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Sony: NGP faces same game pricing problems as 3DS

In a portable market dominated by cheap smartphone games, both need to convince software is worth a luxury price

Sony's worldwide studios head Shuhei Yoshida has said he's well aware that the successor to the PSP, currently codenamed NGP, will face the same preconceptions over games pricing that has dogged Nintendo's 3DS.

In a market where smartphones dominate portable gaming with titles at the low price of 59p, full-price handheld console games must convince customers they are worth more than the comparatively astronomical £30-plus price tags.

"The problem is the same. We are dealing with the same issue that Nintendo is," stated Yoshida.

Nintendo's 3DS has suffered from lacklustre sales, with software titles thin on the ground after an initial launch of games failed to have a long-term impact on the charts.

There's no one clear competitor in terms of what NGP offers

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony

"It's up to content publishers, including ourselves, to show people that this is worth £25 or £30 as opposed to 59p. You cannot release the same content that you put on the iPhone for a dollar on to NGP or some other consoles and expect people to pay 20 times that."

But that's where the comparisons end for Yoshida, who believes there is no competitor that compares to the NGP on the mobile and handheld market. The console is purely for high-end gaming, with few additional features to distract from the PlayStation brand.

"There's no one clear competitor in terms of what NGP offers. NGP's going to establish itself as the unique thing that people want to have. NGP cannot be placed against smartphones. You can't make phone calls on it and it's too big to fit into your pocket."

Discussing Nintendo's latest handheld, Yoshida said he believes the 3DS is just an update of previous DS hardware, despite the glasses-free 3D selling point.

"When we were designing the NGP we had no idea what Nintendo was going to do. Aside from the 3D stereoscopic display, they seem to be keeping the same theme that they had with the DS – it feels like an update of the DS to me.

"So what we're trying to do, lots of choices that we made were so different from their choices. It's kind of hard to compare the two, aside from the fact that both of them are dedicated gaming platforms," he added.

The NGP, which comes in two different models, will take centre stage at Sony's E3 press conference next week, where the company is expected to announce the name of PS Vita, pricing and possible release dates.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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