Why I won’t buy the NGP

Update: there are LOTS of very interesting comments in reply to this article, I highly suggest people to read the various comments under the article!

Two days ago Sony revealed the NGP, PSP’s successor. The NGP is an impressively powerful portable gaming device, that will be available at the end of the year. The device looks awesome, but after giving it some thought, I think I won’t be buying it. Here are a few reasons why:

The browser will suck

The browser on the PSP sucked. It had poor flash support, memory issues, close to no javascript support… All these problems were probably because of the hardware limitations of the PSP itself but…have you seen the internet browser on the ps3? Do you like it? Youtube half works on it, and when it does work, the interface is slow as hell. Sony showed lack of ability to adapt a browser to their devices twice, I don’t see why it would be different this time. Unless they migrate to a “better” browser, maybe using Webkit (Safari), or something based on Chrome.

God knows I hate Apple, but going from the browsing experience on an iPhone/iPad to that of the PSP/PS3 is always extremely painful.

Hopefully the gyroscope + the touch screen will allow for a good “vertical” browsing kind of stuff. Otherwise the wide screen will mean more wasted space on the screen, because most sites won’t provide a “NGP enhanced” version of their site.

It will suck as a Media Player

The PSP and PS3 were advertised as not only gaming devices, but Media Centers. A machine on which you could play your videos and music easily. They both dramatically fail at that.

The psp: proprietary video format (UMD) with region locking, blocking “high def” videos in mp4 format to artificially increase the sales of UMD videos, no DivX/Xvid/ogg/… support, crappy mp3 player (abysmal playlist support, no “random play all my files” support, some perfectly fine mp3 files just won’t play, no freedom to organize your folders as you want, lack of “good” visualization plugins, no ogg support, etc…). In all fairness, one HUGE good point of the PSP mp3 player was that it played mp3s without the need for additional crapware such as iTunes for the iPod. No ebook reader (all smartphones have at least 10 of those now)

The Ps3: region locking, no support for PAL DVDs if you live in a country where NTSC is the norm, no support for divx/xvid/mkv (seriously? At least for the PSP there was the excuse of CPU power and Ram limitations…), region locking, no possibility to skip ads on DVDs/Blu rays, insanely crappy music player (same issues as the psp, bad playlist support, no possibility to play my library randomly, give me winamp dammit), region locking (did I mention this one already?).

Overall, Sony cripples their perfectly good hardware with attempts at pimping their proprietary formats, and their own stores. They don’t provide you with a way to enjoy your media files, but with a way to buy media from them. I expect the NGP to provide “rental, will work for 48h” types of videos. Fine, but clearly not what I want from a “media player”. The offer will be limited to whatever contracts Sony is able to sign, and usually for me as a foreigner in Japan, this will mean I’ll have to deal with a massive amount of pain to get my French or American movies to work.

The NGP probably won’t have a convenient TV output, unless you pay for some super expensive hardware accessory that won’t even give you HD.

It will be expensive.

Sure, we’re all excited now, as this is clearly the most powerful portable device we’ve ever heard of. Except, it will be released in 10 months. In 10 months, will we accept to pay the same price as a smartphone for something that does less?Will you pay a 3G subscription for something that’s not a phone? Technically, the NGP will compete against the 3DS (which will be way cheaper and will have a larger library of games by the end of 2011),  tablets (that will handle medias – ebooks, movies, music – way better), and smartphones (on which the GPS allows you to find where you are and where you want to go, rather than what games are being played in Shibuya…).

By the end of 2011, it will be easy to find a 3DS for 200$. Smartphones can go up to 600$ but the price go down when you take a carrier subscriptions. I believe that by the end of 2011, some tablets will have most of the technical specs of the PSP, for a similar price, and less crapware. Sony officials said the NGP would be sold at an “affordable price that’s appropriate for the handheld gaming space”, and my current guess is that it will be more than 400$.

The games will not be as good as you expect, because your expectations will change in 10 months.

