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Early Thoughts on the Sony NGP’s Battle with the Nintendo 3DS

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As the years have gone by, one company has ruled the handheld gaming world, Nintendo.  Sure, many companies have been and tried to topple the giant, but none seem to succeed. Ever.

So surely the same will happen again in the current generation of handhelds, right? The 3DS will be seen in as many homes as it’s predecessor, the DS, or at least so Nintendo hopes.

Picking up the dukes for the opposition, is Sony, and it’s power house, currently known as the NGP (Next Generation Portable).
Now, as the NGP isn’t out yet, we can’t be doing a comparison of the two. No, instead, I’ll be doing my own predictions, and who I believe will be walking away with the crown.

In the blue corner, weighing in at 230 grams (8.1 oz), is the Nintendo 3DS, Ninties latest addition to the DS family.

The 3DS has upped the handheld stakes, by being the first autostereoscopic three-dimensional (no glasses needed) console. Much like it’s predecessors'(DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL), the 3DS has two screens; the top is a 3.52- inch, 3:3 3D screen, with an impressive 800×240 WQVGA affair, that, as you know, can produce an autostereoscopic three-dimensional effect, so no dorky glasses are needed.  The lower screen, is a 3.2- inch, 3:3 (non-3D) resistive touch screen, with a lower resolution of 320×240 pixels.  The addition of an analogue stick was a wise move by Nintendo too.

Feature wise, the 3DS packs an accelerometer, and a gyroscope, along with Wi-Fi, as well as 3 cameras. Two cameras are on the outside of the device (and are capable of taking 3D photos), and one camera positioned above the top screen on the inside of the device (facing the player), which can take 2D photos and capture 2D video. All camera’s have a resolution of 640×480 pixels.

Much has been debated over the 3D effect of the 3DS, many stating the console causes head-aches, and eye strain. I didn’t encounter any of the above, but I did have trouble with the 3D effect as a whole. Sure, it really does look fantastic, but because it’s a handheld, focusing on the 3D effect is more of a chore than I’d have hoped for, so poor viewing angles made the experience more of a wash out.

But all that aside, my main quarrel, was the lack of decent games on launch (Rayman 3D being especially poor; don’t let the name fool you, it’s not 3D, but a bad port of the 1999 original).

On the plus though, the 3DS will be bringing the likes of Resident Evil, Zelda, Mario and even Metal Gear Solid.  So I still have high hopes that Nintendo can deliver.

Now, in the red corner, with an unknown weight, is the Sony NGP, also known as the PSP2.

As far as names go, Next Generation Portable is a pretty spot on title for Sony’s powerhouse. Rocking a 5- inch OLED capactive touchscreen, dual analogue sticks (the current PSP sports analog nubs), a front camera, a rear camera, stereo speakers, microphone, Sixaxis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass, built-in GPS as well as Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity. But it’s internally where it hits hard — the NGP features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 core processor and a SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit.  It’s safe to say, the NGP is going to be powerful, and with 3G and Wi-Fi, accessing the Playstation Suite should be a walk in the park.

But it’s going to be the games that make or break it.  Will we see the Uncharted game that was demo-ed as a launch title? Or will we be greeted with the stale face of FIFA and some hit-and-miss racing games?

Overall, even though the 3DS has had a big head start, I believe if Sony launches with some brilliant games (Uncharted, Resistance, Killzone etc), the NGP could find itself at the top.

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About Callum Povey

Callum Povey, also known as the hairy one. More than once he’s been described as both ruggish AND dashing. Cal was once a born again unicyclist, until he discovered that he wasn't. True story. You can find him writing for publications such as Blogcritics, VentureBeat, GamesBeat and also a presenter on Podcast vs Player. He also has two books published, which you can buy with your hands and read with your eyes. Imagine that! Above all else, he's a proud father and geek.
  • Brandon

    I like the 3ds, but in my heart i hope that the ngp will kick the 3ds’ ass.

