Monday, January 31, 2011

Nintendo 3DS vs Sony NGP…fight!

So Sony's next big thing, the Next Generation Portable, a.k.a. NGP, a.k.a. PSP2, has been announced and critics and fans are all drooling. Meanwhile, the Nintendo 3DS launch date is on the horizon. I'm seriously torn between these two new handheld gaming consoles. They're both supremely powerful as gaming devices go. They're both gorgeous. And they both promise to change portable gaming. I probably only have enough money for one of them. Fiddlesticks.

Typical of these two companies, they've taken radically different paths. One went with graphical power and touchscreens. The other went with glasses-free 3D. Who will win my money?

Like a Nintendo DS but with glasses-free 3D. Launching in March. $250.
Nintendo will be first out of the gate with its glasses-free 3D device. It actually works, though some have reported getting headaches and nausea. I want to love this device, but I'm cautious. 3D has failed in the past, and though it's supposed to be the next big thing, it has -- so far -- failed to take off. The 3DS could very well change all of that, but I'm really not sure. And so…I will wait. On launch day, the Nintendo faithful will no doubt be lining up to buy one. I will patiently wait to see what they have to say after the dust has settled. Hey, at $250, it's not cheap.

Big and sexy, like Beyonce
The NGP meanwhile promises to be even more expensive. No details on pricing have been released, but based on the spec of the NGP, it's almost surely more expensive than the 3DS. Quad-core processor, OLED screen, 3G -- these things aren't cheap. I'm guessing $350, but that's just a number I picked out of nowhere.

Price aside, I'm sold on the thing. The NGP sounds like it was made with serious gamers in mind -- a demographic that I'm a member of, like it or not. Muscular PS3 games like Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid 4 are just the tip of the iceberg. The dual analog sticks mean shooters will be big on this device, so its success is almost assured. (I don't care so much about shooters, so that's not a big deal for me.) The touchscreen promises to bring on a generation of brand new, screen-poking, "serious" games. But I'm worried that the price will be an issue. Sony has a long history of selling expensive hardware. I still want one, but I want to know more. How much will games cost? What games will we be able to play on the NGP's launch?

So my verdict for both is…wait. This is gaming after all, and the longer you wait, the better the games get, and the consoles get cheaper over time too. Unless you've got the cash to burn, and boy do I wish I had the cash to burn.

If anything, the 3DS and the NGP have convinced me to not buy the upcoming iPhone 5, no matter what Apple pulls out of its magic hat. I want real games, dammit.

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