Sony's Kazuo Hirai Says the NGP is a 'Portable Console'

Why did Sony spill the beans on its PSP successor now instead of at an event like E3 2011? Is it really a handheld or something else? And how long should we expect it to stick around?

Sony Social Media Manager Jeff Rubenstein posed those questions and others to Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Kazuo Hirai. We've pulled together a few of the most interesting responses.

Why'd they announce the NGP nearly a year from launch? Why not wait until a trade show mega-event like E3? Or, conversely, why not launch the NGP this spring, to go toe-to-toe with Nintendo's 3DS?

According to Hirai: "We wanted to make sure that talking about the platform in an open manner with all of the publishing partners around the world. And that's really to make sure that we are going to have a wide range of titles. It's really important for us that we start engaging in some real strategic discussions on software portfolio with as many developers and publishers as possible."

Translation: Sony needs time to gets its ducks in a row, but also wants you aware there's a much more powerful handheld in the offing when you're eyeballing Nintendo's 3DS in March.

Is the NGP a handheld or a console? According to Hirai, it's a "portable console."

Translation: Like he said, it's a portable console!

What's the NGP's life cycle? According to Hirai: "It's very important that we have a very stable platform that is in for the long haul, and that means that we're providing a very compelling value to the consumer in that once they invest in our products, it doesn't go by the wayside in two years or three years, but they're able to enjoy that particular console for a very long time."

Translation: Place your bets. We know Sony's fond of 10 year cycles, and we also know handhelds tend to see updates more frequently than set-top consoles, so the NGP's "life cycle" probably depends as much on how Sony defines (or redefines) the platform in the coming years.

One last point of clarification: No Jeff, it's not "safe to say the PSP's the only handheld device that's ever challenged Nintendo's dominance in that arena." You've apparently never heard of a little something made by Apple called the iPhone. Or that other little something by Google known as Android.

Hit the jump for the PlayStation Blog post, or watch the full interview below.

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