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Round Two: NGP vs 3DS

ngpvs3ds.jpg

Obviously not willing to let Nintendo run away with the handheld market again, Sony has revealed their new PSP, called the NGP. Awkward name aside, it's one slick-looking piece of hardware. But comparing the NGP to the 3DS is a little difficult, given how I've yet to get my hands on Sony's new portable, and neither system has actually been released.

The one thing Sony really has going for it is the fact that the NGP is an extremely sexy unit, and it's easy to show just how impressive the graphics are. The 3DS can only be experienced in person. Videos of the games can show the quality of the graphics, but the 3D effect that is its real selling point can only be experienced in person. Of course, just as with the PSP, Sony has one-upped Nintendo in terms of graphics. The 3DS was impressive, but the NGP is quite gorgeous. They're claiming PS3 quality, which I would tend to doubt, but what I've seen so far looks awfully close!

My concern with the NGP is the fact that Sony seems to have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. Nintendo added an analog nub, gyroscope and accelerometer to the 3DS, but Sony has added an extra analog stick, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a compass, a touch screen, a rear touch pad, and cameras to the NGP. It all seems like a bit much, especially the rear touch screen. Certainly, developers could get creative with so many different control possibilities, but it'll probably take a little while to get to that point. And in the end, I feel like that rear touch screen isn't going to get a whole lot of love from third-parties. I know Sony's catchphrase is "It only does everything," but maybe making their systems do "everything" isn't as important as maybe doing one or two things really, really well.

I'm also a little curious about the 3G support, wondering Sony will offer their own wireless subscription service or partner with someone else, like Verizon. Hopefully the 3G won't cost extra. Both Sony and Nintendo are talking some big talk about how they're revolutionizing the multiplayer experience, letting you seek out opponents and play with people both near you and around the world... but until we see it in actual use, it's hard to tell how much of it will actually play out as they've intended.

The 3DS is backwards-compatible with the standard DS games, but the NGP can't play all those UMD's you've got laying around. On the plus side, Sony promises the NGP will let you download and play any number of PSP and PS1 games available in the PlayStation Store, so that creates quite a lot of games available at launch. This will be a very good thing if the NGP launch library is as small as the PSP's was. The 3DS is currently only going to have Game Boy games available to download and play from the Virtual Console, which is pretty lame. Why can't it also play GBA, NES and SNES games? For that matter, it should be able to play N64 games, too!

Nintendo's going to have a head start, with the 3DS coming out at the end of March, so Sony's going to have to play catch-up. There's no price point or release date yet, but they'll have to price it competitively, probably in the $299 range, is my guess, and have it out by Christmas. I'm certainly interested, but it's probably not going to be a day-one purchase for me like the 3DS. At least not as it stands right now. As a 3D nerd, the 3DS is instantly appealing to me, regardless of how many games are available at launch. But I'm not biased, I swear. The NGP looks great, too (awkward UI aside). I just remember buying my PSP at the midnight launch and playing Wipeout and Untold Legends for a while before it pretty much turned into a movie player. That's been my main problem with Sony's systems since the PS2. My PSP was primarily a movie player until I got my iPod Touch, and my PS3 is currently a Blu-Ray player. Hopefully by E3, Sony will have some playable games so I can get a better feel for it. Because as awesome as the system is, it's the games that are really going to sell it.

17 Comments

smallvizier said:

On handhelds, I can't see past Nintendo's lineup of games. Third parties have put out some great stuff on the DS, and I've sunk countless hours into Elite Beat Agents, Phoenix Wright and Sonic. I also know the PSP2 will host clones of other time-sinks like Brain Training and All-Time Classics.

But a handheld wouldn't be the same for me without Advance Wars, Mario, and the maddening promise that someday there might be a Pokemon sequel worthy of the name. What can Sony bring to compete with those?

Drand said:

I totally agree with smallvizir. It's all about the lineup for me and Sony's lineup is full of games that will have been out for 1-3 years. I don't feel that you can properly call something a "launch title" if it was already released on another system.

*yawn*

why bother creating a war? such tedium.

Merbear said:

I thought the back had a touch 'pad' not a touch 'screen'. Personally, I think that would be great! With the DS you need to take a hand off of the unit to use the touch screen, but with a touch pad on the back of the NGP you could still hold it with two hands, keep your thumbs on the analog sticks and manipulate the touchpad on the back with your fingertips. Sweet!

