[Follow-up] SCE President Explains Details of NGP

Feb 2, 2011
Tadashi Nezu, Nikkei Electronics
Kazuo Hirai speaking in a roundtable Q&A session
Kazuo Hirai speaking in a roundtable Q&A session
[Click to enlarge image]
[Click to enlarge image]

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (SCE) announced the "Next Generation Portable (NGP)," a successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) portable game console, and the "PlayStation Suite (PS Suite)," a service for providing games to Android-based devices, Jan 27, 2011 (See related article).

On the day after this announcement, there was a roundtable Q&A session with SCE President and Group CEO Kazuo Hirai. And this article is focused on the topics related to the hardware of the NGP.

Q: Why didn't you make the NPG 3D-compatible like the Nintendo 3DS? (See related article 2)

Hirai: The entire Sony Group lays weight on 3D. SCE made the PS3 support 3D games. And 3D-compatible games are being released one after the other.

However, as for the NGP, we decided not to make it 3D-compatible in consideration of the necessity of 3D capability for portable game consoles, the worldviews of the games we want to create, costs and so forth. Some might say that 3D capability will enhance immersiveness in a game. But, this time, we decided to improve it by using a different method.

On the other hand, in the case of stationary game consoles such as the PS3, it is possible to achieve a high immersiveness because users sit in front of a stationary TV and enjoy a 3D world.

Q: Please explain about the procurement of its components such as the OLED panel.

Hirai: We are not determined to procure the components within our group. We will choose suppliers from inside and outside our company, considering costs, performance and supply capacity. Our first priority is to offer a good product to users.

As for the OLED display, we have not yet chosen suppliers or decided the number of suppliers. We have not disclosed such things because we honestly have not made a decision yet.

Q: Why doesn't the NGP work as a mobile phone despite the fact that it has 3G communication capability?

Hirai: We discussed this a lot and reached a conclusion that we do not have to add a phone function when we put weight on "entertainment." Considering the shape of the new console, it is difficult to make a phone call. But we did not want to change its design or add an accessory for a phone function. That's why we decided not to include a phone function.

Q: The NGP is equipped with many input devices including three kinds of motion sensors, which are a three-axis acceleration sensor, gyro sensor and geomagnetic sensor, in addition to a touch panel on the front side and a touch pad on the back. Don't they make operation complicated?

Hirai: I don't think they will make operation complicated because it is not our suggestion that all the sensors should be used.

We increased the number of sensors so that game creators can accurately portray the worlds they want to create and the users can feel them. If the NGP had only buttons, creators might say, "We could do more if it had a touch panel." We wanted to avoid such a situation.

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