We’ve been dealing in PSP 2 rumour and speculation for some months, and now via the PlayStation Meeting held this morning, we now have our first glimpse of Sony’s PSP Go successor which is currently going by the name NGP (Next Generation Portable).
That comes just a week after we got more concrete details about the Nintendo 3DS which will be first out of the traps in 2011.
Both consoles promise great things, but which ultimately will succeed in winning the portable gaming vote? We’ve compared the specs and features for both devices to see how they shape up.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Build and display
In terms of design, Nintendo has stayed relatively true to its DS roots and why not, when it has proved so successful for them over the past six or so years? Sporting two screens, the technology used for the upper screen is certainly ground- breaking. Many have been put off by the concept of wearing glasses to enjoy 3D, and Nintendo have managed to deliver stereoscopic 3D without that one rather irritating factor.
There does still remain the slightly major issue of whether the 3D display is potentially harmful to the eyes of much younger gamers. There have been conflicting opinions from leading eye experts from both sides of that Atlantic. The official Nintendo line children should avoid playing 3D games as much as possible because of the threat to their developing eyesight. It remains to be seen if this could potentially affect sales.
Sony PSP 2
No drastic changes in terms of basic design for the PSP 2 but Sony claims the new ‘Super oval design’ will fit comfortably in the users hands to help aid those 'long play sessions'.
The massive 5-inch OLED display is substantially bigger than the 3.53-inch widescreen on the 3DS, and combined with a quad-core GPU and quad-core processor should deliver extremely vibrant, colourful graphics. Sony also claims you will be able to tilt the console and see images clearly from every angle. Opting for OLED should also help extend the battery life which is sure to take a pounding with so much power on board.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Controls
This is an area where most portables can ultimately be judged a hit or a big miss. Whilst maintaining the standard D-pad and standard four-button layout, the 3DS now features a motion sensing, PSP-style analogue circle pad which will deliver full analogue control for your 3D gaming. Built-in motion and gyro sensors also mean the 3DS reacts when you tilt the system.
Sony PSP 2
Joining the customary D-pad and X, Square, Circle, Triangle buttons, the NGP features a multi-touch front touch display and rear multi-touch pad both of identical size. The two touch sensitive panels when combined result in three dimension-like motion letting gamers "touch, grab, trace, push and pull". There’s also the addition of two analogue sticks which deliver a Dualshock experience, and gryroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass sensors, all which should provide a six-axis motion sensing system.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Cameras
Hosting three cameras in total, the two outer cameras allow users to create 3D photos and enjoy the built-in augmented reality software. The front-facing camera is capable of snapping 2D pics.
Sony PSP 2
The PSP 2 does offer both rear and front-facing cameras but there are no details as to what kind of snappers we can expect just yet. With a built-in microphone we imagine there is scope for a Skype hook-up that has been present in previous PSP models. Sony has yet to discuss the potential of Skype integration for the device.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Connectivity
Wi-Fi connectivity means support for the new internet browser, while 3DS users will be able to pick up data via Wi-Fi hotspots to get news, video and trade Mii characters on the go. Nintendo has been in talks with BTFon with Spot Pass access set to be available in BT Wi-Fi spots. It’s perhaps the local wireless communication which allows Nintendo 3DS systems to exchange game play data and use the new StreetPass feature that will be most interesting to see in action..
Sony PSP 2
The PSP 2 also boasts Wi-Fi support, but also additionally supports location built-in GPS, Bluetooth, and perhaps most crucially, 3G. While this won’t add phone functionality to the PSP 2, it should make downloading digital content such as video and demos much quicker.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Games
In terms of the format, 3DS game cards will be much like those you have to slot into the Nintendo DS/DSi. Backward compatibility means you’ll be able to play DS and DSi games, while the Nintendo e-Shop which NIntendo have confimed will be ready for the 3DS UK launch, will let users download classic Gameboy titles like the original Super Mario World.
30 Games are set to be available at launch up until June with notable releases including Pro Evolution 2011 3D, Mario Kart 3DS, Metal Gear Solid Snake eater and Super Street Fighter 4 3D edition
Sony PSP 2
The UMD looks set to remain a thing of the past, as Sony opts for flash memory cards as the chosen format for the PSP 2. This should lead to higher capacity to store additional content and game save data. Combined with Sony's decision to use a main OLED screen display, Flash memory should help preserve the battery life.
Capcom, Sega, Konami and Activision were amongst those present at the PSP 2 announcement, and while we got to see Uncharted in action on the portable console, Activision also confirmed that Call of Duty would be heading to the platform. Other notable games mentioned include LittleBigPlanet, Killzone, Monster Hunter Portale 3 and Hot Shots Golf.
And that’s not all. The PlayStation Suite which gives access to game content for Android based portable devices means the PSP 2 will also cater for causal gamers. It also perhaps suggests that devices like the Xperia Play (PlayStation Phone) could be the first of many gaming smartphones.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Special features
Spot Pass which can be identified at the top right of the console, enables 3DS users to pick up data via Wi-Fi hotspots to get news, video and trade Mii characters on the go. But if you fancy trading data with fellow 3DS owners, Street Pass is certainly an innovative new approach to console communication. The 3DS detects other 3DS consoles even as your device sleeps letting you swap multiple game information. That means data can be transferred from more than one title even if you are not currently playing that particular game.
Other in-built software include the Activity log to keep track of your gaming habits or the amount of steps you have taken, Nintendo Sound for music playback, access to the Nintendo 3DS e-Shop and a series Augmented Reality games As well as 3D games, short-form 3D content will also be available from providers such as Sky, Eurosport and Aardman Animations.
Sony PSP 2
Up first for the PSP 2 is ‘Live Area’ which is essentially a space to share with other gamers. While you will be able to get news on games, and launch games from the ‘Live Area’ you will be able to jump from game to Live Area to see other people playing the game and see what they’re doing in the game, and send messages in real-time.
‘Near’ is a location based service will work in conjunction with the PlayStation Network and will be able to tell you where you have travelled throughout town, see what the most popular titles played in an area, and what games friends are playing. Sony is also working on introducing location-based gaming, so we can expect to hear more about that in coming months.
An ‘Activity’ log also means you can be updated with leaderboards or accomplishments from users playing the same game.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Price
The Nintendo 3DS currently has a European RRP of £229.99 and retailers such as HMV have marked the console up around this figure. ShopToNet currently offer a 3DS pre-order price of £199.99, but for many we imagine it will still be a big price to pay for some glasses-free 3D gaming.
Sony PSP 2
Sony has not even begun to talk prices for the PSP 2, and with a late 2011 release slated, it could be a few more months yet before we a figure is mentioned. From what it promises and the technology it will incorporate, we can’t imagine it will be cheap.
Sony PSP 2 vs Nintendo 3DS: Release date
The Nintendo 3DS launches in the UK on March 25th which should give Ninty a decent headstart on its competitor. With just 30 games available for the first part of the year, there is still time for more games to convince us that this is a worthy Christmas 2011 gift.
Sony PSP 2
Sony have set a ‘late 2011’ release date which we imagine will see it land just in time to nestle under millions of Christmas trees. As the current working name NGP probably suggests, this is by no means a finished product and we expect plenty of more time spent refining the device before we are allowed to get our hands on it.