We all suspected that, when details broke that Sony was planning on unleashing its next-gen handheld console - the Sony NGP - before 2011 was up, it would be Japanese gamers getting their game-on first.

But us Europeans could also be seeing some NGP action this year - with a possible launch date of 11 November (the catchy 11/11/11) being touted in reports.

MCV sources have stated that Western development deadlines have been set so that our versions of the launch titles are ready to go by the end of summer, giving plenty of time for an autumn release.

Sony top bods, including Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton, have previously hinted that the console would land sometime late this year, but possibly only in one territory (presumably Japan) - but this may not yet prove to be the case.

The NGP was officially announced back in January. It features a 5-inch OLED touchscreen with a much-improved resolution of 960x544, a quad-core ARM CortexTM-A9 CPU, a second dual analogue stick, and a Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer). 

The back has touch technology for an all new way to interact with gaming, and there are also cameras front and back as well as a new micro-analogue control stick added on the right of the console.

It is the long awaited follow up to the original PSP. But has it arrived too late? With mobile gaming growing rapidly, is there still room for a dedicated portable gaming system?

What do you think? Is dedicated portable gaming still alive? Would you buy an NGP? Let us know using our new comments system below...

Also, check out Sony PSP vs Sony NGP (PSP2)