The Sony NGP (PSP 2) was unveiled

Late last night for us North Americans Sony unveiled the successor to the PlayStation Portable. As of right now, it’s being called the Sony NGP, rather than PSP 2. NGP stands for Next Generation Portable. While it’s odd that they’re dropping the PSP brand name, maybe it’s a good idea to start a new legacy as the PSP has had some issues in recent years. Below are some photos of the device. It certainly looks like a powerhouse with its 5″ OLED touchscreen, rear touch pads, dual analog sticks, and raw processing power. With the official product shots, I’ve included a size comparison image, courtesty of Gawker Media. It sure looks nice. Click on image thumbnails to enlarge.

I’ll have more detailed reaction on the podcast tonight, but here’s my first reaction after the unveiling. I think the handheld looks great, but I do have a few worries. Let’s start with the worries so we can end on a high note. First of all, it’s a bit big. I know it has to be big given the 5″ screen, but that’s pushing it for a handheld. I like the move to cartridges, but that kills the UMD format completely. No going forward with your library, whereas the 3DS can play all DS games. The d-pad looks really close to the edge of the handheld, and I wonder if it’s going to be like the current PSP and cause hand cramps. It just doesn’t seem like they addressed the form factor issues at all. Lastly, and most importantly, almost everything shown was a mere tech demo. At this point Sony needs to be showing actual and announced games for this thing. Just about all that was shown was ported PSP or PS3 games as a tech demo. That’s a troubling sign. Also, the GUI on that thing is horrible, hopefully lots of tweaking is left to be done there.

Now, for what I did like about the Sony NGP. The screen is gorgeous! OLED technology is amazing and anybody who has seen a cell phone using an OLED screen will agree. I also like how thin the device is and how cool the idea of the touch pads on the back are. There has to be tons of great ways to use the three touch inputs on this. The dual analogs are nice, and some have said that they feel more like true sticks than a slider nub. I think everybody can be happy about that.

Nothing has been said of price, but this thing is probably not going to be cheap. For Sony’s sake, this thing better not go over $300 or we’re probably going to see a repeat of the PSP/DS war. Handhelds need to be priced noticeably lower than consoles.

We’ll have more details and reactions on the upcoming podcast, so check that out.