Sony unveils NGP portable game console

by Kazuaki Nagata

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. on Thursday took the wraps off its new hand-held game device, which has features never before seen on portables, including dual analog joysticks and front and rear touch pads.

The gadget, sporting a 5-inch organic light emitting multitouch display, is code-named the Next Generation Portable (NGP).

It is expected to hit store shelves toward the end of the year.

In addition to Wi-Fi, it will be connectable with the 3G mobile phone network.

The comfort level when controlling the NGP “is the best ever in the history of portable devices,” boasted SCE President Kazuo Hirai at the PlayStation Meeting 2011 in Tokyo.

The company repeatedly played up its controls through the dual analog sticks and front and rear touch pads, which Sony said enables users to “feel that they can grab what’s happening in the game.”

The NGP is equipped with a motion-sensing system, built-in front and rear cameras as well as GPS, which enables users to play location-based games and see the locations of other NGP users.

Sony also announced it will provide PlayStation-quality game titles to Google’s Android-powered devices such as smart phones and tablets with a service called PlayStation Suite.

“The situation surrounding portable games has drastically changed since the debut of the PSP (in 2004),” as people can now play portable games on devices not made especially for games, Hirai said.

“We can’t ignore this growing market . . . (a question is) how we can provide the world of PlayStation amid fierce competition. One answer is to provide PlayStation-quality games to other platforms.”