  • Jagggg

    how will it if the company dnt care about its fanbase or gameplay i think the price of the ngp will make it fail, sony n nintendo have there own lil followers, we can clearly see who has more

  • Lunias

    Sony doesn’t care about fans? Sony’s next-up fixes the complaint most often heard by adding two analog sticks, not one analog nub. On the other hand, Nintendo’s system cuts anybody under 7 from the fanbase and comes out with a pretty weak game launch.

  • Nosey Nosemeister

    Rayman isn’t in 3D? What are you smoking dude? The game isn’t that bad and is actually quite amazing in places. Sure, its a port of a 1999 game that has been on virtually every platform, but still it IS in 3D and that is what makes it pretty cool…

  • josh

    the NGP will proboly cost more than the 3ds,
    and nintendo has amazing games coming, im almost certain the 3ds will win,
    and if you are wondering about the lack of launch games, nintendo purposly delayed them so the 3rd party games would have a chance (most 3rd party told nintendo that they did not want to compeat aganset stuff like mario and zelda)
    soz about spelling

  • chrissomerry

    While I’d like the NGP to be cheap, I doubt it will be… With all that it has in it, it wouldn’t surprise me if it would cost $100 more than the 3DS, which in Australian terms would make the NGP $450, and doomed to fail like the PSP Go before it, but not quite as badly. Hopefully Sony can avoid that mistake though, but I’m not 100% hopeful.

  • Liam

    It’s going in the same direction as last generation. Nintendo unveil and innovative handheld which builds upon the predecessor with fair technical power, innovative ways to play and overall, a brand new console.

    On the other hand, we have Sony who just build up its power more and more, maybe add a couple little features which we’ve seen before. Then, they add multimedia features, which people drool over, forgetting that it’s a game console, not a multimedia device. All the fanboys will say the NGP will kill the 3DS.

    The 3DS will dominate it, and the fanboys will still gloat. The problem is that they’re just playing it safe and using everything which has been tried and tested, while Nintendo throw all their cards on the table and introduce something we haven’t seen before, and it takes the world by storm.

    I’ll eat my 3DS if it fails. MARK. MY. WORDS.

  • frycook48

    NGP will win. It’s better, and packs better features and graphics. Little Big Planet will own to!

  • Callum

    @Nosey Nosemeister, Rayman 3D, was, in 1999, a brilliant platformer, but using an 11 year old game as a launch title? Worse still, is that it hasn’t been updated in the slightest, if you turn up the 3D effect, it shows even worse how old it is.

  • Chris

    I have the 3ds but I sold my games for it because they were bad. the ocarina of time remake and new Mario game will hopefully redeem it but aside from that, nintendo is becoming notorious for alienating decent developers by releasing an inferior console padded with a gimmick and filling these console libraries with garbage aside from the extremely occasional first-party games.

    I have little doubt that if the NGP has a steady stream of solid software, it will blow the 3DS out of the water…for gamers. I don’t see the NGP winning the overall handheld market though. what nintendo does is dishonorable, but the combination of nostalgia and gimmicks sells their consoles and games. that’s why I own a 3DS.

  • giddi

    3DS will win, hopefully. Like was mentioned above, Sony just knows how to copy and copy and copy, where Nintendo knows how to innovate. The day Sony went into the gaming business is the day gaming died. Thank God for Nintendo.

  • Marioa

    You did not mention the poor battery life of the 3ds which is a big minus for a portable gaming device

  • anonymous

    It’s totally unfair to compare a gaming system that’s already out and one that is still over half a year away. Remember last year what people were saying about the 3DS? All gaming companies overhype their systems and it’s not until they’re released that a real comparison can be made. Which make this article kind of pointless and misleading.

  • Joe

    The NGP will sell more than 3DS hands down. When even the PSP is outselling it in Japan, you know it’s in hot water. Hopefully when ok games come out it will start selling better. The NGP has Little Big Planet, Killzone, Ressistance, and Uncharted as launch titles so it will by far have a better library compared to the 3DS at the end of the year. Also the 3DS’s 3D is horrible so NGP for the win!

