Gaming handsets to the fore as Nintendo and Sony seek hearts of minds on the go

Michael Plant

Sony NGP 300x219 Gaming handsets to the fore as Nintendo and Sony seek hearts of minds on the goSony’s next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) has just been announced, meaning that this year sees not one high profile console release but two; following the announcement that Nintendo’s 3DS will be with us in March that is.

While Nintendo are merrily proceeding on their path to success with 3DS – the handheld market proving particularly fruitful for the Japanese firm following the cross-market success of the DS – a return to handhelds for Sony following the relatively disappointing returns of their PSP (or PlayStation Portable) console marks a brave, or else stubborn, move for the technology giants.

“NGP is designed to offer unparalleled interactive entertainment that is only possible on PlayStation”, barks the accompanying press release. “This new system offers a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context, made possible by leveraging SCE’s experience from both PSP and PlayStation 3 entertainment systems.”

What that translates to is that it’s almost certain to have social networking with the likes of Facebook and Twitter fully integrated from the off. Given that the device also comes with two cameras as standard, the chances of video calls being available on the go seems highly likely. That’s all well and good of course, but nothing that Android and iPhones haven’t been doing for some time, so what extra does the NGP offer?

Well, crucially — at least as far as gamers are concerned — it has support from the vast majority of the industry’s heavy hitters. Sony’s influence and pedigree in the games industry is something which even Apple can’t stand up, meaning we can expect some truly thrilling games to be released when it ships towards the end of the year. For an example, look no further than footage of a brand new Uncharted title (courtesy of GameSpot), a system exclusive sure to sell a lot of systems:

Just one look at those sleek visuals is enough to tell you that there’s no horsepower lacking from the handheld either. While Nintendo might have gone the 3D route with the 3DS (and believe me it is fantastic), Sony have gone all-out with visuals the like of which have only been seen on home-based systems before. That the system’s touchscreen is also capable of detecting multiple presses at once means we just might see some truly innovative games too.

Quite whether visual flair and an abundance of popular franchises will be enough to turn the heads of iPhone owners looking for those five minute bursts of Angry Birds remains to be seen but, for those of us with a passion for games, another quality release into the console market is something to be celebrated (and I’m sure that the high street retailers won’t be too unhappy either).

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