Sony NGP a 'serious threat' to Nintendo 3DS?

A gaming analyst says the Next Generation Portable has placed "the future of portable entertainment...in the hands of Sony."

Is this device a serious threat to other portable products?
Will this device crush the competition? Sony Computer Entertainment

If you're excited by the potential of Sony's Next Generation Portable, you're not alone.

Jesse Divnich, a gaming analyst and vice president at Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, says Sony's upcoming device is a shot over the bow of all its competitors.

"The market is ripe for portable high-end gaming," Divnich told GamesIndustry.biz in an article published today. "The NGP will be a serious threat to all forms of portable entertainment."

Divnich didn't mention any other platforms by name, but it's not a stretch to say he was specifically thinking about Nintendo's upcoming 3DS and potentially Apple's iPhone, which has proven to be a gaming marvel over the past couple of years.

Research firm Flurry Analytics found that Apple's iOS grew from 5 percent of the portable-gaming market share in 2008 to 19 percent share in 2009. Nintendo's share fell from 75 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in 2009. And Sony's PSP saw its market share decline from 20 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2009. The results for 2010 should be fascinating.

Regardless, Divnich doesn't believe that Sony's competition will have what it takes to keep pace. He told the gaming publication that the "future of portable entertainment is in the hands of Sony."

That's something that Sony should be happy to hear. The company's portable-gaming business has been ailing from poor sales for quite some time. Back in November, Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing at retailer GameStop, said that the PSP was the only disappointment he could point to in 2010.

Those comments followed continued slumping sales figures for the PSP. In August--the last month for which NPD reported hardware unit sales--the market researcher said that Sony sold 79,400 PSPs in the U.S. A year earlier, Sony had sold 140,300 PSPs .

But the NGP isn't the PSP. The device boasts a 5-inch OLED display and touch pads on the front and rear. It features two analog sticks for better control--and both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. According to Sony, the portable will have the same graphical quality as the PlayStation 3.

Of course, long-term success in the portable-gaming space goes beyond sheer technological prowess. As Nintendo has shown over the years, it delivers devices with less capability than Sony's counterparts, but at the right price and with a strong library of titles. And that combination has won the market for Nintendo. Realizing that, Sony said that it plans to price its upcoming portable affordably. However, the company stopped short of revealing its price tag for the NGP's launch in late 2011.

Divnich told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes Sony will price the NGP between $299 and $349, placing it within $50 to $100 of Nintendo's upcoming $249 3DS.

 

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