The following is a transcription of the announcement of the new generation of portable systems from Sony, now named the NGP, by Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Entertainment of America:
When PSP first launched in 2005 in North America it changed the way people thought of portable gaming and raised expectations in regards to the variety and quality of games users expected to access while on the go. It has since become the go-to handheld entertainment system for more than 64 million users who seek home entertainment quality games along with access to their music, movies, photos and more.
With NGP we carry on this rich history of redefining industry standards and raising the bar for consumer expectations for what portable gaming can deliver. Designed to blur the lines between interactive entertainment and reality, the NGP will offer Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity. The 5-inch OLED front multi-touch display will bring brilliant images to life and the multi-touch pad on the rear will allow users to engage with the game and characters with a simple movement of their fingertips. Additionally, services created specifically for NGP will be available on PlayStation Network. These services are designed help users take their gameplay, as well as interaction with other gamers, to new levels.
While we here at PlayStation are thrilled to bring this cutting-edge technology to your fingertips, we all know that content is critical to the success for all of our platforms. I’m pleased to share that your favorite franchises will be coming to NGP, including Uncharted and Call of Duty. We are working with our extensive network of 3rd party developers and publishers as well as SCE Worldwide Studios to create experiences unlike anything else on the market.
Also announced this evening was PlayStation Suite, an entirely new initiative from PlayStation that will provide fans with the opportunity to enjoy PlayStation content on an open operating system for the first time in PlayStation history. PlayStation Suite will work with Android based, “PlayStation Certified” portable devices – including mobile phones, smart-phones, and tablet PCs – to offer “PlayStation quality” content to users worldwide. In addition to providing a selection of PS one Classics, we are also working with developers to create new and exciting content that will be available on both PlayStation Certified devices and the new NGP when it comes to market
I think you will agree that the incredible momentum behind PlayStation continues to grow with each passing year. While 2010 was record breaking thanks to an unsurpassed line-up of award winning AAA software, the introduction of 3D entertainment into millions of homes and the launch of our incredibly successful PlayStation Move motion controller, 2011 is already shaping up to be one of our biggest years yet.
We think that this new device is just awesome, the NGP promises to be a big seller, however, there are a few things that were left out, so here are some details that we expect Sony will clarify eventually:
Battery life. This takes the forefront, considering the disappointing life of the PSP and PSP Go. The Nintendo 3DS looks like it will only have "3 to 5 hours" of battery life--and that's according to Nintendo. How a 5-inch-screened, quad-core, advanced graphics portable like the NGP will fare doesn't leave us with a lot of hope for long plane trips, but maybe Sony has an extra-large battery tucked in there somewhere.
Price. Sony's handhelds have pushed the upper range of cost at their debuts, with both the original PSP and the PSP Go having a launch price of $249. Nintendo has usually offered a lower-cost alternative for handheld gamers, but the Nintendo 3DS will debut at a relatively high $249, too. Considering all of its advanced technology, can the Sony NGP keep pace with the 3DS, or will it cost more? Would $300 be too much? How about $400?
Release date. The Nintendo 3DS arrives on March 27 in the U.S., with a small handful of titles in tow. The NGP will almost certainly see a 2011 release, with details likely finalized at E3 in June. A September-range release seems the most likely, but anything's possible.
Game library. While a few games have been demonstrated so far, it's unclear how the diverse the NGP/PSP2's games will be, and whether or not many of them will be ports of popular PS3 titles. Uncharted has been unveiled. Can others follow suit? Also, we're curious whether a larger library of classic PS2 games will become available for download much like the PS1 games already on the PSN Store.
How this all works with the "PSP Phone." The Sony Ericsson "Xperia Play" that's been rumored, leaked and discussed for weeks looks to be a completely different device, utilizing an Android OS. While confirmed details on a PlayStation phone haven't been revealed yet, last night in Tokyo Sony did announce the "PlayStation Suite," offering a completely separate library of PlayStation 1 games to the Android marketplace. Regardless, it's going to take some effort to explain how the NGP and Xperia Play differ to avoid buyer confusion. Will the PSP Phone just be an Android phone with a control pad and access to the PlayStation Suite, nothing more? As far as cross-compatibility goes, iPhone and iPod Touch these will most definitely not be.