Sony talks PSVita and more at E3 2011 event
Sony is holding its E3 press conference for E3 2011 on the USC campus tonight. The company is expected to formally rechristen the NGP as the PSVita, its main challenge to Apple and Nintendo in the gaming space. Visit our live coverage page from 8PM Eastern or 5PM Pacific for real-time updates as they happen.
Titles from PSN will be supported
Amid Sony's NGP-related announcements, the company has confirmed that its upcoming handheld will be compatible with PSP titles. Backward compatibility will be limited to digital releases available in the PlayStation Network, though the hardware differences will require many games to be reconfigured for the NGP's input options.
Wipeout and UNCHARTED previewed
Sony is currently previewing select games that will be available when the company's NGP handheld arrives on the market. Ahead of E3, the company is holding a private event at the Sony Pictures soundstage in LA to show off the highlight title, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, along with other games such as Hot Shots Golf, Wipeout, Hustle Kings, Soundshapes, and Super Stardust Delta.
Sony gives clues of PlayStation Vita name for NGP
Multiple clues have emerged in the past day that the Sony NGP now had a final name. A photo leak and a working developer web domain, vita.scedev.net, have hinted that the quad-core gaming machine will be called the PlayStation Vita. The Sony Computer Entertainment site redirects to a portal but works with subdomains based on other device names, like NGP and PS3, while ignoring other made up addresses.
Sony NGP to require less corporate investment
Sony's CFO Masaru Kato gave out clues in a Memorial Day interview that the NGP would be considerably less expensive to make than earlier PlayStations. He described the handheld system as less "investment heavy" than before. Among the options mentioned to the Wall Street Journal were farming out chip manufacturing to other companies or using off-the-shelf parts.
NVIDIA Kal-El gets early video demo
NVIDIA in another phase of its Computex show rollouts gave the first real demo of its quad-core Kal-El chip (below). A graphics and physics demo, Glowball, showed the future Tegra as the first smartphone-class chip of doing true dynamic lighting while still keeping a smooth frame rate, even with advanced physics for cloth and obstacles. Kal-El is the first mobile chip that can do this at a reasonable speed, NVIDIA said, and dropping to just two cores showed a dramatic slowdown.
Sony may slash NGP features to hit Nintendo, Apple
Sony might be stripping down the performance of the NGP to better take on the Nintendo 3DS and Apple's iPod touch. A rumor late Thursday from France's 01net claimed that developers had been told the NGP would have half the main RAM, 256MB, and a similar cut to 128MB of video RAM. It may also drop the 16GB of built-in storage and shed the plain SD card slot in favor of a possibly more proprietary format with copy protection; whether that was Memory Stick or another format wasn't mentioned.
OmniVision alludes to Apple, maybe Nintendo deals
OmniVision in its quarterly results call Thursday night dropped clues as to its possible iPhone production plans as well as a key console deal. The camera sensor maker said it was transitioning much of its smartphone work to eight-megapixel sensors and was seeing strong orders from "key customers in the smartphone market" for the next few months ahead. It also clarified plans for its next-generation eight-megapixel sensor, the OV8830; it planned to ship the sensor to "premier brand name" smartphone creators when it was ready in the second half of the year.
Sony hints PS4 in progress
Sony gave the first signs of the PlayStation 4 already in development through the earnings call for its latest results. The electronics giant's CFO Masaru Kato explained a rise in research and development costs by noting that "development work is already underway" for the PS3's future replacement. He couldn't say what it was or when it would ship in VentureBeat's recall of the event, although the timing made it unlikely it would be 2011.
Sony gears up Black Ops PS3 and Limited PSP pre-E3
Sony ramped itself up for the E3 show with two special deals to put sales over the top. A new Call of Duty: Black Ops Limited Edition PS3 bundle gives users both a 160GB version of the console but also the still-current first-person shooter and the new First Strike add-on pack. It ships on May 31, just a week before the start of E3, for $300.
PSP Go production still active for US, Canada
Sony on Thursday said the end of the PSP Go in Japan wasn't affecting North America. Sony of America in a statement promised it was "continuing production" of the handheld console for Canada and the US. For how long wasn't mentioned to Joystiq, though it's assumed the upcoming NGP could mark an end to the more expensive of the two PSP models.
ARM Cortex-A15 to start with dual-core late 2012
ARM's US mobile division head James Bruce said in a conversation late Tuesday that the first phones and tablets using the Cortex-A15 architecture should be available by the end of 2012 or early into 2013. The much improved chip design will start out cautiously with dual-core designs before moving on to quad-core later on. The performance leap over the A9 was such that he predicted to PCWorld that phones like the Motorola Atrix were part of a larger trend towards mobile devices used for desktop-level tasks.