Wootini said:

Merbear, you're right. Sorry. I meant to say touch PAD. Fixed. Still seems weird to me, though. You can't see where you're touching...

Natebo said:

I think it's gonna be considerably more expensive. Remember how much the PS3 was when it came out? This is a PS3 in your hand plus more.

At this point, I am leaning more towards picking up the NGP over the 3DS. Just my opinion as I have never really cared for the Pokemon games, and the gimmick of 3D does nothing for me either. If I did pick up a 3DS, I would probably never turn on the 3D switch...

brandonjd said:

I am personally leaning towards the NGP. I see new gameplay opportunities with it, where with the 3DS, you basically are getting the a slightly more powerfull DSi with a 3D slider that most people will turn to OFF after a week or so.

The back pad could lead to some interesting control options. And it can definitely lead to games that could only be on the NGP. Having access to two lines of games is also a plus, being able to play native NGP games and Playstation Suite games made for phones.

3G is also a pretty big selling point. The problem with the last generation of portables is that even though multiplayer was available, wifi isnt everywhere to make it practical. But 3g pretty much is everywhere.

If it is under 300, and I believe it will be, I am sold.

NaviFairy said:

I think the back touch pad could lead to some interesting gameplay, but it also could make the system very uncomfortable to hold. If the system is bigger and heavier than the current PSP, than holding one side while you pinch both the touch screen and touch panel (which was demonstrated with the game Little Deviants) could be very awkward. Not to mention that just holding the system normally your fingers will rest on the back touch panel. I know they put those grip groves in the side, but they aren't exactly in a place where my fingers rest when I'm holding a handheld.

Other than that, I'm excited by the hardware, but wary of the fact that the only announced games are ports.

brandonjd said:

Based on what I have heard from Kotaku, It doesnt feel very heavy, about on par with existing PSPs. They didnt specify whether it weighed as much as the original, or as light as the 3000.

AJ said:

The 3DS and the NGP cater to 2 completely different audiences. I feel like the Nintendo handheld games feel really shallow. Maybe I'm crazy, but I did enjoy some of the original ideas way back in the day of the color and Advance, but each time I get a game from a franchise I love (be it Zelda, Valkyrie Profile, or Golden Sun), I've only been hugely disappointed on the story depth.

I think Wootini is right in that Sony systems try to boost their appeal through offering different media platforms on one system as opposed to really letting the gaming elements shine.

As a system, I am much more likely to get the NGP. For me, I actually really did like a lot of the games that came out for the PSP partially because they port lots of great games I've either always wanted on a handheld (Final Fantasy Tactics) or just never got to play and are impossible to find now (Valkyrie Profile).

Sure, I'm a bit of an RPG nut, and since Square-Enix, Atlus, and other Japanese rpg developers/publishers seem to cater more toward Sony, that's certainly influencing me. I have a DS, but I rarely find myself playing it- only when certain titles really pull me in (which is honestly usually pokemon... I did pick up the latest Golden Sun though and it's great nostalgia).

But as I have a general distaste for apple products, I'll probably pick the NGP up. It's nice to have a portable console + mp3 player + portable browsing system (will be great to have on a college campus during breaks, instead of lugging out my laptop just to check my e-mail or something) and the graphics potential means we may see some other much bigger titles coming to the NGP.

While I guess I just don't have a strong enough desire for a low battery life mini 3D system as others might, I certainly recognize that the 3DS will likely better explore the potential of gaming platforms.

Also, while we're on the subject. It's NOT a Touch Screen on the front. It's a "touch-sensitive" screen.


It's like saying Water-resistant vs Waterproof.

Or comparing the screen of your bank's ATM that you can touch to your iPhone. They don't even compare and you don't get the control and nuance you get from a proper screen.

Of course, fanboys will call it a Touchscreen just to drive up false comparisons and claim they have what Nintendo did when they actually don't.

