Ever since the first PSP was released, many people (myself included) have looked at the great sized screen and nice resolution and wanted it to be touch screen! Well now it will be with the PSPs successor, the PSP2 (codename NGP = Next Gen PSP).

But it doesn't stop there. The back of the PSP2 will also be touch sensitive, so you will be able to manipulate things on the screen from behind. In addition it also has the 6-axis control system from the PS3's controller, and it now has 2 real analogue sticks, not nubs.

Here a demo video of the PSP2 in action: http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/32708

More videos, images and info can be found at: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/27/the-sony-psp2/

The PSP2 Specs

5-inch OLED display with 960 x 544 resolution. Multitouch.
Rear touch panel same size as screen and mapped directly to the game screen.
Cameras both front and rear.
Gyro sensor
Dual sticks (not nubs)
3G, Wifi, GPS.
CPU is described as "the most advanced" in its class (not mentioned yet)
Games will come on "new media," not UMD anymore.

The official scec sheet can be found at http://playstationlifestyle.net/2011...gp-spec-sheet/

Power and control

A 4 core ARM Cortex processor is going to provide more than enough power, and the OLED multi touch screen is going to look amazing. The addition of 2 proper thumbsticks more like the PS3 controller rather than the PSP's nub is a welcome addition, and having GPS built in could add some very interesting features to games, and also combined with the cameras for location logging.

Finally the interactivity of its control system really does evolve the platform. The PSP was basically a handheld, and cutdown PS2. Its spec for a mobile platform was amazing, and games do still look very good on it, but it's only interaction was traditional direction and buttons. With this new system you have tradition PS3 style control with dual thumbsticks, directional digital control, action buttons and shoulder buttons, but in addition you can manipulate movement with the six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelorometer) and a three-axis electronic compass (combined with GPS this can then tell where you are located and what direction you are facing!), and on top of all this you then have the multi touch screen for proper touch gaming, and a touch sensitive back panel. Mind blowing levels of interaction!

And it could go even further still. With both front and back facing cameras and a microphone (which is obviously insired by the DSi), developers will surely find a way to utilise these in games, like the mic on the DSi has been used in games like Zelda. The camera could be used like the DS, adding real images into games, or maybe to track movement. Who knows. The possibilities of this new system's controls are endless.

This is quite an evolution from the original PSP for sure.

Where does this leave Nintendo and its new 3DS?

By comparison this makes the new Nintendo 3DS seem a bit primitive. I like the DS as a handheld platform, and in its own right offers a great handheld gaming experience, but the PSP2 is going to technologically leave it for dead. The 3DS is really only an updated DSi and nothing more. It's only real main addition is the larger innovative 3D screen, with the only other change is the analogue stick. Will a true 3D screen be enough to make it a success over this new PSP2?

Nintendo does have a head start though. The 3DS is being released very soon, but the PSP2 won't be ready until at least the end of the year. Nintendo can use this time to gain a lot of market share before Sony even get started. Microsoft managed this over Sony with the 360, before the PS3 was launched, so there is a danger it could happen again with the 3DS. But is the 3DS enough of an update to the existing DSi to make owners upgrade? I personally don't think it is. How many will be that interested in the 3D screen for more than the initial wow look at that moment? And how many games will actually use it? We won't know until later.

Software will see who wins out eventually

At the end of the day it will be software though that sells the majority of these 2 new hadhelds, and traditionally this is always where Nintendo wins. Ever since they entered the handheld market with the Gameboy, their systems have never been the highest spec, but the quality of their games has always ensured they sell well. And I think the same might be true this time too. The PSP2 is going to still appeal the most to the more serious traditional games that are within the current 360, PS3 and PC gaming markets.

by comparison the DS has always been able to appeal to traditional non gamer (teen girls, women and older generation) due to the game line up. These games tend to be quite different. To the diehard/tradition gamers these games are more like mini games to them, but to the DS gamers they are what appeals. Games like Professor Layton sell DS' alone. And I'm not sure Sony will be able to pitch the PSP2 to attract this market. If they can then Nintendo will need to worry.