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NGP Spec “Nothing Special” “Nowhere Near PS3”

sony-ngp

The supposed “PS3 level” power of Sony’s newly announced NGP is being called into question, with technical analysis of its capabilities suggesting it is not nearly as impressive as it is hyped to be, and that it is already in imminent danger of being eclipsed by smartphones and tablets using the very same chipset it employs.

The commentary in question, from a long and quite technical analysis of the NGP announcement:

Will the NGP’s lifespan be a long one?

Put simply, the NGP’s looks feature packed and very powerful, more than enough to meet the challenge of other handhelds and smartphones. SCE appears to be investing a lot in the NGP from the start, in order to put up a good fight.

However, if we look past the hype, the capabilities of the NGP are not actually all that good. Of course, there is no way it approaches those of the PS3 either.

One major issue is that the combo of ARM Cortex-A CPU + PowerVR SGX GPU is already becoming a popular choice in smartphones and tablets. In other words, the NGP’s performance is directly comparable to those of smartphones and tablets.

This time, SCE could simply not afford the cost of developing its own CPU and GPU combo, and had to bring in a pre-existing architecture.

As a result, just looking at the chipset used shows that the uniqueness of its capabilities has been severely compromised, exposing it to comparison with similar chips.

Other devices using similar chipsets will quickly overtake it – the progress of other mobile devices is just so rapid.

[The article goes on to present some technical analysis of the NGP’s CPU and GPU, suggesting the NGP may become obsolete very quickly:]

sony-ngp-spec-1

sony-ngp-spec-2

The yearly updates of smartphones and tablets probably doom a static specification like that of the NGP to obsolescence within a few short years, leaving the hardware to compete solely on the quality of its controller, or in the case of the 3DS, its gimmicky display – time will tell whether this proves sufficient.

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133 Comments

  • Meh.

    I don’t care how the graphics look in comparison to a phone.

    Simple fact: I want a phone to be a phone, and I want a gaming console to be a gaming console.

    Most people I imagine see things the same way.

    SankakuTroll find another subject. :3 You’ve riled us up—there’s been a bit of nerdrage—but you can do better than this.

  • from what i have seen so far, the tech demos so far, it looks at least as good as the ps3. if what was shown isn’t like killzone 2, where it was an ideal, and is real in game tech demos, than it looks close enough that i cant complain.

  • John Carmark, father of FPS, already stated in his tweet that NGP’s low level API makes NGP a “generation beyond” with smartphones having similar or higher specs.

    iOS and Android OS will only have high level APIs for games which can only use up to 1/3 of the specs performance. Meaning 2/3 is wasted on OS for the sake of multi-tasking and other OS resources.

    Meanwhile, PS3, X360, PS3, and other game-dedicated consoles uses 100% of specs performance. Hence, consoles and handheld consoles reboots everytime you start game to unload unnecessary OS/firmware resources.

  • Iphone 5 and Ipad 2 will use dual core versions of NGP cpu/gpu.
    So they are allready behind, propably Iphone 6/7 will have the same cpu/gpu as NGP.

    I just don`g get why anime blog w/o good knowledge about hardware trys to talk about it.

    First this bullshit about contract , while you can buy 3G devices without it. Have access to online with WIFI and if you realy want 3G just get pre paid card.

    And now this, the CPU/GPU in NGP won`t be used by other devices for some time.

  • look at it this way. the current ipod touch specs completely surpass the psp’s specs at every point, yet its games are never on the psp’s level. knowning how technology is changing very rapidly, future smartphones will surely pass the ngp in terms of specs, but because smartphones weren’t meant for gaming, ngp games will still most likely succeed over smartphone games. it all depends on how the companies will support the ngp.

  • I knew already the performance would at best would be similar to the original Xbox if it had more memory.

    There is only so much you can do while staying within the power requirements needed for a hand held.
    Asking for PS3 level performance in a hand held would be silly since the PS3 pushing the very limits of unclassified technology just four years and two months ago.
    Cell is still one of the fastest single chip processors out there.
    Only chips like Power7, z196,and some very high end Xeons and Opterons beat it in floating point vector operations.
    Now the NGP would have been something special if Sony just waited for Tegra 3 or at the very least used Tegra 2 which is a much more powerful GPU.

    • The Cell is still in date because it can still match or beat the fastest i7 cpus for media type operations but the GSX did quickly go out of date and the 256MB system and 256MB GDR memory is very limited now.
      The problem is the standardized hardware on video game consoles is what allows games to be so optimized but it’s also a weakness.

