NGP Is “Dead On Arrival” – Neil Young

ngmoco boss Neil Young has spoken to Industry Gamers at this year’s GDC, saying Sony’s successor to the NGP is “Dead on Arrival”, leaving no doubt as to where his feelings currently sit.

In what amounts to a precursor to the full interview, the report on IG shows what the man behind some of the biggest iPhone games thinks of Sony’s strategy, especially with regards to pricing. “I think they are hurt; I think they’re clearly hurt,” he said of the ‘traditional’ portable consoles.


“I think PSP is done and the new [NGP] is dead on arrival. It’s really difficult to compete with an App Store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality.”

“So I just don’t think Sony’s going to be able to compete with that.”

When asked whether he thought the ‘PS3 quality experience’ would offset any pricing issues, Young was equally determined.  “It’s not a PS3 quality experience,” he replied. “And in terms of getting broad adoption, having great processing power is not necessarily a prerequisite for great adoption in the marketplace. You need a range of things and what I think the iPod Touch and iPhone have been able to do is offer people swiss army knife type functionality for a device that plays games really well.”

“It’s not like it’s crap at playing games,” he says of Apple’s device.  “It’s pretty good at playing games and it can do a whole bunch of other things as well.”

It’s worth pointing out that Mr Young has a strong interest in the iPhone range, but those are strong words.



  1. Well the NGP and 3DS won’t just be pretty good at playing games, they will be really good at it.

    • Also is this not the dev that pretty much copied Locoroco?

  2. I do see his point, and even though I don’t want him to be right, I fear he could be.

  3. Very bold statement! Only time will tell!

    • He sounds just like gabe newell and look what he’s doing now!!!! Kissing Sony’s @ss.

  4. Whether or not it will be dead on arrival is something that is clearly uncertain. Regardless, I’m sure if Sony makes a hit title for the platform ngmoco will just copy it again like they did with Rolando.

  5. Utter bollocks. You can NOT play ‘proper’ games on a idevice. You need joysticks, buttons, you will never get the precision you need using touch.

    • I agree, touch screens can add to a game but I just don’t enjoy playing a game with just a touchscreen. Your fingers get in the way as well!

    • Tilt control is pretty precise. Tried Real Racing 2?

      • Tilt for me has the same problem as using the Wii Wheel or any steering wheel with no force feedback, has no return to centre.

      • OK you can do racing games and twee “lets stack cubes on top of each other” games. I was watching aguy playing FIFA or PES on his iphone on the tube last night, his thumbs covered half of the alreasdy tiny screen.

        Coming from EA Neil Young really should know better. Is the NGP going to dent the Angry Birds / Cut THe Rope casual market? No.

        Can it do Killzone, Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted pretty much up to the same standards as the PS3? Yes.

        “It’s not a PS3 quality experience” – The MGS Demo calls you a liar.

        ““It’s not like it’s crap at playing games,” he says of Apple’s device. “It’s pretty good at playing games” – Yes it is – of a certain genre and accessability.

        God he’s got me annoyed, what an utter muppet, 99% of what he said is pants.

      • I agree with Jambo. Racing games are terrible for those exact reasons. I’ve tried few on my phone and they all suck. Nothing compares to GT on the PSP.

      • I agree that the tilt control on Real Racing 2 is superb – the fact that I’m not very good at it is purely down to my own cack-handedness – but I can’t get on with these “virtual pad” games, like FIFA 11 or Rage. The lack of a tactile sensation that suggests I have some control over what’s going on on-screen makes ‘complex’ gaming feel unresponsive and disconnected. I certainly prefer one-touch games like Canabalt or Tiny Wings, where the simple interface is considered a selling point.

