At a special event in Tokyo, SCE president Kaz Hirai unveiled that for the time being, the PSP2 is being known as the NGP – Next Generation Portable.
The device has a similar formfactor to the PSP ‘brick’, but has two thumbsticks, and has an emphasis on PS3-quality software. It also features both a front and rear touch-sensitive input, front and rear cameras, gyroscopic motion control (using the same technology as SixAxis and PlayStation Move), and GPS location sensors. The input devices allow for ‘touch, grab, trace, push or pull’ said Hirai. Augmented reality features using the cameras and player movement are built into some of the games, too.
NGP’s screen is a 5″ OLED five times the resolution of the PSP with a wide viewing angle. The rear touch panel is the same size as the front screen, allowing for one-to-one direct control where necessary. The device also features Bluetooth, 3G and WiFi connectivity. Its CPU is an ARM Cortex-A9, ad the devices dimensions are 18.2cm by 8.35cm and 1,86cm deep.
Third-parties are also supporting the device – Hirai specifically called out Capcom, Sega, Tecmo Koei, Activision, Epic and Konami. The demos from each showed off a range of functions, from the devices sheer brute-force power, to the unique interface.
The demos from each showed off a range of functions, from the devices sheer brute-force power, to the unique interface:
Capcom went on stage to show off Monster Hunter Portable 3.
Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi (Yakuza and Super Monkey Ball) showed a ported sequence from Yakuza.
Tecmo Koei’s demo was of a new Dynasty Warriors game adapted for NGP.
Hideo Kojima was on hand to represent Konami, showing an adapted version of MGS4 running on the device.
Epic Games’ CTO Tim Sweeny, had a high-end Unreal Engine tech demo to show off, plus some other UE3-based content easily readapted for NGP.
Activision’s Philip Earl, one of the key execs overseeing the Call of Duty franchise, announced a new NGP Call of Duty that will “set the bar” for next-gen portable gaming.
Kaz Hirai concluded the presentation with a burst of names of other developers working on the platform, including PopCap, Rockstar, Q Entertainment, Ubisoft and a host of others.
Sony will also offer two special features with the PSP2 that weren’t available before.
The first is called LiveArea. From the press release:
Every game title for NGP will be provided with a space called “LiveArea™” where users can share the fun and excitement with other players. Users will have access to the latest information of 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.
The second makes use of the GPS module in the PSP2 and is simply called “Near”. Near essentially adds a location-based element to the device (it’s pre-installed), meaning you’ll be able to see what your friends or strangers in the vicinity are currently playing (or which games they used to play).
With Near, it will be possible to contact other players around you to share game information.
Silionera has a list of 82 third-party game developers and publishers backing the new system:
Alvion (makers of Malicious)
Arc System Works
Ascii Media Works
Atlus / Index Holdings
Craft & Meister (they’re making Earth Seeker for Wii)
Edia (they make Maplus software for PSP)
GungHo Online Entertainment (remember Mimana?)
Nippon Ichi Software
Tecmo Koei Games
Far Sight Studios
High Voltage Software
Kung Fu Factory
Paramount Digital Entertainment
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Codemasters Software Company
Home Entertainment Suppliers
Team 17 Software