NGP "unlikely to hit the mass market"

Analysts cool on Sony's new handheld.

The NGP lacks mass market appeal, according to a top industry analyst, and may fail to resonate with the mobile gaming generation, predicts another.

A trio of talking heads chimed in with their opinions of Sony's new PSP successor to IndustryGamers following the hardware reveal earlier today. While all were impressed by the system's feature set, there was less consensus regarding its market potential.

"[NGP has a] strong software lineup, but unlikely to hit the mass market," speculated Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian.

"While clearly differentiated from the more casual games that have made the iPhone a phenomenal success as a videogame platform, it remains unclear whether there is mass market potential for high-end portable games. We note that Sony's PSP did not meet initial sales expectations despite offering the highest quality graphics on a portable device at that time."

Mike Hickey of Janco Partners, though excited by the portable's "muscular hardware specs", echoed Sebastian's concerns.

"We suspect Sony's NGP will face considerable market competition from smartphones, tablets and Nintendo's 3D's gaming handheld," he explained.

"We believe Sony's PSP and PSP Go failed to resonate with today's mobile gamers; and view the NGP as an evolution not a revolution from the aforementioned. The mobile gaming market moved aggressively away from Sony's interpretation of a mobile game experience, and it's not clear to us that the NGP is mapping to that new market."

Of course, no analyst round-up would be complete without Wedbush Morgan's beloved Michael Pachter and, surprisingly, he was the most enthusiastic of the three.

"It's a pretty impressive device," he gushed. "There is a lot to like, and Sony has a huge library of content. The device looks pretty powerful, so I wouldn't be surprised to see some pretty sophisticated games, and the 3G capability and relationship with Android means we'll see a ton of Android apps on the device as well.

The Pach-Man predicted strong launch sales for the device, but speculated its long-term success would live or die on the strength of the software support.

"I suppose it will sell incredibly well for the first year (would bet 15 million or so), and then it will succeed or slow based upon the availability of software, much like the original PSP. I think it's a huge step up on the PSP, and think that the memory card-based games (a la DS) make a lot of sense."

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