Sony cancels PSP Go months ahead of NGP
Sony on Wednesday confirmed rumors that it was stopping PSP Go production. The company in a statement said it had 'completed' production and was only selling remaining stock before it disappeared entirely. Firmware patches and repairs would still go on, the company told Impress, but the focus was on the NGP's release at the end of the year.
Sony will continue to meet demand for PSP Go
Sony may have stopped making its controversial PSP Go portable console, according to an ex-employee's report. A follow-up with Sony by EuroGamer offers a more ambiguous answer by Sony itself, with the electronics giant stating it will continue to meet demand. That demand has in the past been dwindling and has been followed a series of price drops for the device.
Flurry shows iOS, Android hurting Nintendo, Sony
Smartphone platforms have been deepening their impact on Nintendo and Sony game revenue, Flurry said in a new study. The combination of Android and iOS jumped from five percent of all video game revenue in 2009 to eight percent last year. Combined with a resurgence in TV gaming, the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP lines had their total revenue share cut back from 24 percent to just 16 percent.
PlayStation chief says Nintendo DS trapped to kids
Sony's US PlayStation CEO Jack Tretton in a chat published Friday dismissed the Nintendo DS as competition. He thought of the lineup as perpetuating the "Game Boy experience" and only really tailored to kids. The PSP, and especially the upcoming NGP, were meant to keep handheld gaming relevant for adults that wouldn't want to even admit to owning a DS, he told Fortune.
Sony says NGP launch plans unaffected after all
Sony this week said its NGP portable gaming console will not be affected by the recent earthquake in Japan, contradicting its earlier statement that said the launch would be limited. According to the Nikkei, the console will be released starting late this year in stages.
Epic rules out Android gaming for now
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney in an interview on Tuesday ruled out game development on Android in favor of the iPhone and iPad. Games like Infinity Blade couldn't come to Android because Epic "can't guarantee" a baseline experience on every device. Even if a fast quad-core device like the Sony NGP were underneath, Sweeney told Gizmodo, the free rein hardware makers and carriers have to impose apps and custom interfaces meant you would get a different experience that could slow it down.
Sony NGP may intro in one area due to quake
Sony's US PlayStation president Jack Tretton said Monday that the NGP might have to have a limited launch due to the Tohoku earthquake in Japan. Production and supply issues could limit the late 2011 release to one area, such as Japan or North America, instead of a simultaneous launch. He wouldn't tell Bloomberg which area that would be.
Sony Music Unlimited near PSP, Xperia Play, NGP
Sony in a chat late Thursday said that Music Unlimited would come to all of its main mobile devices this year. The PSP would get it within a "matter of weeks," while the Xperia Play and other Android devices should get it sometime this year. Sony also promised Eurogamer the NGP would get the streaming service, though whether it would be ready for the late 2011 initial launch or wait until 2012 wasn't mentioned.
Sony to pursue hybrid game format model
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) boss Andrew House has promised that the NGP will get game downloads the same day as retail. In an interview with MCV, House said that the company aims to adopt a hybrid model of distribution for the platform, building on PSP Go strategy of dropping the UMD drive featured on the original PSP design. However, unlike the PSP Go, NGP games will be available in on flash storage cards through retail stores, and through digital download as well. Some games will also be available as digital download only.
Game survey hints Sony NGP starts at 250
Sony may price the NGP considerably lower than feared by some. An Ubisoft survey gauging early adoption said it expected the basic, Wi-Fi version of the NGP to cost $250 while the 3G version would cost $350. Gamers were asked how likely they would buy the handheld based on those prices, Kotaku learned.
Sony NGP may go beyond Japan in 2011
Sony's upcoming NGP might reach Europe and other countries at the same time as Japan if a rumor is correct. Multiple sources said that game developers in Europe and other non-Japanese areas were being asked to wrap up NGP games by the end of the summer so they could ship in the fall. MCV took this as a sign the system itself would be reaching the continent at the same time.
PSP Go price cut to 150 to clear path for NGP
Sony has quietly followed up its PSP price cut with a drop for the PSP Go. Its 16GB, download-only console now has a permanent $150 price, matching Best Buy's sale from late last year. The reduction is the second official drop for the PSP Go since October, when it fell another $50.
Will still offer exceptional performance
Sony platform research manager David Coombes has told the audience at the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC) that while the Sony NGP will have exceptional performance from its quad-core ARM-based chip and quad-core graphics, that it won’t match the PS3 for processor performance. The NGP processor can theoretically scale to speeds of 2GHz, however, it would not be clocked at that speed in the device when it ships. "Some people in the press have said wow, this thing... could be as powerful as PS3," Coombes said. "Well, it's not going to run at 2GHz because the battery would last five minutes... and it would probably set fire to your pants."
