NGP will be backwards-compatible with PSP games, adds dual analog support

Sony NGP (Next Generation Portable)Next week at E3 we will finally learn (most likely) whether or not Sony‘s upcoming handheld gaming device, codenamed NGP is called “PS Vita,” as recent rumors have suggested, or something else entirely. All sorts of pre-E3 preview reports are coming out now about various games for the upcoming portable, but one fact about the device itself has emerged that ought to make longtime Sony product supporters happy.

It has now been confirmed that the NGP will be backwards compatible with PSP games, Joystiq reports. You won’t be able to jam your UMDs into this thing of course, but any PSP titles purchased as a digital download will work just fine on your new portable device. Hey PSP Go adopters: this means you! Any game you bought for the last and least of the PSPs will work!

There’s more too. The NGP’s backwards compatibility will add features to these PSP games. Chief among them is dual analog support, which may well have been the principal design flaw of the PSP that kept it from turning into the portable powerhouse that Nintendo’s DS did. Console-like experiences on a portable device are great, but you need to have console-style controls as well. It is very difficult to build a game set in a 3D world and rely entirely on minimal camera controls. This isn’t to say it hasn’t been done, and successfully at that, but it was and still is a big sticking point with the PSP. Games from the older device played on the NGP will also benefit from the built-in graphics smoothing feature.

The only bummer about this backwards compatibility, as Joystiq notes, is the fact that some very popular PSP games never made their way into the digital download space. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Final Fantasy: Crisis Core and, somewhat amazingly, Lumines all fall into that category.