updated 07:00 pm EST, Thu February 3, 2011
Kaz Hirai talks Sony NGP plans in official video
Sony's PlayStation head Kaz Hirai discussed plans for the Next Generation Portable in an interview (video below) that both justified the early revelation and the future strategy for the handheld. He acknowledged that the introduction, nearly a year before it would actually hit shelves, was there solely to cater to developers. The January unveil gave developers a head start on writing games.
Many of the developers on stage, including Activision, Capcom, Epic, Konami and Tecmo Koei, were showing either rough prototypes or making promises of future titles.
He also downplayed the possibility that Sony might follow a more Apple-like release schedule. Sony would still follow the typical schedule set for TV-bound PlayStations, which usually get updates every five years. Critics have warned that Sony's decision to follow a similar strategy for the PSP led to its failure as it let Apple leapfrog Sony in performance and features by updating once every year. Smartphones are expected to catch up to the NGP's quad-core processor and graphics in 2012.
The SCEI leader was confident that the NGP could at least compete with Nintendo's 3DS. Support for 3G as well as the compass, GPS, the gyroscope and other sensors would give an edge. The 3DS has motion sensing and cameras but doesn't have as detailed motion awareness, a sense of its location or the option of an always-on connection.
Sony has modest expectations and mostly plans to improve on sales compared to the PSP, whose sales were hurt by the iPhone and iPod. Its pricing may be an obstacle. While the company has vowed to keep prices reasonable, it has hinted strongly the base NGP should cost more than the 3DS' $250. [via Engadget]