Today has been quite a huge day for Sony, the Japanese company revealing not only the next-generation PSP, but also another very interesting initiative, called PlayStation Suite, meant to bring the whole PlayStation universe to Android devices, including here the company's future PSP Phone, most likely set to be revealed in a couple of week's time, at MWC.
And to be perfectly honest, I've been quite impressed, at least at first, with what the PSP2 (or NGP, if you prefer) has to offer, in terms of hardware configuration: hands down, the combo of a quad-core CPU with a quad-core GPU, plus the extensive controls are something to drool over.
Or, better said, would have been something to drool over, had they been released back when the PSP Go first made an appearance.
However, many things have changed in the field of mobile gaming since 2009, with games in the forms of apps for Android and iOS platforms becoming more and more interesting and lucrative, both for users and developers.
Right now, Apple's iPhone (and the iPad, to a lesser extent) is one of the most portable gaming platforms out there, being particularly favored by casual gamers, or people who want to fill up their commuting or spare time with some quick gaming.
And this is more or less the same niche the PSP2 targets, but we'd dare to say that taking on the App store will be a pretty tough call for Sony.
Sure, they'll have plenty of interesting and exclusive games, that the powerful PSP2 will be able to render perfectly, but will they find enough people willing to spend even more money on a device that will deliver only a marginally better experience than the one offered by their PlayStation Suite – enabled super-smartphone?
Practically, from where I am standing, Sony now offers not only the promise of the ultimate mobile gaming console (because that's what the PSP2 is, the device, in its current form, having no competitor in terms of power and features), but also the possibility to turn any powerful-enough Android device into a direct competitor for the NGP. Not particularly enticing for customers, is it now?
And we must also remember that there's also the Nindendo 3DS looming in the shadows, and it remains to be seen whether the cool factor brought about by its glasses-free 3D display will manage to turn it into a serious contender on the portable gaming market, worthy of its legacy.
So, to sum things up and draw some conclusions: will the PSP2 (or NGP, or whatever you might want to call it) be a huge success in terms of sales? Well, to be perfectly honest, I tend to believe that this will NOT be the case, especially since we still have to wait quite a lot before it arrives on the market, and many things will change until then.
I mean, there's plenty of time for the super smartphones and 2'nd generation tablets to already make a strong presence on the portable gaming solutions' segment, their enhanced gaming capabilities and easy access to dedicated games in the forms of apps making the PSP2 somewhat of an uber-powerful device that targets everyone and nobody in particular.
On the other hand, Sony might also market the PSP2 as an all-around portable multimedia device, one that could easily take on 5-inch Internet tablets, but, while this move might actually boost sales (well, at least to some extent), then again, this particular niche is not exactly the most popular one as far as current tablets are concerned.
Of course, hardcore fans of the PSP and serious gamers will certainly adopt the PSP2 with open-arms, as they did before with just about everything else the company had in store.
But as far as the mainstream segment is concerned, we'd dare to say that the PSP2 might ultimately turn out to be a flop, with the PlayStation Suite being Sony's true shining star and money maker.
And if you don't really agree with this conclusion, take a minute to ask yourselves, after previously considering your finances and lifestyle: what would you rather go for, an Android-running smartphone (perhaps even the PSP Phone) that supports the PlayStation Suite, but that can also deliver some extra features, or a dedicated (and expensive) gaming device?