      The NGP will put the iphone and most android devices to shame but it’s specs won’t be top for long the Arm architecture is moving about twice as fast as PCs right now.
      But I will say the gaming experience on the NGP will be better then most phones even those with a tegra chipset “which BTW makes the iphone 4 look like a steaming pile of dog flop” because it’s optimized to be a game system.

  • “The ngp likely has variable clockspeed like the psp that came before. It is quad core, and has a high end graphics chip. If sony played its cards right the thing has something like 1-2hr battery life, and will likely only be unlocked upon the arrival of better batteries. AKA, beating it is an impossibility due to battery life restrictions.

    I’m carrying a messenger bag with a giant lithium ion from duracell or energizer, just to be sure, especially once it’s unlocked and homebrew unleashed”-C. Elegans

  • If what Sony is saying is right, and they release low level APIs with the SDKs, then NGP has a good shot for market penetration.

    It’s not gonna be like OpenGL, but surely may deliver. Moreover, if we add the chance of Sony introducing a new media format (which somehow, I’m pretty damn sure will fail), NGP does really stands a chance.

    But Sony, oh Sony. They make good hardware. Sorry I cannot say the same of management. I say lets wait because NGP, despite carrying a game console reputation, it has some obstacles to ditch and it won’t be easy to get mainstream attention. Let alone keep it.

  • totally different.

    it’s the same comparing x360 and ps3 to the PC…

    Developing a game is NOT totally only rely on hardware, but also the OS which controls the hardware. The reason why x360 and ps3 can do comparable modern (means up to date) pc like graphic is that the games are optimized for them.

  • MechaTama31 says:

    Until a phone or tablet is a dedicated gaming device with dual analog sticks, I just don’t see this as being much of a problem. Home consoles are underpowered and “obsolete” compared to the PC’s of the time, right from launch day. That hasn’t stopped them from being successful. These devices live or die on software, not hardware. If the games are there, the NGP will do fine.

  • I love the PSP so I’ll surely buy it, however I am pro them making their own hardware to stand above the rest. For now the battery life seems dreadful but I guess no one has made a fuss about this, and I guess that’s really a small issue though it kinda pisses me off actually only having 5hours. You think for it’s size it could invest on something better. I mean the real reason I’m even bashing this is because well, it’s called the NGP. Next Generation? What’s so next generation if it already has hardware of the already coming generation?

    People saying about smart phones doesn’t play games like the PSP, well smart-phones sure could, and it wouldn’t be that hard except their OS doesn’t support gaming, which can also be changed. The controls also won’t be the same but you cant tell me there isn’t a simple way around it. I just think for it to be Next Generation Portable it should pack a few more bolts with it’s kick.

  • Its the same than videoconsoles. The pc hardware technically is much more powerful than current video consoles but games aren’t as optimized in pc as on videoconsoles.

    One example in the smartphone world. The galaxy s has a better gpu than the iphone 4 but there’s no games as good as on the apple device

  • OK people, you’ve read random Japanese opinions, now read expert ones: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-sony-ngp-analysis

    “Secondly, NGP needs to be future-proof to a certain extent. Apple will be upgrading the capabilities of its market-leading iOS devices from one year to the next – and this is a luxury that Sony doesn’t have. It needs to build a platform now that will last for at least five years. A surfeit of power, combined with development tools that address a single, fixed hardware platform, should fit the bill quite nicely and it’s an approach that has worked before: only relatively recent iOS games have managed to surpass the best found on the 2004 vintage PSP.”

    As for the battery issue:

    “Another point that works to Sony’s advantage is the basic size and shape of the device. Bearing in mind that NGP is going to be significantly larger than a mobile phone, it stands to reason that there would be more room for a larger battery too. All of this can help offset the inclusion of a quad core CPU, so a four to five hour NGP battery life doesn’t seem unreasonable and would be equivalent to the original PSP.”

  • Damn, you mean their handheld isn’t better than it’s possible to make a handheld? That someone might make something comparable to what they’re going to make?

    That’s unavoidable, isn’t it? That’s just what happened the last time with iTouch 1 and PSP. It’ll still be a great system though.

  • Oh geez, who gives a crap. Seriously, the thing is already way more powerful than what is needed for a handheld game system. Who the fuck cares if it’s not quite up to PS3 levels of power. At that screen size it’ll look as good as PS3 games anyway.

    Games like Infinity Blade on the iPhone already look nearly as good as a PS3 game from a graphics standpoint, so if this thing is more powerful than that, there is freaking nothing to worry about.