Is that me, or does playing a high quality graphics hardcore game make no sense on a 5 inch screen? I’d rather play an awesome game on the PS3(PS4?), in my couch, on my 40 inches TV, than the same game in direct sunlight, in a crowded train,  on a 5 inches screen. In general, People who play action games in public areas are disturbing other people, and not even playing in good conditions. Portable gaming for hardcore games is an ersatz of the “real thing”, and I’m sure that if it weren’t for “exclusive” content, people would rather play in good conditions on a big screen with better graphics. My point is that as soon as the NGP is released, the PS4, or the XBOX 3, or whatever, will put its graphics to shame, and our feeling of the NGP will be the same as it was for the PSP: it looks good, but it’s only a portable device after all.

Its hardware will be under-used

How many games will be using the back touchpad? Are you ready to pay for a 3G subscription that doesn’t give you a phone? Are you ready to give up on skype just because Sony doesn’t want to piss Docomo off? Do you want your GPS to give you a map of popular games in Shibuya, rather than the route for your train commutation or the closest restaurants in the area? Are you ready to get a modern computer that cannot open a text file because it doesn’t make sense from a business point of view?

And guess what? Sony will have an army of DRMs and lawyers to make sure that people who try to make actual use of the hardware will get into trouble.

The 3DS will be cheaper and have a larger library of games

By the end of 2011, you’ll find a 3DS for 200$, and it will have much more games. If you’re lucky, the NGP will cost 400$ at that time.


As I re-read this article, I surely sound a bit bitter. Sony isn’t doing anything different than the PSP or the PS3, so why would I complain? Well here’s the thing. The PSP was my first gaming console ever. (I had an atari 2600 but that barely counts, does it?). I come from a PC background, where it makes perfect sense to be able to code your own scripts, batch files, organize your games the way you want, look at the inside of the OS, interact with it, download an play with freeware or indie games… The limitations and crapware one can find on the PSP and the PS3 really pissed me off over time (I bought the PS3 because it was advertised as a great Media device, which it is not!). The fact that Sony retaliates on people who are trying to enhance the experience (by bypassing the software limitations added on top of perfectly good hardware) pisses me off even more. They convince you you are buying powerful hardware, while you are actually renting it, and can only use 10% of it. In that kind of “ball and chain” scheme, thank you, but Apple does it better. And god knows I hate Apple.

Sony brings a massive hardcore-gamers oriented device. Making a good game for the NGP will be costy, so these games will be expensive. Nintendo brings a simple machine with a killer feature (the 3D), and always the same games that are cheap to develop and fun to play with. History repeats itself. Just like the PSP versus the NDS, the NGP will have smaller shares, will get less and less devs interest (for pure development cost VS benefits reasons), and I don’t see how the awesome hardware or the “social network” features will help with that…

Then again, I’m not an analyst, and I’m famous for making very bad hardware purchase decisions :P

  1. 0M9H4X’s avatar

    the NGP is aid to be released in europe end of 2k12 -.-
    and as usual, its going to be at least 60$ more expensive than in the US, just like everything from Sony (guitar hero, ps3, psp…).
    yeah great, i really DONT look forward to my purchase.


  2. Ricardo Gros’s avatar

    my toughs


    Psp vs ds:

    Nintendo clearly won the fight on this one for 1 Major reason!

    The Ds system had a tech breakthrough that made the system unique. (touch screen) and their unique interactive games. The psp with all the power could not have that.. therefore one very simple thing happens

    the buyers are parents for kids and people from 18 to 40 that have their own money.

    Parents will always prefer to buy the NDS for their more Kid focused animated games.
    And from the others if there are 20 buyers 10 would probably buy BOTH systems…

    for example i did that.. i own both systems…

    the NGP and the 3ds are going the same way.. breakthrough..
    People will want to see the 3d effects and the ones that want NGP will buy it also…

    Same thing happened on Wii…


  3. kirby1997’s avatar

    Wow people say the 3DS hurts your eyes, try reading all the comments on a PSP just before you go to sleep.

    Night guys.


    1. flayer’s avatar

      haha thats what im doing right now on my psp brite, but its still pretty bad even though the brightness is turned all the way down.


  4. iam nice’s avatar

    no “random play all my files” support,
    try shuffle


    1. wololo’s avatar

      Shuffle doesn’t work how I want it to work. It only shuffles files within one directory, not my entire library


      1. cabbrick1243’s avatar

        Make a playlist of all your files then,
        any media palyer should be able to do this, but Sony’s Media Go is the best for it (duh)


        1. wololo’s avatar

          True, it works that way, but I still don’t think it’s very convenient.