MegaLeg said:

Uuuuh, I am pretty sure anything under 350 is wishful thinking. Unless they take a hit on the system at launch and make the money back later, I think we will see a 500 dollar system. Between Sony's comment that "consumers are willing to pay more for a 'premium product'" and that the only comment on the price was 'it will be under 600 dollars' I am certain it will be. And be aware, if an iphone cant download angry birds on a 3G connection, I don't think you will be downloading games and playing online on the go with NGP. At best, you could stream movies and maybe IM. And no company is going to give away 3G, especially if it would be so heavily relied upon. And don't forget about batteries. If (and this is a big IF) the NGP's battery can equal the 3DS battery life, no doubt it will be a very big batteryand very expensive.

Preordered 3DS, Cosmo Black ;)

In terms of the system itself, I would be faaaaar more interested in the NGP, hands down...I honestly don't think the 3DS will be that much of an improvement on the current version.. The 3D aspect, which is just up Nintendo's alley :P, seems like a bit of a gimmick to me at this point...I'm really not that interested in the 3D, and I would much rather have a more powerful system than a 3D gimmick.

However, there is another big aspect to consider when deciding between the two systems: Games. While I find myself very compelled to buy the NGP simply for the amazing system itself, I have very little interest in the games that would be put out for it. I mean there's Final Fantasy....and for me, that's pretty much it..
The 3DS, however, has many many more games I would find myself interested in. Super Mario variations, including Mario Karts, Paper Mario, and the Mario 64 game - whatever type of game that even is. There's Pokemon, Dragon Quests, Zelda games, possibly Donkey Kong...Need I go on?? For me, Pokemon alone is reason enough to purchase the 3DS, but it really comes down to the individual, and what kind of games they're into.

Either way, I think both systems will sell wonderfully, I have no idea who will come out on top though oO.

Nevil said:

On PSP Vs DS , PSP Had better graphic great multimedia system and so better display monitor and DS had noting but tuch screen and buttry life time (You can change the battry to 4400mah and win this one too)AND NOW ,NGP have DEFENETLY GREATER Graphic , Greater tuch system and some more controle stuff ,and mor powerfull DISPLAY ,and this time 3DS have nothing but 3D Tecnology.....oOPS 3D display is not a new tecnology, its for mor than 40 years old tecnology and unsucsesfull one ,whay ? coz you can`t play mor time whit 3D pictures you will had hard headage whit that this is whay sony did not used this junk system (NGP`s Hardware allready have this ability).and if you want by one console and play games of both console By a NGP and download the emulator of 3DS for it LOL.

Brennan said:

I hate that everything has turned into a gimmick. The 3ds will make their games 3d and other than that, nothing is different from the ds.
The ngp also try's to be gimmicky with all it's crap! I don't need touch screens or motion sensors or gyroscopes! Who wants to be spinning around in public, playing their videogames!

Lunias said:

@ Drand:
"Sony's lineup is full of games that will have been out for 1-3 years."
Are you attempting to incite war or something? Looking at the 3DS's launch-day lineup, I see remakes of Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Street Fighter listed as the best "new" games on the lineup. Excuse me for asking, but aren't all these remakes of old favorites? This is compared to the NGP's remakes of, I believe, 5 out of 18 games, as opposed to the 3DS's 4 or 5 out of 20. That's not a big enough difference for anybody to use it as an anti-Sony or anti-Nintendo .point. Besides, who wouldn't want to go back to their roots and play the best games created on new systems that work better and are portable?

@ NaviFairy:
Sony has announced 5 ports for the system; the rest are legitimate titles. Uncharted isn't the same as it is on the PS3; it's a new story, and a new game. Of course, if the 3DS was getting a Smash Bros port, would anybody complain? I think I'd cry with joy.

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Recent Comments

Lunias on Round Two: NGP vs 3DS: @ Drand: "Sony's lineup is full of games that will have been out for 1-3 years." Are you attempting to...

Brennan on Round Two: NGP vs 3DS: I hate that everything has turned into a gimmick. The 3ds will make their games 3d and other than that,...

Nevil on Round Two: NGP vs 3DS: On PSP Vs DS , PSP Had better graphic great multimedia system and so better display monitor and DS had...

Ethan Langton on Round Two: NGP vs 3DS: In terms of the system itself, I would be faaaaar more interested in the NGP, hands down...I honestly don't think...

MegaLeg on Round Two: NGP vs 3DS: Uuuuh, I am pretty sure anything under 350 is wishful thinking. Unless they take a hit on the system at...

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