Think you are excited about Sony's upcoming portable, the NGP? You're not alone. Game developers are apparently totally jazzed about it, too. And the NGP might not only change the way you play games, but the way video games are made.
"NGP is a developer's dream," a developer speaking under anonymity told website Eurogamer. "Sony is finally doing the things developers have been crying out for for years." Sony, it seems, recently held a meeting for game developers in London, outlining that the NGP's first year would be directed at core games, while its second year would be focused on "hardcore and teens". Sony will apparently expand to a wider audience after that.
What developers have been crying out for is the ability to take games they'd made for the PS3 and quickly (and easily) put them on Sony's portable platform. And with the NGP, it sounds like they can do just that.
During the NGP press event last week in Tokyo, game developers like Konami, Sega and Capcom showed that they could quickly churn out NGP-ready footage and praised just how straight forward that was. While some of the footage looked great (Metal Gear Solid IV), some did not (Lost Planet 2). That, of course, could be due to how much time was spent preparing the footage and is no way a fair assessment of what the machine can do.
Everything, it sounds, has been streamlined with the NGP. Supposedly a PS3 development kit takes 3 hours to get up and running, while the NGP's apparently only takes 20 minutes.
While the NGP development kits have been in select game studios for over a year, Sony is now sending out the units which will have "the final" graphics processing unit in it. During our hands-on with the NGP, Kotaku was able to check out the machine's touch pad, and Eurogamer's developer source says that it is possible to program up to six points of multi-touch.
"Sony has made it completely developer-centric this time," the source added. "[The development kit] is really simple to plug in and use. It opens direct in Windows Explorer and you can see all systems on a network — so you could, for example, update the firmware of multiple NGPs at once."
"They want us to do cross-platform," said the source, adding that game developers have a much easier time submitting their games for the PlayStation Network and NGP. The developers at the meeting were also apparently told, "All games at launch available on flash [the physical storage medium] would also be on PSN."
However, the developer source tells Eurogamer that Sony does not want the exact same game on the PS3 and the NGP, that there "has to be a reason for the NGP title". So, ideally, the source says that there will be "interactivity" between the PS3 and the NGP versions, with NGP-only features.
When developers at the meeting apparently raised the issue of the rumored "cloud" saving, which would help gamers switch easily between the PS3 and NGP, the company apparently would not confirm it. Sony also supposedly touched on the social networking promise of the NGP, that could use cameras and augmented reality.
From what the insider tells Eurogamer, it sounds as though there will be a gap between the launch of the NGP and its 3G version. At yesterday's developer presentation, the Wi-Fi version was listed as "2011", while the 3G version was "Holiday 2011".
If the game developers are on board (and it sounds like they are), then gamers can hopefully look forward to a steady stream of video games.
Kotaku is reaching out to Sony for confirmation and will update should the company comment.
New NGP details emerge at private event PSP2 News [Eurogamer.net]