          1. lol’s avatar

            i read everything and for the most part everything you said is crap the media works perfect, shuffle goes through all the folders… i rate my media experience on my ps3 and pspgo far higher than my pc which i only use to prot media to my ps3 and go. i expect the ngp will be 300$ at most it’s only logical. btw plz don’t argue it will only make you look like an idiot since i know all of my systems inside and out.

  5. cabbrick1243’s avatar

    “God knows I hate Apple”
    Apple = Big Brother + Brainwash
    Hell Yea!!


  6. cabbrick1243’s avatar

    Lol this reminds me,
    I was looking for an Xbox 1 with the upgraded ram,
    or one of the friendtech DreamX xboxes
    anyone have one?


  7. flayer’s avatar

    wololo made some really good points about this thing, i agree with some of them, but when i found out about its capabilities the only thing i thought about was the new possibilities for homebrews and emulators. the back touch screen could be used for a ds emulator and the front one for an iphone simulator. it could also easily handle psp, ps1, ps2, ps3, gamecube, wii, xbox, and xbox 360 emulators.


    1. flayer’s avatar

      and well, im no major homebrew developer(yet) but im going to have some fun screwing around with the hardware on this thing, so i guess it wont be completely under-used. the only problem is sony, with all their likely improvements in security/stability it’ll be lucky if there’s ever a way to hack this thing. maybe datel or someone can make a modchip.


  8. asmith906’s avatar

    1. no device i know plays every video format face it sometimes you’re going to have to convert something or get vlc on it.

    2. it would be stupid for sony not to have an updated browser plus with a quad core there’s pretty good chance it might support flash.

    3.we dont know the price but my guess is it will be between $300 -$350 i give you this one it will be expensive.

    4.Why cant we have both casual and hardcore games on the system. Just because you dont like something doesnt mean other people dont like it. I dont really see a need to limit it and plus with the playstation suite i can see android games coming to ngp as well as the phone so you could potentially get your cheap games like angry birds played with a proper touch screen.

    5.sony isnt advertising this as a text reader, no one said you had to get 3g, how do you know what the gps is going to be like, and surprise sony is a business that is not doing that well right now. suddenly as they start to break even on the ps3 it gets hacked open (mostly just for piracy using otheros as an excuse) it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to do something to protect their system from people who want everything for free. People say pirates wouldnt have bought the game any way but if i spent 3 years of my life working on a project i wouldnt want people who have no intention of buying but rather stealing to be able to play it.

    5. the device is still a long ways off why would they show off all their games now and then when e3 comes around show the same games that doesnt make any sense.

    6. 3ds is just and upgraded ds with 3d effect that can be turned off. meaning it wont have any significant impact on the games. it was to be able to run in a “2d” environment Also the 3ds no glasses 3d screen if newer tech so no you wont be finding this thing for $200 most likely you will see the price jacked up by local stores just like the wii was.

    7. the reason the psp doesn’t have as many games is because it is so easy to pirate that devs don’t see any reason to develop for it. why spend money on developing a game for a platform if your not gonna make any retuns on your investment.

    8. i hear a lot about how sony should open up hardware for everybody. but no one makes a suggestion on how they should do that and be able to prevent rampant piracy and online cheating at the same time.

    9. also you forget this thing is going to have a portable version of call of duty with actual good graphics which sells in america and monster hunter which just sold like 4 million in japan and it has analog sticks. Also devs have been able to port games from ps3 to ngp relatively quick so that should cut down on development time.

    you would have been happier getting an ipod for your media needs and psp for your gaming. I guess i’m less bitter because i have the best of both worlds.

    Also off topic i just beat persona 3 portable anybody know any good rpgs i should try next


    1. wololo’s avatar

      In reply to some of your points:

      5. you are making a dangerous confusion between independent devs (sometimes called “hackers”) and people who use their software for illegal things (pirates).
      I agree with you that most people will use such hacks for illegal things, it doesn’t make the builder of these tools responsible for people’s illegal behavior.

