THE fight to win over mobile gamers will get serious this year after Sony tonight revealed a successor to its PlayStation Portable just two months before Nintendo launches its 3D portable games machine.
The newest PlayStation, code-named Next Generation Portable or NGP, is due to launch before Christmas and will feature a five-inch touchscreen, rear touch panel, two cameras, two joysticks, 3G internet connection and a four-core processor that promises to deliver games at up to five times the speed of its predecessor.
The new games machine will also be one of the first gadgets to feature an OLED screen that promises to be brighter, easier to view from an angle and easy on battery life.
Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director Michael Ephraim says the new mini console will offer "revolutionary" portable gaming.
"There is a lot of innovation in the NGP and it will change the way people interact with their games,'' he says.
"To have a device that will deliver PlayStation 3 graphics will also attract a lot of hardcore gamers.''
Ephraim says the NGP will replace the "not highly successful" PSPgo launched in late 2009, though the PSP-3000 would still be available for sale.
Unlike its PSPgo predecessor, the NGP will accept memory cards so users will have a choice of whether to download a game or buy it in a store. Older UMD game discs will not be compatible with the new machine, however.
While Sony did not launch a mobile phone at the Tokyo event, as many analysts tipped, the company announced a games store for Google Android smartphones called PlayStation Suite.
The Suite will launch later this year and will challenge the growing popularity of game apps, many of which are sold through Apple's App Store.
Sony Computer Entertainment president Kazoo Hirai says the company decided to adopt a mobile platform as "handheld devices are finally capable of handling content that we had in mind back in 2004".