Sony revealed some details about the NGP, including its media format, at a GDC panel last night. That's your Top Story this morning.
During a programming and design session at GDC, David Coombes of SCEA revealed some details about the NGP, including its media format. Currently known as "NVG cards", the proprietary flash cards come in either 2GB or 4GB formats and reserve up to 10% of their own space for save games and patches. This frees up internal memory in the device and also makes it easy to transfer game progress from one device to another.
That's not all that was revealed, though. Developers were pleased to discover that it's apparently "easy" to transfer over existing PS3 and Xbox 360 assets. Some of the hardware, particularly in the graphics department, has been simplified in order to be more practical on the mobile platform and conserve battery life. But Coombes was keen to point out that the NGP would be supporting a wide variety of titles, "from the biggest triple A down to the minis."
The camera in the device was also revealed to have several purposes: firstly, it can record the player and their reactions during play. Anyone who's played Burnout Paradise with a camera attached will know how much potential fun there is in this feature.
Secondly, it can take a photograph of the player and implement this into gameplay, the example of using a photo of the player as a health display was given. Thirdly, the camera can scan in information and use this to produce augmented reality displays, with director of software solutions and development Tsutomu Horikawa's summoning of a T-Rex into the panel's audience proving to be a particular highlight for attendees.
Coombes also touched on Near, a location-aware app which lets you see who is playing games near you, find new friends and enjoy treasure hunts. This sounds very much like an attempt to compete with Nintendo's Street Pass system. He said this feature won't be available at the handheld's launch, but will follow shortly afterwards.
Plenty of exciting features to look forward to, from the sound of things. And many that sound like they're aiming directly for some of the things the 3DS does well. We'll find out who'll come out on top around the holiday season when the NGP finally makes its appearance on store shelves.