      I personally spent the last 3 years of my life developing a free and open source game, which represent thousands of hours of work. I’ve been joined by dozens of professionals who helped for free, just because they liked the concept. Your argument with spending time developing a piece of software and being pissed of when it makes no money has, unfortunately, no impact on me.

      If you had worked in the video game industry, you would know that the people actually creating the game (the artists and the devs) are the bottom of the food chain in this industry, getting very low salary compared to their work. The piracy excuse is very convenient, because it allows to increase the price of the games, reduce the salaries, put some guilt on the customers, when the video game industry has been one of the most money-making businesses in the past years…

      Finally, Sony might not be doing so well, agreed, but that’s because their business strategy sucks, not because of piracy. Last time I checked, the Playstation division was one of the only money-making sections at Sony.

      7. How do you explain the success of the DS and the iPhone, as well as the insane sales they do on the software side, when these 2 devices have much more piracy than the PSP?

      8. User mode would have been more than enough for me on the PSP. I wouldn’t even have looked into exploiting it if I had user mode access from the start.
      OtherOS was more than enough for most PS3 devs (remember how the only hack on the PS3 at that time was a hack to activate the GPU acceleration on Linux?)


      1. asmith906’s avatar

        i agree with you on most of your points but you probably have a job but if the devs font make any money they cant afford to give their game away. even though i do agree that wagic is an awesome piece of homebrew. just wish it was a little bit more streamlined.

        games are expensive to make because they take so many resources to make them. whether games should cost $60 is another story. at least we’re not paying n64 prices.

        if the part about the linux part is true than someone at sony should get fired for removing that. talk about a screw up. most people dont wouldnt want to format their hard drive to install linux so sony actually made piracy easier.would love to get xbmc on pc

        also iphone and ds pander to the casual crowd which the majority might not know how to jailbreak their device plus you also have to factor in the impulse buys when people sees apps for a dollar.

        as for the ds it’s sold so many that the piracy kinda counters itself out.

        also since the playstation brand is the only thing making money it only makes sense from a business standpoint that they would try hardest to protect it.

        btw i’m actually looking to get in the game industry i just dont know if i wanna do art or code. trying to figure out which one to go to school for. oh if you dont mind me asking i would love to know how you got into coding


        1. wololo’s avatar

          I got into coding through school (engineering school). I am myself not in the Video Game business (not a good place to be for programmers IMO, unless you’re an independent) but lots of my friends are programmers in video game companies.

          By the way, one very important thing, I am not at all against people making money with software (making this precision because I am not especially in favor of “open source and free only”), and I think it is very important that Sony protect their business and have it flourish. I just don’t like the way they are doing it :)


    2. Icsant3’s avatar

      I think what will “scare” most casual gamers away s the size, OH MY GOD the size, a casual gamer that just wants to have fun in short tim, won’t buy a giant gaming system tha doesn’t fit in his pocket, while a3ds, iphone or smartphone does.
      On the other side i think the ps suite is really a god innovation, not only for phones but also for tablets(but only if they use google checkout too, because it works for a lot of countries)


