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New PSP revealed by Sony

Sony has unveiled the blueprint for its next-generation handheld console.

The device – set to replace the PlayStation Portable – will contain technology found in both the PSP and PlayStation 3.

The Japanese firm announced the gaming gadget, codenamed NGP, in Tokyo last night. Due for release at the end of this year, Sony promised it would “deliver the ultimate portable entertainment experience” with “unparalleled interactive entertainment that is only possible on PlayStation”.

Designed around gaming and social connectivity, the announcement comes just a week after Nintendo revealed its latest handheld, the 3DS, which hits the shops in March.

Touchscreen, Wi-Fi and 3G

The five inch NGP will have a high quality OLED touchscreen and contain both Wi-Fi and mobile phone-style 3G to provide a constant connection to the internet. Sony say this will allow owners to “encounter, connect, discover, share and play” with their friends wherever they are.

The gaming giant also promises a high-performance processor inside to create the most striking graphics ever seen on a portable console.

Interestingly, the system will also have a multi-touch pad on the back of it, allowing gamers to control the action by moving their fingers behind the device while using their thumbs on the front touchscreen.

The NGP still looks like the original PSP with the same oval design and fans of the traditional will be pleased to know it has dual analog sticks as well as touch for controls alongside the usual directional buttons, Triangle, Circle, Cross and Square action buttons and left and right shoulder buttons.

By connecting to the internet, a new function called Live Area provides every game with a unique space where users can see other people’s high scores and achievements, while also allowing them to communicate in real time.

A new application called Near also brings location-based services through the current PlayStation Network to show where your friends are and what they are playing.

New game format

But, there is bad news for owners of the existing PSP. They will find their current games won’t work on the new NGP. It now uses a small flash memory card to store the latest titles on, instead of the old discs, but this does allow players to save game data directly to each specific card.

This type of format gives game designers more memory to work with when creating even more powerful portable adventures.

Dual cameras

If that wasn’t enough to raise any gamer’s blood pressure, the NGP also has two cameras – on the front and rear – three motion sensors, a gyroscope to recognise 360 degree movements of your body and a connection with the new PlayStation Suite.

This will provide game content for Android-based devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers. The content will also be made available on the NGP and is set to include classic PlayStation titles.

There’s no price as yet for the NGP but even these most basic of details should be more than enough to get gamers excited. It might not be available for nearly a year, but there’s plenty
here to have your fingers twitching in anticipation.