Sony finally unveiled the successor the PSP last month, the NGP, codenamed for “Next Generation Portable.” The company wowed gamers with amazing looking titles that rivaled console graphics, and many new features, including dual analog sticks, touch pads on the front and the back, and a new digital initiative with 3G support.
However, something Sony didn’t touch on was pricing. The device is expected to launch by the end of year in Japan. IGN recently spoke to a number of industry analysts to get their prediction on its price and how the NGP will fare in the portable market.
Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter expects Sony to price the NGP at about $250, admitting later that he’s not sure how much the system’s processor costs, so it could be higher.
"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," he said.
Pachter is estimating about 15 million NGPs will be sold in the first year worldwide, telling IGN its long-term success will hinge on the software library, 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," Pachter added. "The 3DS and NGP don’t seem aimed at the same markets, and the NGP’s connectivity is a real boost.
"I’m sure that many hardcore gamers will want both, and if they are cash poor, they will probably buy 3DS for its novelty first. I don’t see it competing with iPhone, but there is clearly a phone coming from Sony. Am not sure the phone is the right device, sounds like the N-Gage 2 to me…"
Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey believes the NGP will cost roughly the same as Pachter’s estimate - $250 – but said that Sony missed its target.
"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," Hickey told IGN. "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."
Not all analysts are predicting a sub-$300 price point, however. Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) is expecting a price of $300 to $350 with physical and digital software priced between $39.99 and $49.99.
He’s also predicting that the NGP will “easily beat PSP sales in North America” and that it will likely launch in Japan 1 to 3 months ahead of western markets. Divnich said in a report that Sony must overcome major obstacles to find success with the NGP.
"Observers tend to forget that the PSP was incredibly successful at launch in North America, selling more units in its first year than the Nintendo DS," Divnich stated. "Long-term, however, concerns about Sony’s digital strategy, lack of publisher incentive and piracy, ultimately resulted in a decreasing support from third-party publishers and a reduction in retail shelf space.
"EEDAR believes that the aforementioned problems of the PSP era will be resolved with the NGP."
We’ll likely get to know more about the NGP - including the price - at E3 this coming June. How much are you willing to pay?Source: psp.ign.com