  9. Michael’s avatar


    Hi again Wololo, it’s funny that you’r point of view is such as close to mine, except that as you said: You’re a developer i would very much to be that, but my only dev’s are limited to video templates xD (almost good may i say :P) but well im very geeky when to PC’ Hardware reffers to xD i enjoy build riggs and use technology has a hobbie that’s why i hate apple as you said: “evereone buys their product like sheeps” and thats true and the sad thing of this its like if i would go out and buy everything that say’s X or Y on it, the very very bad thing of all this is that a big part of the people that buy “apples” does it only for status its like you’re “out” because you got an 15$ mp3 and i “in” becouse i got my billion Gen. Ipod touch :S, last week i see a couple guys at a store called PCOnline very nice and cheap they only sell ipads and a couple mac’s but more things from HP or Asus, a couple guys like i said where saying that linux it’s for “attemps of hackers that don’t have any knowledge of hacks,software and more” and windows was for “people who give a damn while they have a pc to show off”…damn right and whats whit mac :S just a computer company?, they where sayng about the “faults” of 7 and things like that not that i was on the conversation but i was waiting for an attendent and he was with those guys, then they saw me asking for an Motherboard (im changin of pc xD so yeah im very strict with myself on what to buy.) and they said me, why dont you grab a macbook or an mac AIO in the sotre (dont remember the model) i said to them…well it’s just that
    1: im a windows user most of the thins i do i like to do them on the big W, i have used mac already whit After effrect very nice yeah but…im more like the type of people that like to know what’s inside the pc that know that its a designed pc to “match my requirements” and that not only applys to mac.
    2: im a gamer maybe not the best maybe i suck on some games but i love to play Call of Duty United offensive and black ops on pc i have like 40/50 Games on the pc (of course i got 2 psp 1go and a Fat, a ps2 and a ps3) and i don’t know how is to play (install i know the WASD it’s the Fkin WASD) in mac, neither what game will work.
    3:Some of my fav apps to my work (cyberlink media expresso,vegas 10 and Xilisoft Video converter) use the Ati stream and as far as i know theres no suppor neither from Ati/AMD or Nvidia on mac.
    4: i consider thay buy something from apple it’s like go to buy something and then whn you show it to somebody they will told to you…men…you know…thats very expenssive my pc costed a 1/5 the cost of your’s…and has the triple performance…i would hate if that happens to me…that strange feling of being rape from somebody indirectly.
    and finally 5: i don’t see any advantage on an mac to a pc. Interface..i use windowsblinds and it looks the same as snow leoppard, performance i use an optimizer like tuneup or install an unatended version of windows and so i can continue.

    besides that and as final tought…Pc’s wiith windows may have viruses,errors,BSOD, and other,they are the most used because bla bla and bla…but you can take everything that i said before and the cannot be compare with a sad mac icon…a BSOD it’s a motivational poster compared to a Sad Mac. xD

    well thats just a little opinion once again i said sorry for my very bad english…i will use bing next time…i heard somewhere its a little better than google translate xD…

    greettings Wololo..damn i wrote this on my optimus…DAMN ONSCREEN LITTLE KEYBOARD! xD


    1. cabbrick1243’s avatar

      Hey I agree with your opinion, however I run Linux boxes most of the time due to stability, protection, knowing wtf is going on, and speed. I know that its not the best gaming platform, but thats why a Dual boot with Windows and Linux is nice. Mac’s gaming experience is about as crappy as Linux’s, but both have come a long way. I heard that the predecessor to the X server is under development, which is supposed to be able to handle 3d flawlessly.


  10. georgeka’s avatar

    When PSP2 finally comes out, and a big hit, we’ll all gonna droll :p
    But still i’m gonna stick to my psp3000 for a long while.

    I like michael’s post, it’s so meee :D


    1. Michael’s avatar

      hahhahaah XD thanks buddy xD


  11. Stone Fan’s avatar

    I prefer to buy a 3DS???


  12. crookedmouth’s avatar

    While I agree with much of the article, I’m sure I will still want one, but like every gaming device I’ve bought recently, my purchase will be 4-5 years after it’s release. I’m not paying $399 for a handheld or whatever it will be.

    Also, by then hopefully I will see how the OLED screens are holding up. I want things I buy to last. I still use and enjoy my GBA for instance. A touchscreen OLED no less.

    Why did they have to throw every feature at this thing? For me and the kind of games I like to play, the dual-analogs will be perfect but I think what made the NDS touchscreen work for me is that it is a separate screen. It can be a mouse or a keyboard and so on.

    One of the only gripes I have with the article is the idea that an Atari 2600 doesn’t count as a console! :) The Atari VCS is an elegant machine, yes simplistic but it’s like saying you owned a VW Beetle but that doesn’t count as a car. :)

    Not that I would ever do this but another thing I love about the VCS is that we could most likely line up 100 PS3s and 360s and use the VCS to smash each one then plug it in and play a couple of my all-time favorite games. Heck perhaps I could disable those machines with one of the cartridges and 200 or so well placed blows.

    Perhaps I am old fashioned but I just wish that they built consoles to last, so in 30 years we could play PS3 or 360 games on original hardware. I’m dubious that is going to be possible.


    1. wololo’s avatar

      Apologies for bashing the 2600, that was just a joke, I loved this console.

