The head of Worldwide Studios development is not only responsible for the platform holder's phenomenal game line-up, but also has an input in the direction of the NGP. That direction is not designed to compete with smartphones according to Shuhei. Why? Because Sony can't compete in that space.
Chatting with EDGE, Shuhei spoke candidly about the mistakes Sony made with the PSP. He highlighted that the PSP's inability to offer unique experiences away from the console space — something Sony's rectified with the NGP's multitude of control inputs.
Just having nice graphics is not enough; people prefer playing on a large screen at home. That was the biggest lesson we learned in designing NGP, Yoshida said.
Of course we advanced the CPU and GPU again, and developed the 5-inch OLED, but Im sure in a couple of years people will get used to seeing it, so if we stop there well make the same mistake we did on PSP.
So what we made sure was to bring enough new hooks on NGP so that we can continue to create unique gaming experiences that you cannot get on consoles. Touch capability on both front and back, AR, sensors, social connectivity: these features will challenge NGP developers ability to create longer than PSP.
The NGP's five-inch screen makes it a much bigger device than previous ventures from Sony, such as the PSPgo. It's a feature Sony decided to pursue after realising that it can't compete with smartphones.
We went for a large screen with NGP because looking at how people are adapting to smartphones in a couple of years everybody will have one, and everybody will have the opportunity to play downloaded application games. So we have to create enough strong reasons for people to look at NGP in addition to the smartphone they already have.
We are not trying to compete with smartphones.
Looking at the adoption of the iPad and other tablets, if there are enough reasons, people do want another device. People might carry NGP with them or use it at home thats ok. NGP like PSP was is your second screen. The portability is very good; not for putting in your pocket, but it can fit in your bag easily as its smaller and lighter than an iPad.
Shuhei's interview almost makes too much sense, and it's worth reading through to get a better idea of Sony's direction for the NGP.