Sony have implemented a few changes for the PlayStation Gaming Platform which will be affecting this platform as a handheld-gaming platform. What they have realised is that the PlayStation Portable or PSP has reached its peak and is facing competition from the iOS and Android mobile devices when it comes to handheld gaming.
NGP – Next-Generation Portable
This console, which is intended to be the successor to the PSP has also been rated as a a “Nintendo 3DS-killer” according to TF1 in France.
It has a 5” AMOLED touchscreen but there are still the control buttons that eager gameplayers can keep “mashing”; as well as two analogue joysticks for its control options. Like the iOS and Android devices, there will be support for sensors. These will be in the form of a GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer as well as a front camera and a back camera as well as rear touchpads.
All these sensors are there to permit “augmented reality” and other enhanced gaming experiences. Examples of this included looking around sports-type games in a first-person form such as looking around a pool table or golf tee before hitting off that shot.
The gaming performance has been improved over the PSP with use of a quad-core Cortex A9 processor, 512Mb RAM and PowerVR SGC 543 MP4+ graphics subsystem. This then can allow for some of the more heavier titles that will appeal to a lot of the players.
This console will have network connectivity in the form of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. But there will be versions that will come with 3G wireless-broadband technology, in a similar vein to the smartphones and tablet computers.
I often wonder whether this connectivity will allow for more than downloading of games and extras from the PlayStation Store or playing games via the the PlayStation Network. The applications that I am thinking of include peer-to-peer gaming; interaction with the DLNA Home Media Network or interoperability with the PS3 games console.
The storage in this console consists of an SDHC card slot for user-data storage as well as 16Gb on board/ But Sony are also using a new flash-memory-based cartridge format for distributing pre-packaged games.
As far as games availability goes for the initial run, most of the games that are available for the PS3 are intended to be ported to this console. It will be interesting to see what games will take advantage of the touchscreen and the sensors that this handheld has.
I also wonder whether the games will make use of the relatively-large choice of user interfaces that this console offers such as the buttons and joysticks, the touchscreen or the sensors. This is whether as alternative interfaces or as interfaces that are particular to the game or part thereof.
PlayStation Experience for Android – PlayStation Suite
As well, Sony intend to bring out a “PlayStation Suite” app for certain Android phones so that these can be played like the PSP or the NGP. The big question that I have about this is which phones will be able to run this software and whether there will be the full range of games on this platform. This could certainly put Apple on notice when it comes to the smartphone as a gaming platform, because of the PlayStation platform’s prowess with the advanced games like the Final Fantasy series of adventure games.
At the moment, this PlayStation Experience will be limited to an emulator which will be used to play the games that existed for the original Sony PlayStation console.
Conclusion – What could happen to the PlayStation brand?
The introduction of sensors and touchscreens to the PlayStation Experience could allow Sony to add extra dimensions to the games available for this platform and use the PlayStation name as a reference point for console and mobile gaming. Who knows whether Sony will extend this brand to premium Windows and MacOS X games that are meant to be played on those “gaming rigs”?