Panasonic Jungle already cancelled
Panasonic on Tuesday said it had already cancelled its Jungle gaming handheld before setting a launch date or price. The company phased out the project despite having set up a Cloud Entertainment group in the US and making deals for at least a Battlestar Galactica online RPG. An exit was prompted by "changes in the market and in our own strategic direction," the company said.
Sony drops PSP price to 130 as NGP draws near
Sony today sent word that it was dropping the price of the PSP to $130. The cut to the Core Pack brings it down from $170 and will be accompanied by a similar price slash on Entertainment Pack bundles, which will drop from $200 to $160. Both drops take effect February 27 and will come in tandem with a TV spot (below) driving the point home and taking a dig at iPhone gaming.
Sony says PS3 on usual 10yr cycle, no push for PS4
The PlayStation 3 isn't having its cycle accelerated to roll out its sequel, Sony Computer Entertainment head Kaz Hirai said in a chat on Thursday. He put the PS3 on the same 10-year track as earlier consoles and said the current system was "not at the halfway point yet." There were still hot games coming out for the platform, and the feature and software bundles would still get improvements, he told Impress.
Sony says iTunes safe as Music Unlimited hits US
Sony on Thursday took quick steps to shut down worries that it might leave iTunes even as it brought a competitor to the US. Its Network Entertainment COO Brandon Layden said Sony had "no intention of withdrawing." Apple's music store was too important to leave despite the PlayStation's Australian group chief Michael Ephraim's comments, Layden told SAI.
Apple said to have another iPad update in fall
Apple may get the edge on rivals by having two iPad updates in one year. Following a purely speculative mention by John Gruber on Wednesday, a separate rumor asserted that the imminent refresh would be followed up by a "big fall surprise" that would be a second model. What it would entail wasn't given to TechCrunch but might be the 2048x1536 display for which prototypes have been circulating but which was thought to be too early for the spring model.
iPad 2 leak says production on, two carriers due
Apple has already started production of the next-generation iPad, a leak asserted Tuesday night. The unnamed sources backed views that production would start in February as well as most of the widely leaked hardware details. The WSJ understood it would have a "faster processor," faster graphics and more RAM along with the expected dual cameras, but a similar 1024x768 resolution for the display.
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.
PS3 Internet saved game syncing due with 3.6 patch
PS3 owners could soon get an online based saved game sync system through PlayStation Plus. An apparent leak of a Sony developer update late Friday has suggested Sony will give the premium subscribers the option of storing games on a server. Similar to Valve's Steam, the Kotaku-described Online Saving approach would tie the saves to the player's account and could bring them back after switching to a new console or if the hard drive dies.
id Software head says Sony NGP well beyond phones
id Software co-founder John Carmack said in the wake of the Sony NGP that the new console was in an entirely different class than smartphones for gaming. The hardware would be a "generation beyond" in performance even next to phones that shipped with performance similar to the quad-core processor and graphics that aren't yet on any other device. Sony will have the advantage of low-level programming standards that will help any game run faster than it would if it had to use a higher level standard, like OpenGL.
Sony talks NGP battery life and relative pricing
Sony's SCEA president Jack Tretton gave hints in an interview that the NGP might ease some of the worries on battery life, but not necessarily on price. He stressed that the company would "certainly look to improve" on the PSP's battery life even with the five-inch screen and quad-core hardware. Engadget in sitting down with Tretton figured that meant more than the 4.5 to seven hours of typical use.
Sony NGP getting multiple Wi-Fi versions, 3G extra
Sony's European PlayStation lead Andrew House sent word in an interview on Thursday that the Next Generation Portable will have Wi-Fi only versions. He promised "multiple" handhelds for the end of the year and that only one would have 3G. The cellular access was just a "subset" of a feature set where the 802.11n Wi-Fi is the baseline, EuroGamer was told.
Sony unveils NGP to take on iPod touch
Sony at its special event on Thursday leapt back into mobile gaming with the Next Generation Portable. The soon-to-come PSP2 promises a PS3-level experience with a much faster, quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and a multi-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 graphics chip four times faster than seen before. It centers on a massive five-inch, 960x544 OLED screen that promises a much larger experience than on a smartphone.
We cover Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2011 event
Sony held a PlayStation Meeting 2011 event at 1AM Eastern that brought details of the NGP, commonly known as the PSP2. It represents a leap in performance and brings in touchscreen and 3G technology to challenge the iPod touch for mobile gaming. Please visit our live coverage page where we provided updates from the Tokyo event as it happened.