Friday, February 18, 2011

Finally, I can write about the NGP without gushing (too much)

It's weird.  Everytime I think about the NGP, I end up being at a complete lack of words.  A few nights since its announcement, I've wanted to actually sit down and type out something coherent about it, I sit here looking at a blank screen for about half an hour before saying, "It's going to rock" does not an article make.  I mean, we know it will, if you're open to actually believe a Sony product can be good (Which a lot of people aren't willing to believe, currently!).

So, I guess I can at least try to pin down why I'm excited for it, even though it might be a little premature.

1.)  The second stick.

Now, I know I'm not alone in this, and I can certainly understand why some people might not have wanted a second nub/stick, since, theoretically, it could just promote developer laziness, which has been a problem for games on Sony consoles lately.  But where one man sees developers saying "Let's put this console game on the NGP with no portabilizing at all", I see developers going, "FINALLY, a second stick, let's make magic happen."  If not third parties, then we can at least (mostly) count on first and second parties to put some neat things on it.  Also Sega.  (Yakuza and VC plz, if you're not intending on putting VC back on PS3)

The fact that we have sticks and not nubs does raise a few questions; how will that affect the portability?  How reliable could they be?  Those are just questions that we'll have to wait for time to answer, really.  Personally, my PSP has always been in a case since I bought it, and cases will be built for the NGP specifically to accommodate it, so I'm none too worried there.  But I can see how it might be an issue for others, so let's hope there's some sort of retractable elements to the sticks or something.

2.)  Physical Media is here to stay.

Sure, I don't think anyone honestly thought the NGP would go with a DD-Only format, thanks to the PSP Go, but it certainly could have, and I would hope policies are put in place going forward to 'encourage', at the very least, Day-One Digital versions of games as well, for anyone who has embraced our Disc-less Overlords, but for the more curmudgeon-y of us who like our games to be something tangible to be felt and held, and for some of us, trade-able, this is welcome news.  Going with carts/cards is a bit of a strange way about it, but likely a good one, as it lacks the battery-draining ability of a spinning disc.

Again, for everyone that didn't believe a DD-Only approach, they thought as well that there would still be no UMDs anymore, and, well, they're right again.  This does leave those of us with UMD copies of games in a bit of a limbo; sure the NGP can play PSP games, but not the ones that are just discs, leaving the thought that a double-dipping might be necessary....for the games that can be double-dipped on, anyways.

There's probably not a lot that can be done about this, honestly; Nobody could have thought, when the PSP was being developed and eventually released, "Say, do you think maybe four years down the road or so, that all the games for this could be bought through the internet?", which means it's hard to blame anyone for the state of the PSP selection on the PSN store.  A lot of the devs could be out of business for all we know.  And some games have a legitimate reason that they're not up; Lumines for example, hit the brick wall of music licensing which could stop just about any game.  And for the ones that could be put up, but the companies just won't for whatever reason (SQUEENIX), well, there's not really a lot that can be done about that, either, considering it costs money to submit your game for PS Store purchasibility, given the QA that it has to undergo.

You would think intentionally screwing people over by not allowing them to buy your game would cast a negative light on the developers, but more often than not, anyone complaining will say that it's Sony's fault, because, well, I guess Sony has the right to do whatever it wants with other people's games?  That's the reasoning that I can figure out, I guess.  Really, people, It's not Sony's fault.  "But they should make developers put PSP games on the PS Store along with Phsyical copies!"  Yeah, because forcing people to take any extra steps/costs with a PSP game at this point would be a good idea, right?

3.)  The Touch Pads.

I admit, I was a skeptic at first when all the talk of touch pads, track pads, and the like were being tossed about.  I really had no idea what a rear touch pad could be used for, and honestly, I still don't have much more of an idea aside from possibly being used in an L2/R2 function for games that might require it.  (Which will no likely be constrewn as Watered down console ports, but bleh.  Bleh, I say!  Games are games)  There have been a few usages for it shown off, all sort of, for lack of better term, "gimmick-y" (at least, what I heard, the Uncharted game having it used for rope-climbing of all things.  Optional, even.) but if anyone has learned anything this generation, it's that some developers can take any gimmick and make something really neat of it that makes you think "Yeah, this could be rather vital going forward."

That's pretty much what I'm telling myself; at least with the front touch-screen, we have a fairly good idea on how it will be used, but the back ones are fairly untouched territory.  Hopefully it's utilized early and not allowed to fall to the wayside undeservedly.  A little hard to predict, obviously, but everyone's always so easy to take Nintendo's "innovations" at face-value, so why couldn't it apply here?

The obvious 4.) here is the Games, but we all know some of what to expect; the rest will simply be a welcome surprise and icing on the cake.


  1. What does NGP stand for, Mogs?

    I always think of the when I see it, but that ain't right.

  2. Next Generation Portable. For now, it's just a codename, but, well, it might just stick. Hard telling!

    I wouldn't be surprised if they kept NGP, but changed what it meant for the retail release.

  3. Ahh. That makes sense. "Next Gen Portable" is very codenamey, yes.