Sony outlines NGP "asynchronous gaming"

One SKU to feature 3G. All will include Wi-Fi.

Sony has moved to calm excitement that its Next Generation Portable will allow users to game online while out and about using its 3G function.

Actual simultaneous gameplay will "depend very much on the degree of data traffic that's being driven by that online game" SCEE boss Andrew House told Eurogamer.

What is perhaps more realistic, however, is asynchronous gaming.

Explained House: "One area that I'm particularly excited about is the idea of asynchronous gaming, whereby the game experience is existing either on a PS3 or on your NGP, and then the 3G ability is the real-time, you know, 'you're under attack, you've got to go do something,' messaging, just keeping that link with you, which clearly is not very heavy in terms of data traffic, but creates a whole different sense to the experience."

Multiple versions of the NGP will launch from late 2011, each with Wi-Fi capability. Only one, however, will also feature 3G.

"The first thing to clarify, which I'm not sure the presentation did a perfect job of doing today, is that all of the devices will have Wi-Fi capability; a separate SKU will have 3G," House said.

"So the user gets a choice. Wi-Fi is available wherever, which clearly is the most important aspect of connectivity and that connected experience; 3G will be a subset of that."

Sony is currently "working hard" on 3G partnerships. House confirmed there will be some cost to the user for 3G services.

"You'll hear more from us around that aspect of the strategy as we get closer to launch."

During Sony's Tokyo press conference this morning the hardware manufacturer emphasised the NGP's connectivity features.

LiveArea is what Sony's calling the user interface that controls the NGP. "In essence, it's Xbox Live and Facebook features embedded in the handheld's front end," reported Oli Welsh live from the NGP unveiling in Japan.

While showing PlayStation 3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4 running on NGP, game developer legend Hideo Kojima talked about cloud computing.

"When he launched Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker on PSP he dreamed of a cloud computing future, and that game was an experiment for it. "NGP allows this cloud computing," he said, cryptically.

"What I'd like to realise is playing on your PS3, and when you go out, you put the game on your NGP, and when you come back home, you can once again use your PS3 and large screen TV.

"This dream is going to come true in the near future. And right now, I'm working on this project of the dream. I'm sorry, I can't reveal this now. But we'd like to present what we're doing at E3."

Sony has confirmed that users will be able to access PlayStation Store from both 3G network and Wi-Fi, which can be chosen depending on the network environments or the volume of content. Existing PSN IDs will be used on NGP.

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