what the reps have said. It’s possible the information is getting a little confused in the various countries, etc.

        As for battery life, I got bad news for you, the track pad on the back prevents a user swappable battery Ahmed, so you’re stuck in both cases unfortunately.

        1. You’re right, man. Maybe the whole 3G confusion is related to countries. Seems that all of Japan’s SKUs will have 3G while Europe will offer it in premium SKUs. Makes sense. After all, Japan is one of the most advanced countries out there and 3G can be used practically anywhere and is extremely fast. The rest of the world…not so much.

  5. @Ahmed
    At least you can have backwards compatibility with digital games. I know I have a few.

    As for storage for digital content. My guess is they’re gonna use their “Cloud” storage system we’ve been hearing about. Would make sense with the 3G and all.

    1. This is the reason why they’ve released the PSP Go…as a prediction that they’re going to completely ditch the UMD medium while offering digital backward compatability for the next handheld.

      It’s better than nothing obviously, but my only fear is the user-unfriendliness and restrictions that come with digital backward compatability. For someone like me who uses two PlayStation Stores (one US-based and one Middle Eastern), due to the PSP’s handheld restrictions I can only play games from one store at a time. If I want to switch PSP stores, I have to either change the sign in details from the PSP itself (which is extremely tedious as the PSP only holds one account), or attach it to the PS3 via USB and switch from there. It’s tedious and when it comes to PSP game-sharing it’s practically broken. Just ask Jarrod. I shared with him LocoRoco 2 for the PSP, but he barely played it because he had to be signed in to my account on the PSP instead of his.

      The question remains with the PSP2, can I hold more than one account ala PS3? I’m guessing Sony won’t allow that, which will make digital backward compatability complicated from my end. A lot of people happen to have two different accounts as well.

      I mainly use my US account for exclusives or faster releases to that store (demos, games), all PS1 Classics, and DLC content if the PS3 game in question is US-based. Most of my PS3 downloads are from my Saudi account, which is considered the main one I use for online gaming.

      1. These are the types of questions we’re only going to get answered at E3 Ahmed. I’m fairly certain Sony hasn’t even figured all of this out just yet. The question is, given the choice will you download or purchase a physical copy of your PSP2 games? It is my understanding that the PSP2 will include PlayStation Suite for all your PS1 Classics, and then the PS Store for all your current downloads and future downloads. We also don’t know if Sony plans to force developers to make PSP2 games download ready on the same ship date as the physical games. Again, lots of stuff to think about before E3.

  6. Yeah I’ve got the same feeling Pat. I think they’re purposely not answering questions about downloads for this very reason. I also think Ahmed is right in his thinking about different SKUs for different countries, which would explain why the news is getting all mixed up. Jack Tretton said multiple SKUs for North America and didn’t comment on 3G, while Japan says 3G for all SKUs. I think it’s pretty obvious we’ll get more info at E3.

    I’m especially interested in this cloud-based storage solution I keep hearing about. I think Sony wants to play their strategy as close to their chest as possible to prevent anyone else from taking their ideas. At least we can all rest easy in knowing this new portable will fully support the trophy system.

  7. Hehe, it’s all about the trophies!

    Although I’m still a little uneasy about the trophies… Unless I missed something, they never seem to mention that users will have the SAME account as their PS3 and the trophy ssytem will be linked.

    But then again, they didn’t talk about the features yet.

  8. Yeah that would be incredibly foolish if they separated accounts. I see no logical reason for that. Everything is tied to your unique ID right now with the current PSP, why change that? You download a game on the PSP, and you can clearly see that game in your “Downloads” panel of the PSN on the PS3. I can all but assure you the same will be true here, it sort of has to be.

    The number one hurdle for Sony now is the price. It was almost deafening how they didn’t mention it. Almost like how they didn’t just come out and call this the PSP2. Sony acknowledges they had problems with the PSP and may want to distance this portable with its older brother. Personally I think that’s a little foolish if only because they look so similar.

    What really scares me, especially after all the talking I’ve done tonight with people who have actually had some hands-on time with it, is with the price. People that have actually played Uncharted tell me this is an extremely powerful machine, as in more powerful than any phone or tablet currently in production for late 2011 or early 2012. Now some of these phones and tablets will cost $600-$1000. If Sony releases this device at a price point that high it will not succeed. They NEED to bring the price down to earth and challenge Nintendo head on. I think $249.99 is out of the question, but if they can hit the sweet spot of $299.99 they might just make a bigger impact than we realize. E3 will be where we either cheer, or as with the PS3’s unveiling, we gasp. I’m hoping for the cheer.

  9. I think that in the next few months before it actually gets released, they might have time to bring developement costs down and so they didn’t want to say the price now.

  10. The honest truth is, this will likely not even get released this year in North America. Sony has a ton of logistics to figure out first. Jack Tretton also said they’re committed to getting the portable out the door in at least one market before Jan 1st, 2012. Any bets on which market that would be ;). We all know it’s going to be Japan because the PSP is still doing so well over there. This way they’ll have something to compete against the 3DS in their hometown and then they can release it worldwide come March or April 2012.

    1. You’ll get them Pat, but I think you’re going to have to wait. I’ll be floored if you watch our footage and hear “Nov 2011 for North America.” You’ll hear my famous girly “woooooooh!!!” Something like that anyways ;) Remember that famous FFXIV video ;)

  11. You should check it out on YouTube it’s a classic.

    Anyways, let’s hope Sony gets everything in order and really blows the lids off the NGP at E3. That would make for one killer show.

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