      • nothing on the iphone is precise. i swear i dont know what people see in this thing besides, “CHEAP GAEMS!!!!!” “ANGRY BIRDS!!!!!!!!” angry birds is a piece of junk and the only “hardcore” gaming experiences i can find on the app store are cheap rip offs of CoD (modern combat: black pegasus…really?), Uncharted (shadow guardian), and God of War (hero of sparta) all of which look awful, have outdated game mechanics, and are so shameless in their plagiarism that they dont even bother to hide it. and thats the thing, the only good games on the iOS devices are these type of similar products (of which we will get the real thing when the NGP arrives) and bad ports of dead space. the only good game i played was spiderman: the unimportant subtitle but i realized halfway through the demo that the game only required me to move and hit one button to win. hows that fun? also, using a virtual joystick gives you no real indication of where your movements are being currently registered. im sorry im going crazy about this but i just hate that people see these as games. the original gameboy had better stuff than the app store. just because i cant make calls on my NGP and because ill have to pay more for good games doesnt make it useless

    • Hear hear!! :p

    • Couldn’t agree more Tuffcub, the experience is kinda like Move vs Kinect, except Kinect is not any cheaper.

      Speaking of cheaper, what Young fails to realise (or state) is that to get good performance from a lot of the newer/beefier iOS games you need at least a iphone 3G, iphone 4 or iPad. These are NOT cheap devices not matter what anyone says. Yes they do other things, but that’s kind of the point – I need a phone, might as well get one that plays simple little games like bejeweled or angrybirds.

      Do you know how many of the full fledged titles on iOS have held my attention? NONE, not Need for Speed, not the BF game, none.

      Bring on NGP.

      And buttons.

      • “the experience is kinda like Move vs Kinect”

        What, sales-wise? Like Kinect is outselling Move in the way that iOS will outsell the NGP?

    • LOL. Even he didn’t read as convinced with the iPhones gaming quality and he makes some of those games. It’s just not crap apparently.

      He might as well have said:
      “There’s some really great apps! And there’s also games.”

    • I’m with you on this one. Whenever I see a screenshot of a game in the App Store with virtual joysticks I just immediately lose interest.
      Guys like him really get on my nerves. Is the App Store a great place for a variety of fun games? Yes. Is this guy a fortune teller? No. So why the f*** does he go out of his way to bash Sony’s product that hasn’t even been released yet? It’s not like they have no experience in the market. They have the Playstation Certified brand going on that covers the iPhone segment and cover the needs of hardcore gamers with the NGP.
      Apps as games are gaining significant market shares these days but in no way is this the end of all dedicated handheld gaming.
      I thought Apple fanboyism was only a thing that effected consumers, not developers… :P

  6. Strong words, but I must say I agree with him. I have echoed similar sentiments in previous articles surrounding the NGP. The PSP and PS3, as opposed to the DS and Wii, both demonstrated that consumers want cheap and cheerful over expensive and powerful. Now the rise in mobile gaming has made pushing a portable console into the market even harder. People get these mobiles on contract and have access to a vast library of games and apps, all for relatively little effort and money. Much as I love Sony, I can’t see this being much of a success.

    • In terms of the pricing, I’m in agreement too – Sony and Nintendo need to take a good look at what’s happening on the App Store.

      • But does the PlayStation Suite not go someway towards matching the App Store?

      • Will anything on PlayStation Suite match 50 million downloads, a la Angry Birds? We’ll see.

      • Very unlikely of course but that doesn’t mean there won’t be access to games that are just as good for as little money for the user.

      • Angry birds has had 100 million downloads :)

        I dont know why we are even bother to discuss this mans stupid comments, the NGP isnt AIMED at the iphone market. Its a top tier games console, NOT a phone that does games. That’s the Xperia Play.

        Stupid, stupid, stupid man.

      • Thing is though TC, in order for the NGP to be a commercial success, it has to compete with mobile gaming. Casual gamers and hardcore gamers are blurring and the markets are blurring. Profits are found in the masses now, not the fringe. The PSP struggled without the added pressure, I will be surprised if the NGP doesn’t feel the sting even harder. I think the 3DS will also struggle, but it already has the massive following the DS created.

        The PSP phone is Sony’s best bet, but pricing, hardware and lack of compatibility with existing PSN games could well mean this is DOA as well.

      • I see… any you explain the contiued sales of Xbox and PS3 as.. what?

        NGP IS NOT AN iDEVICE ITS A TINY PS3. It’s ridiculous to compare it to an Iphone, in terms of sales, games or anything else.

      • I’m not talking about the PS3 or 360. I’m talking about the handheld market, of which mobile gaming plays a strong role now. I mentioned the PS3 in my previous post to illustrate pricing holding back a release due to consumers choosing cheaper options. It may well be a tiny PS3, but I don’t think that is what the public wants, and I don’t think it will sell very well. Much like the PSP, which hasn’t really been a success outside of Japan. Of course a lot of people here will want one, I know I am considering it, but we aren’t a good representation of the general population, or overall sales.

