The lights are on
I'm just about wrapping up my barrage of stories about Sony's newly-announced handheld, codenamed the NGP (next generation portable), but I was able to squeeze a few bits of new and clarified information out of my interview with Sony Computer Entertainment president of worldwide studios Shu Yoshida.
During the reveal of the device at the PlayStation Meeting 2011, Sony announced a "new game media" for use on the system. Yoshida clarified that the NGP will be using flash-based cartridges. I asked him whether digital distribution is still an important part of the company's portable strategy following the rocky PSPgo:
"Digital distribution’s role and scope and ratio of sales will definitely increase. It’s just a matter of time as people get faster Internet connections. So the role and importance of digital sales will increase. But at the same time, there are people who just want to buy a game at a store and plug and play. That’s why we decided to adopt the flash media format."
So it sounds like some NGP games will be downloadable via the PlayStation Store in addition to being sold at retail, as was the case with the PSP later in its life. A solution that works for everyone!
Yoshida also explained that there will technically be "two slots" for memory. You'll be able to save games on the regular game cart, assuming you purchased the physical copy of a game, or you can use a memory card that goes in a separate slot in the system. Presumably users will need to use these memory cards for downloading games as well. According to Yoshida, the memory cards are proprietary to the device rather than just regular SD cards -- likely a move to help avoid easy piracy.
Also for those who were wondering, Yoshida confirmed to me that NGP games will feature trophy support for your PlayStation Network account. I asked if the PlayStation Suite games that will be downloadable on the NGP as well as Android-based mobile devices will have trophies, but Yoshida said they aren't ready to talk about that yet.