Sony, the company behind PlayStation, today announced its next handheld device, codenamed NGP. What to expect? Location based entertainment, social gaming and conversion of real and virtual worlds through augmented reality.
Yet, most surprising (to me), comes the announcement that the company will grant users “freedom of choice of their preferred hardware” – making PlayStation content available for Android smartphones and tablets by the end of 2012.
PlayStation embraces Android platform
Speaking at the PlayStation Meeting 2011 in Japan
, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai announced the company's first cross platform endeavor, PlayStation Suite, which will see PS content being made available for Android smartphones and tablets. PS Suite will be a hardware-neutral game framework, based on the Android platform.
“The target platform of PS Suite is Android,” said Hirai. “Users have freedom of choice of their preferred hardware, with PS Suite providing a new framework that supports the development of games for portable devices.”
PlayStation Suite will work with Android based, “PlayStation Certified” portable devices – including mobile phones, smartphones, and tablet PCs.
“We will also launch PlayStation Certified to perform content-quality testing in order to ensure PS quality across various devices.” He added, “PlayStation Suite content is slated to be available within the next calendar year.”
If you ask me, this is excellent timing. By this time next year, most iPhone 3G and 3Gs users will be eligible to receive, or desperate to buy a new phone (alternatively, they are or so annoyed by the expanding colony of dead pixels, that they toss the device from out of the window). They'll face the choice between sticking with Apple & iOS, or trying something new and open. For this decision, the availability of more high-quality games available can only tip the scale in favour of the Android platform?
The Next Generation Portable
Assuming you don't expect your gaming console to be able to make phone calls, you might want to forget about trading in that iPhone for an Android and wait for PlayStation's latest, codenamed NGP, which will be available by the end of this year. On their blog
, the company promises that the newest addition to the family is “designed to blur the lines between interactive entertainment and reality”.
The NGP, or Next Generation Portable, will feature a 5-inch screen, a touch panel, cameras on front and rear, cameras on front and back, Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity, built-in GPS and three motion sensors, a gyroscope, an accelerometer and an electronic compass.
Social connectivity will be supplied through Live Area, which allows you to show off your trophies, see what others are doing in the game and comment on your friends' activities. Using the location-awareness features, you'll be able to see what are the most popular game title's played in the area, meet new gamers or – basics – figure out where in the city you are. And the “networked game experience” you can expect from the NGP won't just be social. Games will be closer than ever, and accessible anywhere, any time.
Speaking at the Tokyo meetup, influential video game director Hideo Kojima, said – as the NGP will be able to handle PS3 games – soon it won't matter anymore if you're in your living room or on the road. “What I'd like to realize is playing on your PS3, and when you go out, you put the game on your NGP, and when you come back home, you can once again use your PS3 and large screen TV.”