CEO of casual gaming giant launches attack on Sony's new handheld

GDC11: Ngmoco brands NGP ‘dead on arrival’

Sony’s upcoming PSP successor the Next Generation Portable will be unable to compete with Apple’s iPhone and its digital distribution portal the App Store, a leading casual games exec has warned.

His thoughts echo those muttered by analyst Michael Pachter last year.

“I think they are hurt; I think they’re clearly hurt,” Ngmoco CEO Neil Young said of Sony in an interview with IndustryGamers. “I think PSP is done and the new NGP is dead on arrival.

"It’s really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality.

"I just don’t think Sony’s going to be able to compete with that."

Young, a former high-level EA man, was also dismissive of Sony’s claims that the device is akin to a portable PS3.

“It’s not a PS3 quality experience," he countered. "In terms of getting broad adoption, having great processing power is not necessarily a prerequisite for great adoption in the marketplace.

"You need a range of things and what I think the iPod Touch and iPhone have been able to do is offer people swiss army knife type functionality for a device that plays games really well. It’s not like it’s crap at playing games – it’s pretty good at playing games and it can do a whole bunch of other things as well."

With regards to Nintendo and its 3DS, however, Young was less scathing, though he’s not convinced that 3D is necessarily a key to its potential success.

"I think Nintendo will likely be competitive," he claimed. "My personal opinion is that the 3D piece of the puzzle is kind of gimmicky. But Nintendo has great franchises and there are tens of millions of people who want to participate in those franchises, so that always helps."

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