      I still have loads of awesome memories playing games on that console when I was a kid. Just very recently did I learn that the games I enjoyed the most on the 2600 were actually homebrews, or rather “unofficial” games that were sold without Atari’s agreement. Oh the irony :)


      1. cabbrick1243’s avatar

        Lol I have my dad’s old two 2600 sitting in the closet.
        They need new video adapters.
        Wololo, I’m a novice, and do admire all homebrew work (especially the amazing XBMC for the Xbox 1)
        I wanted to learn a good programming language, such as C, but what would be the best way to go about doing this?


        1. i00i’s avatar

          use Google, best for programming knowledge.


  13. IGOR PSP 3001 TN HEN C 6.20 BRASIL’s avatar

    before a read the post “Why I won’t buy the NGP” by wololo i will buy a 3DS


  14. COOLDUDE3000’s avatar

    damn why wololo is so smart!!!! ???


    1. cabbrick1243’s avatar

      He stayed in school and ate his green vegetables :0


  15. cabbrick1243’s avatar

    I have another question for you wololo
    Suppose that Sony gets it act together,
    makes this device unhackable (or at least for a long time),
    fixes video and mp3 playback, and is around the same price as the 3DS
    would you consider purchasing this? I believe the device does have a
    large amount of potential.


  16. Drew Martell’s avatar

    The NGP seems like a worth-while upgrade in my opinion. A true touch screen along with a high res display, downloadable content only, and dual analog sticks. Sure you may hate apple but I use my iOS devices on a daily basis. I can’t say that about my PSP. Will the NGP replace the iPod/iPad, probably not. But Sony is definitely going in the right direction. I just hope the thing has decent battery life.


    1. cabbrick1243’s avatar

      Its more OSX that I was talking about. The iOS devices are pretty good, but also pricey. I dislike the format of the music storage on the os or the lock ins to iTunes. Apple can make some decent (properitary) hardware, but their software is next to garbage. Safari? ITunes? All optomized for their Macs, which like Micheal said are mostly status symbols. The iPone was amazing when it was new, but many manufacturers have better options. The Ipod Touch Is still the best, and most expensive mp3 player, but for its sofware ways and price, I will stick to my Sansa Fuze v2 with RockBox.


  17. Ultima’s avatar

    The PSP has a ok Media player as well as the PS3 but who the hell cares about region locked DVDs get yourself a Pal-TV and System otherwise don’t have one at all.

    Sure the internet sucks but since when was the PSP a Laptop or PDA?

    how exactly do you know what the Market is going to be like for a System that hasn’t been released yet?
    now being that this new PSP system is said to have Hardware that matches the Ps3 counterpart it may be able to share more games like Assasin’s Creed Gta series(if there are any new ones in the future). ect…

    the 3DS would be a weaker Portable Wii almost especially since it basicly is the same hardware but with the NVidia Graphic Card and 3D camera(useless just like it was a a feature for the PSP).

    The thing is that these newer system are starting to have more and more features each new one is almost as useless as the last hopefully this new psp will bring something new thats worth the money over the older models.

    However Nintendo has alot of catching up to do mainly the Wii and its hardware limits.


  18. i00i’s avatar

    PSP’s battery life sucks :( (that is the only regret I have for buying a PSP) and NGP will only have 3 hrs battery life, same with 3DS.
    I would rather buy a DSi.


  19. kain’s avatar

    @wololo, I believe you are wrong about a few things you say about the PS3. You said the PS3 does not support divx/xvid/mkv. Which it does support. I personally watch movies in these formats all the time ( which I download straight from the PS3 web browser.) I they don’t play on your PS3 I would have to ask did you activate the divx player on your PS3? Also you can set up your PS3 to stream video and music from your computer. I personally use the PS3 to stream video from a number of sites with the PS3 web browser and have no problems. However I do wish Sony would update the browser and flash player as they are out of date. Also a divx web player would be a great addition. I hope you can update your article to reflect this information. P.S. I am writing this comment using my PS3.


    1. MonkeyJacket’s avatar

      mkv´s? MKVtoVOB maybe..?
      avi´s yes
      but yeah your right i use my PS3 almost every day if i´m not gaming i´m watching a movie since the ps3 has great Upscaling so watching avi (or DVD) on a 1080p tv isn´t really that bad.
      I use my PS3 as a mediacenter with great gaming capability


· 1 · 2


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>