The PSP’s Successor is officially revealed. You may want to sit down!

There’s a lot here, so lets get started. First, it looks a lot like the original PSP, until you actually pay attention. The shape is similar, but you’ll quickly notice a bunch of changes. The screen, which is OLED, is now a humongous 5-inches. Also readily evident, dual analog sticks are present, yes, I said STICKS! No more sliding around, as these are true sticks that lean, which for me, is one of the most welcome things thy could have done. No word if they retract for transport though.

The rumored touch pad on the back of the device is also present. It’s the same size as the screen on the front, so interaction is 1:1, which was demonstrated by a game called “Little Deviants,” which had the player using the bottom touch pad to deform the terrain on the game screen, as if your fingers were under the surface of the ground. The first indication of Sony’s push toward social networking and gaming was the inclusion of forward and rear facing cameras, but that’s only the beginning.

The interface has been completely revamped, so no more XMB (of which I’m a bit disappointed since I actually like the XMB.) What you’ll see now is full screens that slide around, with live data at every corner. The interface is made for touch, with large icons all around, as Touch, Grab, Trace, Push, Pull are potential interactions with the front and rear touch pads. All of this integrates with LiveArea, which is their integrated communications platform. Honestly, it reminds me of a boiled-down area that’s similar to what you get in PlayStation Home, just not in 3D and as fancy. Essentially, any game released on the platform will get its own “room” in LiveArea, and will be kind-of that games one-stop shop for everything. You’ll see things like activity logs from other players, and the ability to leave messages and wall posts.

The next big announcement was the move toward location-based services, and they’re covering all of the bases. First, the device includes both Wi-Fi and 3G support. There was no mention of 3G carrier possibilities or how it would be handled, but the fact that the ability is there shows that Sony’s actually thinking ahead. Also included are Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), and a Three-axis electronic compass. A couple of the games demoed even showed how these motion-based controls could be used, like aiming when in a sniper view, or aiming your shot in the new Hot Shots title. Think that’s all, yeah… no. GPS support, it’s in there. Wireless B/G/N, yup, those bases are also covered. All of this hardware integrate into the NGP’s service dubbed “NEAR.” This location-based service allows the player to see if anyone in the area is playing a game that you’d like to play so that you can attempt to join-in, or to even see what your friends in the area are or even were recently playing. IN other words, think of part of it being a vicinity-based matchmaking service. Now honestly, where I live, I’d never use this. But I’d definitely like it if I was in a huge metro area.

So lets talk software support, and again, there’s a lot to talk about. First-off, the NGP (by the way, NGP is just a codename for now) supports every PSP game downloaded from the PSN. But beyond that, a new development platform called “PlayStation Suite” was announced, for cross-platform game development across Android devices. These same titles developed for the Suite will all be fully compatible with the NGP, kinda like a new version of Minis. Also, they’ll be releasing PS1 games as part of the Suite on Android, and they’ve also established a hardware certification process to ensure that your Android device can actually run this software (in other words, your device will have to meet minimum requirements.) Games made specifically for the NGP will not be on UMD (duh) but will either be downloadable or will come on a new memory-based card, which looks pretty similar to an SD Card, but knowing Sony, it’ll be proprietary.

Image from Engadget's LiveBlog

Some of the games briefly shown include:
Hot Shots Golf Next
Killzone
Pool
LBP
“Broken”
Smart A’s
Reality Fighters
Wipeout
CoD
Resistance
Uncharted!
Little Deviants
Gravity Daze
Dungeon Defenders from Epic, developed by Trendy Entertainment using the Unreal Engine

Most were barely shown, and honestly, the livestream left a lot to the imagination. They did a live demo of the Uncharted game, and many thought that it looked like the first game. What was different though was the fact that the touch and motion controls were already integrated. You could swipe the screen to draw a line to where you wanted to go, or you could use two fingers on the rear touch pad to mimic rope-climbing motions to climb a rope. Most footage shown were the equivalent of tech demos, but any shown were explained as being data directly from the PS3 version, only with a bit less geometry. Hideo Kojima even showed a demo of MGS4 ported directly from the PS3 version, in his words “in a very short amount of time.” Some of the other footage shown was yet another Dynasty Warriors title, Lost Planet 2, a Yakuza title (YES!), and Host Shots Golf Next (YES again!)

Some other bits that I could get were the fact that you’ll have a live integration with PSN, including full friends list support, and of course, Trophies. It even seems to have have messaging support, but no details were really given for that.

But what don’t we know? Plenty! Nothing was revealed in terms of 3G plans, if the browser actually works, if Skype will still be present, do the analog sticks retract for transport,will it have an actual RSS/Podcast aggregator, and of course, how much is this thing gonna cost?!?!

Honestly, I’m more excited for this than I expected. I like that they didn’t go too radical with the hardware design, and from the looks of things, they’ve put an emphasis on social, location, and online/multiplayer features. The fact that it has 2 actual analog sticks sells me already, but the touch controls obviously concern me. I’m trying not to get too excited, since I don’t want too much of a letdown when I hear that it’ll cost more than a launch PS3.

Look below for the full tech specs. This thing has a 4-core ARM processor, and boasts some pretty impressive metal all-around:

*CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
*GPU: SGX543MP4+
*External 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)

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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