  • Saying the PSP2 is “doomed” because of the existence of tablets or smartphones is no different from saying the PS3 and XB360 are “doomed” because PC hardware can be upgraded on an annual or semi-annual basis.

    Complete BS.

  • if a game is specially made for a phone as it is for a the hand held, there can be significant differences.

    e.g. a game made for computer will perform way better then an emulated one

    this is to say there’s no win or lose, as long the games is specifically design for the hand held, it won’t become obsolete

  • herp derp… this chart is like comparing a P4@2.80GHz(single core) with an phenom X6(hexa core)@3.8GHz+dedicated graphicscard… no shit that a 32core server grade processor will outperform a mobile quad… also try to name a phone with these specs

  • I don’t have time to read the source, but I’m commenting this article anyway.

    How convenient that it ignores the ARM Cortex CPU on the NGP has 4 cores, when the smartphones have barely started to put dual core CPUs in them…

    Yeah, let’s forget also that the GPU has 4 cores too…

    Moreso, way to pretend that smartphone gaming only last year barely catched and surpassed in counted occassions the graphic level set by 2004 PSP. That’s right, 6 years of fumbling for the phones to emulate such an ‘ancient’ hardware.

    As for the PS3 level graphics, I don’t know, I’ve seen Uncharted looking as good as the PS3 one and a MGS4 realtime cutscene running at 20 fps, and devs saying those demos were put in mere weeks.

    Besides, I’m not into the terrible control schemes imposed by iPhone gaming, with onscreen button panels and other monstrosities.

    Troll harder next time.

  • Censored_Vagina says:

    Developers for NGP will be working with much lower-level APIs than cellphones and won’t be burdened by iOS or Android sitting there at all times. So even a phone with identical specs, of which there are none yet, wouldn’t be capable of the same performance.

    If we’re being honest though, the design of this thing really would seem to indicate that the device is a kneejerk reaction to 3DS. Picking really common parts means the quickest possible turnaround. Cell phone companies can do it in a year, or less, but they don’t have to worry about software.

    • The latest consoles just seem to be ripping ideas off each other now.

      Someone should just seriously invent the Virtual Reality headsets from .hack.
      It’s a handheld gaming device, can log on to the internet, and can cause a state of lack of awareness of one’s surroundings. It’s perfect!

    • Really common parts means lower costs. Custom stuff comes at a premium, and that royally burned them with the ps3.

      By using more standard stuff they also greatly ease development: anyone who can make a smartphone game could make something for the NGP, which combined with the PS Suite, means instant access to a huge amount of casual games.

      • But it is also pretty bad for security. Sony’s custom solution for the PS3 used security by obscurity, and now they can’t even do that with the NGP. It will have a common architecture so it will be hacked quicker.

      • While that is generally the case, it really depends on the cost of each part’s components. Some custom hardware is actually cheaper to manufacture than off-the-shelf components, but due to the absurdly huge number of products being developed with ARM processors, it isn’t likely that they could come up with one in the short term.

      • That! ^^^^^^^

        I actually like the fact os ony choosing the standardized is that chip making future android game possible or even bring-able to the NGP, it is a win win situation for sony anyway, so what is the point of calling it anything but interesting or amazing?

        The idea behind this choice is brilliant.

  • Oh, like the 3DS’s processor will stand the test of time? This argument is bull. Mobile Phones are just that- phones. They don’t have GPUs like the PSP, DS, etc, and aren’t dedicated gaming machines and it’s the GPUs that other functionality that make the PSP and DS stand apart from mobile phones. Same will go for the 3DS and NGP. Will you buy a NGP because it’s the most powerful handheld device out there or because of gaming? Most would say gaming. Besides, does this really surprise anyone? Technology advances so fast anyway that as soon as something totally awesome is announced it’s virtually obsolete the next week.

  • Stupidest flamebait article I have seen in a while. Maybe if the PSP2/NGP was an actual smartphone/tablet this article would be relevant.

    Smartphones =/= Portable game system
    PSP2 (NGP) =/= Smartphone

    They are entirely different devices with common features, but with completely different purposes. Anyone who thinks shitty cellphone games can compare with those of a real gaming system are hype driven idiots (including the companies that have been taken in by the hype).

  • What’s the issue? This is the same as consoles versus PCs, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, PC isn’t a juggernaut that consoles have to completely avoid nowadays. The wide variety of setups caused by this very issue is the reason why it will be easiest for developers to use the static NGP as opposed to an ever changing field of phones–especially when consumers are basically expected to updated their phones every 2 years. It’s working ok now because smartphone games are still very cheap to develop (they’re mostly just flash games anyway). When the standards rise though, developers will benefit from a standard architecture that maximizes the install base.

