Rumour: NGP Specs Downgraded?

Whilst the 3DS was the latest handheld gaming console released, we always saw the forthcoming NGP as a “console in your hands” rather than a handheld console.

That may not be the case any more, reports 1up via the French site 01net. They claim that the RAM has been halved, down from 512MB to 256MB, with 128MB of graphics memory still being proposed. To bring down the costs even further, the 16GB of flash memory is now apparently gone, with room for external memory instead.

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The reason for these compromises, they say, is to bring the price down and make the NGP a direct competitor with Nintendo’s 3DS.

It makes sense, really; having two consoles competing is good for both of them, as I could see a lot of people ignoring the NGP due to the 3DS’s low (in comparison) price, or ignoring the 3DS because the NGP has far better specs.

What do you think, then? Will the NGP become the next PSP – good but not quite there, and does the fact this console may not be a handheld PS3 like we were hoping make you less likely to buy it?

A cheap price is good, right?

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53 Comments

  1. No internal storage for a system with a strong focus on downloaded content will not go far

    • DLC can be stored in the same cartidge the game will come in so its not really a problem. Besides there is still external memory.

      • But for downloaded games on a PS3 everyone can buy them because we all have a HDD of the very least of 20/40GB. On PSP (except go), you’ll have to have a big memory card to own a few downloaded games (at least and 8GB), and not many owners will have them, so game sales are far lower and also less attractive. With the NGP, if there’s no internal memory download games would be ignored again, and even with external storage not everyone will buy it, and if they do it’ll be more expensive and again less likely to own a stick on the larger side. With the focus on having ‘all games on download with selected games also released at retail’ it’ll be a disaster not to have some form of storage in the console so everyone has access to these games from the off.

      • doesn’t the ngp use some new format memory card thing?
        that’s going to make buying storage cards, or whatever form it comes in, pretty expensive for the users.

      • Yeah, the new NVG card. However at GDC the other month they said there will also be “removable memory”. They have not said what format it will be but I would imagine it to be either an SD or MS card.

    • To be honest, I very much doubt this report. Almost all news regarding the development of the NGP has come out of Japan, notably in the renowned business paper Nikkei, and so I doubt this French website’s spurious and unreferenced claims has any basis in reality. Development of the machine has already long since taken place and a lot of the different studios have had development kits and such, so why change it at such a late stage of the competition? I call total BS IMO.

      • I agree.
        Although I have to say, that there has been NO news about specs so far, never mind a downgrade.
        Bar the pictures we’ve seen showing the physical features, Sony have told us nothing.

  2. When Sony announced the spec many people including myself commented it would surely be far too expensive to be popular to cram all that into a mobile form factor and have usable battery life.

    Given Sony’s recent record loss announcement I think they’ve decided they can’t afford an expensive behemoth that’s a slow, but long lasting burner (like the PS3) and actually need to hit the ground running with this.

    Also they’ve probably seen that a lot is possible on this ‘reduced’ spec thanks to the many games already in development being able to cope without a problem and what they originally planned was an unaffordable nicety but not a necessity…. or summink

    • RAM and Flash memory use next to no power. If they’re reducing the power consumption, then they’d be removing CPU and GPU cores and down-clocking the components. As for space in the device, RAM is just putting a higher density chip in place, whilst a flash chip takes up vastly less space in the device than all the related gubbins that another card slot will require.

      The impact that these changes will have to games are actually fairly small, but will still be noticeable. Firstly, loading from NAND should be quicker than memory card, so this means developers will have to scale down to lowest common denominator when it comes to streaming data to the RAM, of which there will now be more.

      So, slower load times, but it’s not too bad graphically, since the 128MB of VRAM is maintained.

      In other words, this is “acceptable”, but in one or two years time the machine’s longevity might be called into question.

      • memory has a negligible effect on battery life, i assume, but a bigger effect on the price.

      • Flash memory, yes, but 16GB of NAND was under $30 last time I checked. Halving the RAM saves about $10, but the long term benefits would greatly outweigh the short term.

        How is this passed on to the consumer? Well, together, this kind of thing would add up to $100 on an Apple device, but it’s $50 without fudging the price. £30 isn’t much to shout about, except that the 3DS has dropped price like a stone…

  3. I will only buy a portable device if it’s powerful and capable enough. If that means the price will be high, I’ll buy anyway.
    If it’s cheap but not as capable, I’ll probably not buy it. But if these rumours are true.. I don’t think it’s a huge downgrade.. and to be honest, I can’t really imagine downgrading from 512 to 256 has a huge impact on the price.

    • No you’re right – at source there won’t be a huge difference in prices between those two. The internal storage loss is the biggie.

      • I think one of their difficulties is how much flash memory prices have been effected by the Tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. I have a friend who sells memory off all types for a UK company and he explained that a very major warehouse of silicon wafer was situated within the exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear reactors, driving supply down and prices up.

  4. I’ll gladly pay more for more power.

    • But at the end of the day, Joe Public couldn’t care less about specs.

      • No but joe public cares about pretty, less specs, less pretty

  5. Hopefully this is only a rumour

  6. I would have been happier with more power, an internal memory and at a higher price. I understand why they’ve done it though. For me it’s a let down but for a lot of people it’s a good thing.

  7. Smart move. Pricing is what won them the console war last gen, and it’s what lost them the console war this gen. If it’s cheaper more will buy. Simple as that.

    • Still a shame about the stuff being cut though. They should do a watered-down version with basic features for joe-public, and a fully loaded one for people who are willing to spend more. Like what MS did with the Arcade and Elite Xbox 360s.

      • Wasn’t the difference between those two just the HDD, which was smaller/missing in the Arcade version? If Sony released two NGP models with different amounts of RAM then devs would have to optimize code for two differend models which would be a dumb move. If your are only talking about the internal storage then I agree.

      • I could understand that with the storage, but not with the RAM, as that will affect performance, all xbox games can run on both systems, that might not be the case with different ram sizes

      • Yeah, I mean features and storage space etc, not performance parts.

  8. I’m dissapointed by the possible downgrade, as I really wanted the originally predicted “handheld PS3” – but truth be told, I’m unsure as to whether I’ll get me another handheld at all – getting older, and the eyesight’s not what it used to be.

  9. If this is true, I think sony made a good move. I wouldn’t buy a portable console that is more expensive than a ps3 and have many friends who said the same. What I really want to know, though, is how this downgrade will affect the price…

  10. Surely Sony would just make different versions!?

    Like the did with the release of the PSP, wasn’t there a plain package and super package or sumti

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