Rumor: Sony NGP Memory Halved to Battle Nintendo 3DS

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I'm sure you've heard Nintendo's 3DS isn't doing as well as Nintendo hoped. There's GameStop, complaining 3DS sales are "lagging from what the expectations were in the US." There's Nintendo, admitting late last month that the system's selling much slower than hoped. And then there's the rest of us, who like the 3DS well enough, but—we're smack in the midst of mainstream opinion here—told you most of the launch games were a letdown, because they were.

Still, the 3DS must have Sony on tenterhooks. So much so that they're liable to do anything to keep their NGP games handheld (nee PSP2) price-competitive. Even—gasp!—slash system specs.

French site 01net (the folks who exposed the next Nintendo console's codename) claims that Sony plans to halve the non-3G NGP's system RAM from 512MB to 256MB. 01net also suggests the VRAM's been halved from 256MB to 128MB, but then that's my Google Translate read, which also sees NGP as 'NPM'.

I won't speculate pointlessly about what restrictions those cuts might place on game developers, but the PlayStation 3 has 256MB of RAM and 256MB of VRAM, and the 3DS has just 128MB RAM, so assuming developers are on their toes, why worry? The whole "512MB system RAM" was never writ in stone. Sony never said that number was final in anything like an official capacity.

The other claimed cut involves the system's 16GB internal flash memory (also not part of the NGP's official spec list): 01net says the non-3G model probably won't have it. Again, no big thing, since it'll have an external memory slot, into which you'll no doubt be cramming 32 or 64 or 128 GB cards when it launches.

Speaking of launches, 01net also claims that while the NGP's on track for a Japan launch in 2011, it's been delayed in the West until "first quarter of 2012." I'd call that doubtful. Sony's been adamant about the 2011 launch timeframe before, during, and after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. That, and it'd be crazy to give the 3DS all that unfettered holiday space.

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