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PSP 2, now called the NGP, will arrive by the end of 2011

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(Read caption) Sony NGP, the successor to the Sony PSP, will hit store shelves by the end of 2011. At left, a press handout depicting the NGP.

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At an event this today in Tokyo, Sony confirmed the existence of the Next Generation Portable, or NGP – the handheld gaming device set to replace the current Sony PSP. (NGP = PSP2, more or less.) Details were scarce: The NGP will probably get a 5-inch OLED display, dual analog joysticks, front- and rear-facing cameras, a serious amount of graphics processing hardware, and, as rumored, 3G capability.

NGP pricing and release date remain under wraps, but Sony has apparently said that the NGP will hit shelves by the end of the year.

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Of course, by then, the Sony NGP – sorry, Sony, but that acronym is really grating on us – won't have the next-gen portable market all to itself. Earlier this month, Nintendo announced that its 3D-capable Nintendo 3DS would arrive on March 27. (According to Nintendo, the 3DS will retail for $250, relatively pricey for a handheld platform, but cheaper than the $300 price tag originally floated by scads of tech bloggers.)

So how will the NGP stack up against the Nintendo 3DS? Over at PC Mag, Will Greenwald argues that the fight against "Nintendo's pending juggernaut" will come down to pricing and availability. "Sony is hinting at Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Call of Duty, and Killzone games for the new system, but it might not be enough unless the company also adds some big titles from Capcom, Konami, or Square-Enix in the mix," Greenwald writes.

On the other hand, "if Sony can produce a list as impressive as Nintendo's for its launch window, and if it can keep the NGP's price down around the 3DS' level, we might see one of the most even fights in handheld gaming history," he adds. "Either way, the NGP's impressive specs alone can't carry the system." We agree. Do you? Drop us a line the comments section below.

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