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Andrew House talks Sony NGP price, 3G version, more

PlayStation's European boss on his next handheld.
Eurogamer As you say, it's clearly a very powerful device and it's got a lot of features. What does that mean for price? I know you're not announcing anything today, but can you put it in a ballpark? Are we talking iPad money?
Andrew House

I can't put a ballpark on it in terms of figures, but I think what I would say is that we will shoot for an affordable price that's appropriate for the handheld gaming space.

Eurogamer Are you prepared to sell at a loss to do that?
Andrew House

I think ideally we would want to have our hardware be profitable, in addition to our software. We've experienced both sides and we know which one we like to be on!

Eurogamer I'm sure. Do you know when you'll reveal the price?
Andrew House

I don't right now.

Eurogamer The other main question from our readers, seeing how powerful the machine is and how many features it has, is about battery life. Do you know how long we can expect it to last – in gameplay?
Andrew House

I think we'll have a good, solid battery life because of two factors. It's influenced our choice of flash media, versus incorporating a disc drive; and number two, the screen is large and gorgeous – it's also OLED, which is fantastically good for low power consumption as well. So there's two, I think strong, features there that bode well for battery life.

Eurogamer In terms of the media games will come on, will everything be available through the PlayStation Store? And will everything also be available on cart?
Andrew House

Yes, and no. So what we're intending to do is have everything available on PlayStation Store, and potentially be on physical media as well.

But I think an area that is exciting for us is, if you have games that are only available for digital download, you remove clearly a huge amount of risk for publishers. What that, we hope, trends to is more innovation, some greater risk-taking creatively, by that flexibility of being able to deliver only in the digital space.

NGP sounds like a quango or a parking lot. What was wrong with PSP2?

I wouldn't want to call too many things too early, but I think what you'll see in the physical space is the larger, and I mean in terms of data capacity but also in terms of bigger, blockbuster franchises that will probably lend themselves more to the physical medium – you know, big games that you don't necessarily want to spend an awful lot of time downloading.

Eurogamer How will 3G work? Obviously that's a major and very interesting new feature for a handheld console. But you have to have network partners presumably, and there must be some cost for the user, at the end of the day?
Andrew House

I think the answer to both those questions is yes. You'll hear more from us around that aspect of the strategy as we get closer to launch. We are working very hard on partnerships in that area.

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.

Eurogamer OK. Like the iPad.
Andrew House

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.

Eurogamer Will it support online gaming over 3G? Actual simultaneous gameplay?
Andrew House

I'm not sure. [He actually sounds unsure.] I think it would depend very much on the degree of data traffic that's being driven by that online game.

If PlayStation Suite is the gateway drug, NGP is the [censored by our lawyers]
Eurogamer So it might depend on the game?
Andrew House

It might depend on the game. 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.

Eurogamer Any plans for phone or web browsing features?
Andrew House

Web browsing features, yes; phone, deliberately no. We've avoided it.

Eurogamer Why is that?
Andrew House

We think that voice capability carries with it a whole other set of expectations, and we want this to be first and foremost the ultimate gaming experience. We've elected not to complicate that proposition overly by trying to have it be all things to all people including voice and a conventional phone. Clearly [PlayStation Suite] addresses an already vibrant phone marketplace that serves that consumer very well.

Eurogamer Who do you regard as your main competition? Is it 3DS or the iOS devices?
Andrew House

Clearly in the dedicated portable space, we will be in competition with 3DS.

I know you'll think me coy, but our wish when we enter markets is to grow the overall market and landscape, and find new audiences. So in that space, I think we're more or less generally competing for consumers' time, and that's where we place the highest premium. It's our job to deliver fantastic experiences that merit the consumers' investment of their time with our devices.

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About the Author

Oli Welsh avatar

Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.


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