    • PC is a juggernaut but it’s not receiving a lot of press because of the simple fact that the consoles have huge marketing campaigns behind them.

      Which would you rather choose from a marketing perspective? A brand new shiny console where a company says it has extreme longevity and no hacks(changed now but you get the point.) or a “dieing system”. The dieing system is just so mindless idiots that can’t do a bit of research will say ooh I don’t wanna invest in a system that isn’t gonna be around for long. So they buy the console.

      The fact of the matter is the PC is still a juggernaut and is still making a crap ton of money annually. But good marketing spins that into a “dieing system”. Plus the PC doesn’t exactly have a company behind it to market for it. PC’s are anyone’s platform, where as the consoles are closed and have one huge company behind them doing the marketing plus several smaller entities. The PC doesn’t have that hence why it’s so easy to pass off utter bullshit as fact. Also from a business perspective it’s hard to make money from the PC as the PC market just expects more. PC gamers set the bar higher, so anything below that bar makes hardly any sales. Couple that with no one company getting a huge stream of revenue as they don’t “own” or “manufacturer” the system and you have a marketing catastrophe. Which is why the consoles are so big.

      • Basically big companies hate the PC because they can’t control it and it’s users as they like.(for example making you pay playing on the Internet on their private networks).
        PC mean freedom and more rights for the consumer and they hate that.
        That’s why they play the marketing trick against the PC and promoting the consoles so much.

    • not really. A console has the advantage of a standard architecture, which gives it a much longer lifespan then PC hardware. The ps3 and 360 are getting on in years yet still able to produce great graphics and games.

  • It’s marketing bs, yes, but the same can be said about this article. This is the same for every piece of gadget and when you buy a gadget nowadays you buy the platform not just the spec of what you held in your hands.

  • Isnt every hardware obsolete after a few years these days -_-
    Whats the point of this post.
    same for pc and gfx card, every 6 months a new powerful model gets released.
    Gfx isnt everything, look at ds. looks like crap still sells very well. if they use the system well it will be successfull.

    • Exactly, it doesn’t matter whether the graphics have been surpassed or not – what matters are the games. That’s why apple aren’t too threatening to Sony and Nintendo yet, because their games are only designed to be played in short bursts.

    • So an extent but Moore’s law in desktops is nothing like it was back in the 90s.
      Going from Core2 to i7 was not as huge a leap as 486 to Pentium or 68040 to PPC601 was.
      But Moore’s law is still very much alive and well in portable devices because the very architecture can be reinvented on them if needed to gain performance as they don’t need to care about being able to run old software.
      The Arm architecture already soundly beats X86 in Gflops per watt by a wide margin.

      • Moores law is about complexity and cost, not performance. It still holds true it just is far less visible as overall performance on a per app basis plateaus for the average user. Where as a CPU upgrade back then meant a huge boost in performance for your day to day computing now it ends up being about how fast your machine does a few very specific computationally intensive tasks or its total performance as a multitasking PC.

      • Moore’s law is still active in the PC market as well. It’s not an incredible leap but it still is a pretty big leap each generation. But you can only do so much when the die is getting hard to innovate on. They need to invent a new way to manufacture or extend the die.

        • X86 really needed to die about a decade ago.
          There are these things called X86 translation units on the die that do nothing more then translate X86 instructions to RISC or VLWI type low level instructions.
          They add a lot of complexity to designs which means more power used more die area wasted etc.

    • Yeah… sometimes I think that this site must be called SankakuTrolling instead of Sankakucomplex…

      All here we know that the next year will be a newest and powerful hardware than this… but those smartphones don’t last even a year on the market, except for the IOS plataform, there it’s not a solid plataform like handhled console… Those are two diferent markets..

      STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS!!

      • Of course, it’s actually kind of true. Sony’s been touting the ‘PS3 level’ graphics of the NGP, but all shots of it in action so far look closer to the PS2’s visuals. 3DS games don’t really look all that different, but have the advantage of a 3D screen to help them stand out. I’m sure the NGP will be capable of more detailed graphics than the 3DS, but it’s not really as much of a difference as it was between the original PSP and DS.

        As for smartphones and tablets, I somehow doubt they’ll ‘eclipse’ dedicated gaming hardware among gamers, unless they start offering proper dedicated controls. Even then, it would be hard to market them without support and exclusives from a company like Nintendo or Sony.