  • Lloyd

    Although i agree in a sense, It’s not really a comparison, hence the title “early thoughts”

  • matt

    I will probably be getting both due to the fact that I like both sides in terms of games. I don’t care much about graphics as long as its not distracting but I love pokemon zelda killzone uncharted and littlebigplanet oh! And don’t forget resident evil and metal gear solid which im sure both sides will get eventually. Overall I think it’ll be a stalemate as long as sony doesn’t fuck up the game titles like they did with the psp. There weren’t that many appealing games.

  • Steven

    The Ngp will cost 300 dollars and will release on January 1 2012

  • Adam

    The 3DS will come out on top.

  • Akira

    Just one thing, the 3DS does not have a screen resolution of 800×240… Its actually a rather crappier 400×240, at the same pixel density as the lower screen. I know, I have one. Its a parallax display with 2 screens overlaying each other, to give the 3D effect. However this does not provide higher resolution gaming…

  • Lloyd

    The screen offers 420×240 pixels per eye, that’s what gives the screen the bumped up spec

  • WTF?!?!

    @Liam, giddi
    Why do you say that Sony “copies”, and that only Nintendo innovates? None of the features presented by the 3DS are “innovative” in any way. 3D has been around forever. The circle pad is another form of analog stick. The cameras are sub-par, and 3D photos can only be viewed via 3DS. The AR games aren’t new, as smartphones have had games like AR Defender for a while. The graphics are below iPhone level, and the launch games are not all that great. The only thing I would consider innovative there is the Streetpass function, and even that won’t be used much unless more people buy the system. What’s so innovative about the 3DS?
    Sony doesn’t just “copy”, either. Name me a system with a touchpad on the back. Name me a system where, after making progress on your home console, you can send the game to your device, play it on-the-go, then send it back to the console and play it again having made progress while you were gone.
    Every company uses successful ideas of other companies; the 3DS has AR and a “circle pad”, while the NGP has a touch-sensitive screen. Yet, did you say that Nintendo “copied”? No. That says to me, at least, that you’re both Nintendo fanboys.

  • Max

    As a self proclaimed playstation fanboy, I say NGP. Why? Better launch games, better hardware, and no eyeball killing 3D (I mean really, if you have to take a break every hour how developed is your tech???)While 3DS has the lower price and earlier launch (and both will probs have the short battery life issue)3DS doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Their main feature is everyone’s biggest complaint!

    Mad props to Mr. WTF?!?!

  • doom

    So all NGP launch titles are ports? I like my 3ds but nothing really good out for it yet but there will be it only just started and I like Sony as well but they usually disappoint me. I also think NGP and the ps3 will likely have same releases regarding games. But only time will tell hopefully neither flops.

  • koolaidman

    3DS is alright. i have one (playing SSF4 is great) I wish they would release all the good first party games (3rd party developers are dicks lol) the library of 3ds games can only get better after e3 (im hoping for a SSB3D game) ill be getting an ngp too but the hefty price tag and all for a (in my opinion)low-tier PS3 handheld is asking a bit too much. But with the graphics and all, i guess its with it. Knowing Nintendo, they’ll probably win through first-party game sales




    WTF ?!?!?! WHAT BATTLE ? the ngp is 8 times faster from the 3ds and 32 times faster from the iphone 4 (just throwing that out there)!
    Also it supports small APIs …. can you imagine that … thats insane ! Also touch screnn plus touch sensitive back _ 2 analogs and all the regular psp buttons … thats insane ! When psp comes out and devs start porting every ps3 / xbox369 game to npg aswell and you play fucking mario version 128578374675664 or pokemon you will realise there was no battle … 3ds will get crashed ! Also how the fuck is aug reality games supose to work with a 3d screen when yu have to rn your ds all the time … in 3d yu supose to hold it steady !