Sony NGP praised to the rooftops by Quake and Gears of War gurus

Sony's freshly announced NGP gaming handheld is making developers dribble, including id Software's John Carmack and Epic's Mark Rein, who have both hailed its processing power.

Sony's NGP handheld console made quite the splash when it was unveiled last week, but now top game developers have gotten to grips with its specs, and they're fuelling a second wave of excitement around the device. id Software's John Carmack and Epic Games' Mark Rein have both hailed the NGP as a big step forward for handheld gaming.

Here's what Carmack had to say on Twitter about Sony's new gizmo: "Low level APIs will allow the Sony NGP to perform about a generation beyond smart phones with comparable specs." You can almost smell his excitement.

But he should know: Carmack was one of the first famous traditional game developers to get into mobile gaming, even before the iPhone -- he worked with EA on a Java game called Orcs & Elves. More recently, Carmack has piloted the iOS updates of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, before wowing iPhone and iPad gamers with the release of Rage HD late last year.

Also riding high in the App Store charts is Epic Games, thanks to the success of Infinity Blade, which was the first iOS game to use Epic's Unreal 3 engine -- closely followed by the externally developed Dungeon Defenders: First Wave. The latter was shown running on an NGP at Sony's launch last week.

"I think Sony has done a great job with this device and that it caters to many gaming experiences," Rein tells Kotaku. "We're already impressed with what we're able to do with it today and we're really just getting started."

He goes on to describe the potential of NGP as "awesome", pointing to its physical capabilities, which trounce the touchscreen-only iPhone 4 and iPad. "The idea of a portable device that delivers the kinds of high-performance dual-analogue stick experiences I can get on a console definitely appeals to me as a gamer and the NGP can do that and so much more."

With the likes of Carmack and Rein getting hot under the collar for Sony's NGP, gamers can look forward to some excellent hardcore gaming on the device. We do wonder what it will mean for developers like id Software's plans on iOS, though -- will they develop games simultaneously across iOS and NGP, or look to launch different titles on the two platforms to make the most of their advantages?