      • The PSP has sold nearly 52 million. Hardly a failure.

      • I don’t think the NGP is aimed at a real portable market anymore. With this power you can’t have that much of battery life. So where does this fit in? I think it fits in the same niche as tablets fit in. You can take it with you wherever you go but battery life is always a constraint. Although everyone has a PC/Notebook at home, many people have tablets that they only use at home anyways. So what’s the point? It’s far more comfortable to surf on a tablet on the couch than to sit at a desk or have a notebook in your lap. In this way I think the NGP might go in a similar direction.

      • Compared to the 150 million that the DS sold? I didn’t say it was a failure, but no-one in their sound mind could say it was a big success. Anyway. All I’m saying is, I don’t think the NGP is going to do very well. I would love to be proven wrong however, as more handheld gamers floating around would be great. Time, and no amount of discussion beforehand, will tell.

    • I wouldn’t want the hundreds of Apps that are on the iDevices. If I did I’d get one of them. What I want is a portable games player that plays top quality titles and looks amazing. That’s what the NGP is. Sony would be foolish to try and match the App Store, they should concentrate in pushing the fact that it’s a PS3 in your hands.

  7. An NGP and a couple of games to get started = £300, that straight away is limiting its appeal. Whilst most people reading this website will be interested in it, I’d be surprised if there’s much mainstream attraction.

    With Nintendo being first to market in the EU by around a year they will have 1st mover advantage and can drop the price when the NGP launches here next Spring, and that could be critical once the initial rush has worn off.

    PlayStation Certified mobiles are the way to go in my opinion, and if a multi-core CPU/GPU mobile phone, with a game controller is announced that is PlayStation Certified I think it will kill the NGP long before its even released.

    • I disagree, while there may be phones that have the same processor before the NGP they won’t be dedicated games machines.

      Its the same with the PC, to get a PC to match a consoles capabilities you have to have a lot more RAM and processing power, will be the same with smartphones.

      • Doesn’t matter, the graphics on iPhone4 dedicated games are good enough as it is without adding more cores etc. See the Unreal Engine or the Rage engine running at 60fps for example – I was just saying if a proper multi-core cpu/gpu is released in a mobile which features a gaming controller then it renders the NGP pointless.

        Sony did well to show the NGP early, because it looked a generational leap over was around at the time, rather than what will be out later this year & next.

        Once you’ve got a game running in the Unreal/Rage engine (the Rage engine features all the lighting & radiosity effects that people are going ape over in BF3 trailers) then anything over & above that will be of very, very limited appeal.

      • But then John Carmack himself said this:
        “Low level APIs will allow the Sony NGP to perform about a generation beyond smart phones with comparable specs.”
        So it will be better.

        The question of what is good enough is another thing entirely.

    • The problem with Playstation Certified devices is that probably none of them except the Xperia Play will have proper input methods which is a deal breaker for many people with more complex games. Let’s face it. The Play is half a PSP and half a good smartphone. There are smartphones left and right these days that put the Play to shame and people will go for the real deal and just pick up a proper handheld if they really need one.
      I think the NGP will do better than the Xperia Play. One reason being that the NGP can rely on the real PSN while the Play will suffer from a lack of game support after a year or so.

  8. In other news restaurants are now seen to be dead on arrival as fast food outlets have more customers.

    • You sir, win teh internetz.

    • How to completely devoid any credibility (if there was any before) Neil Young had with his frankly idiotic statement.

      • Meant to add “this is” at the start

    • Lol, that is all.

    • haha true statement

  9. An iPhone with 1 game is well over that. Don’t forget your data plans (mandatory) and device costs. So let’s say instead you get an iPod touch your still starting at 230 at the least so the cost bullshit needs to take a long walk off a short pier. As far as low cost games did everyone miss the fact that kaz stated that they are working with google on getting android software to the ngp? Think people think.

  10. Sales figures for Portable Consoles would indicate Neil Young comments are not substantiated. Perhaps its Neil Young that feels the heat of Sony’s NGP?

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