    • The point is that the NGP has the same hardware as smartphones, which means that smartphones will be in direct competition with it. Games have been developed for smartphones for quite some time now. And since they are also phones, they would make owning an NGP redundant.

      • You’re delusional if you think those so called “games” on smart phones are comparable to a real game.

        The most you can do is play touchscreen games. Smart phones that have keypads are not ideal for gaming.

        • I have a Galaxy S Phone. Its graphics ability is currently at the top for a Smart Phone, at least for another 4~6 months.

          But it doesn’t have the graphics gaming ability of a PSP, much less the PSP2. And playing games on a controller-less phone kind of …. sucks. Some games are great or okay with a touch-screen phone.

          But putting your fingers over your game area or trying to get instant response is NOT happening with touch screens. Having real buttons, a standard OS and games is the point. Its not a phone, its a pure gaming system.

  • Wasn’t the PSP “obsolete” years ago and still managed to provide one of the best experiences (save for the single analog debacle)? It wasn’t until recently that phones started matching the power of the PSP, and GoW seemed to have proven that that PSP still can duke it out with the best of them in the eyes of many.

    Specialized hardware like the NGP may likely not be that powerful considering the obvious, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be able to keep ahead of the game in terms of power campared to the smartphones which are just “jack-af-all-trades” devices.

    Even game devs have said it.

    • One of the best experiences? It’s only in the past couple of years that decent games have started to come out for it – earlier on, it was sinking as fast as the titanic.
      A better example perhaps is the DS – even worse graphics than the psp, yet it still kicked ass in both hardware and software sales.

    • Because the article is judging it solely by it’s hardware, and not the fact that as a hand held with a set spec, developers will be able to push that hardware to it’s limits and really create some great stuff.

      • Not to mention that game companies aren’t going to make handheld RPGs like Final Fantasy or Tales of…. or any other hardcore games (non-hardcore being the little dinky games they already make for cell phones) for cell phones.

        • It is null if the consumers play more than just RPGs. So far, they have a technical demo of Uncharted. I doubt that games like that will appear in smartphones soon.

          Phones are good for many things, but the PSP and DS have the difference that they are designed and supported both by 1st and 3rd parties to do exactly that.

        • @Anon 01:03 I think he is referring to the flagship titles that require more of a dedicated machine to provide a sustainable and uninterrupted good experience. No one likes to be immersed in a game and wind up receiving a call in the middle of a crucial part. It was the main reasoning for people to complain about a “PSPhone” or even a “PSP with cellular capabilities”.

          A phone, by virtue of being a multi-purpose device, is likely not to match up to the PSPs quality of gaming… at least not for the foreseeable future.

    • It’s because of its purpose in its lifespan. NGP purpose is gaming and only that and everything else revolved around that purpose. Smartphones etc are not built for gaming purpose but only have gaming capability.
      So even if the hardwares are the same there will be a definite differences when it comes to gaming.

      • If I compare iphone(smartphone) with NGP, I prefer NGP games because I simply not used to the controllers on-screen while gaming. Good thing NGP is the only ‘smartphone’ which has double analog stick.

        If I compare to other handhelds, I prefer NGP simply because it’s hardware capability better than other handheld. Even though it’s ‘bulky’,’last 3-5 hour’, ‘pay for 3g’, or even ‘same chip quality as other smartphones’, I rather pay the price than to buy the cheap slow response of NDS touchscreen.

  • It doesn’t really matter if smartphones will have better hardwares. Smartphones are smartphones, and not gaming consoles. Current phones have much better hardware than PSP, yet the games are much better on the PSP than on the smartphones. As long as developers doesn’t make games for smartphones, the NGP won’t really have to worry about this.

  • jamesownsall says:

    You don’t buy a device for its technological miracles. You buy it to do something you like it with. A PS3 is nothing if it doesn’t have a good library of exclusive games.

    That said, most smartphones and tablets don’t get videogames that are anymore complex than party games that can be finished in 15 minutes. Only time will tell if it has any games that I would buy.

    On the other hand, NDS sold itself on me the moment I learned that it’s got SSFIV and Resident Evil Revelations.

    • The 360 was obsolete by PC’s standards when it came out and look at how well it still does. Mobile phones can not be compared to handheld gaming systems- they are not the same. People don’t expect their consoles to last only 2 years like the mobile phone makers do (morons IMO). I think technology should be held back for awhile then released when it is actually something new and not slightly better. Then I can justify going from a (for the sake of example) iPhone 3G to 3GS.