So if a whole plethora of analog sticks, cameras, touchscreens, and gyroscopes aren't what's drawing you to keep an eye on Sony's Next Generation Portable, then it's probably the same reason as the rest of us: those sexy images of PS3 games running on the small, HD screen. For all the fun that can be had from a touch interface, some gamers are just more attracted to the shiny graphics of a 'next-gen' console on a portable. Call me shallow...?
And in case you were worried that those versions of Uncharted or Metal Gear Solid 4 were mere flukes, Sony's VP of Product Development, Shuhei Yoshida, would like to ease your mind. According to him, porting games to the platform from the bigger platform is "simple and quick," easy as money-printing pie.
This was just the small bullet point on a larger interview with Edge magazine, but it still sends the mind swimming with possibilities. Isn't the NGP supposed to be an extension of the 'app store' market, full of quick one-off games or artsy adventures in 2D? Not so much, it seems. One can imagine the allure of a quick round of portable Call of Duty between meetings, or even the touchscreen-enabled possibilities within Heavy Rain, complete with Sixaxis controls.
Yoshida is quick to point out that the NGP has other uses, however: It doesn't mean that's all you can expect. My view of NGP isn't just as a platform for porting PS3 titles." That's a relief for the future of the platform - the reactions from some gamers to the NGP's graphical wonder has been tepid: if you're going to play console-level games, why not just play a console? After all, the number of folks in the US who can get the full enjoyment out of Uncharted on their regular commutes is not as high as in Japan. So this feature of the NGP may not mean the same on these shores without some more unique titles to bolster its resume.
The other worrisome factor is the cost - if the NGP can indeed run most PS3 games with only a few months of porting, then the notion of smaller chips, multiple touchscreens, and optional 3G necessarily mean that the cost will exceed a PS3... possibly by a significant margin. So in order for gamers to be tempted toward the handheld, Sony will have to unleash some pretty significant exclusives to tip the scales.
Until those exclusives get announced, however - anyone up for a rousing game of 'Which PS3 Game Would Best Fit the NGP?' My vote remains firmly with Heavy Rain!