Following the PlayStation Meeting event, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai spoke during an interview where he gave out some additional information regarding the newly announced NGP. During the interview Kaz indicated there may be plans for two different SKUs of the NGP, and he also states that the NGP will have an original operating system.
Depending on the region, Kaz stated there are plans for two different flavors of the NGP, a Wi-Fi only and 3G/Wi-Fi unit. From what we know, the NGP’s “Near” feature relies on the unit’s internet connection, and it will be interesting to see how Sony will implement this into a Wi-Fi only device. Gamers with the Wi-Fi only unit may just have to wait until they get to a hotspot to join in on the fun. The 3G capabilities combined with Near, shows that Sony is clearly encouraging gamers to take their units out more, similar to Nintendo’s StreetPass feature on the 3DS.
Sony is currently in talks with different carriers in each country to determine pricing for an attached plan. Even though the NGP will have 3G capabilities, it will not have a phone feature built-in. Kai stated that using something of this form-factor as a phone would be “nonsense”. We’re glad to see Sony is learning from the Nokia N-Gage “taco phone”.
Gamers can also say good-bye to the XMB; the NGP will have its own original operating system and will not be Android based. The NGP will be able to play digital versions of PSP games and gamers will get to re-download previously purchased games onto their NGP. This an awesome (and needed) feature for those who may have downloaded a lot of PSP titles from PSN. With this, Sony is also a following in the footsteps of the 3DS, where Nintendo has also stated that DSiWare will be transferable to the their next gen handheld.
For those who were hoping to play NGP games on a bigger screen, it was stated by a Sony rep that the unit does not have video-out in its current form. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be added later. The first iteration of the PSP didn’t have video-out until a couple of generations in, so it’s a little surprising that it wouldn’t come standard on the PSP’s successor.
The Sony rep did say however, that the NGP will support “general memory cards,” but didn’t specify if these were your standard SD cards or Sony’s proprietary formats.
The Sony NGP could go for a high price when it launches later this year. All the news coming out of Sony on their next hand-held has been on the up and up, though we are concerned about the price of 3G plan on top of the potentially high cost of the NGP. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.