If you’ve had the chance to get your hands on Sony‘s latest venture in the world of gaming hardware, the PS Vita, you’ll know that the step between this new piece of technology and its predecessor (the ultimately average PSP) is both huge and exciting. With a sizeable five inch OLED touch screen that rivals any other in-the-palm technology on the current market and an interesting new approach to handheld gaming (a touch-sensitive panel on the back of the console makes for an interesting way to control the game), is this the future?
Yes… and… erm… no. Ever since the advent of Apple‘s head-crushingly popular iPhone and subsequently iPad, the way that developers create their interactive material has changed significantly; no longer are you restricted to what’s available for handheld gaming (and gaming only) devices and their relatively expensive software choices. Now you can download a game like Angry Birds for less than the price of a shit in a London public toilet and you’ve immediately got access to the a similar volume of gameplay you might find on your typical UMD or Nintendo DS cartridge.
[pullquote_right]What is most promising about the Vita is its capability and its potential; its power lies in its future[/pullquote_right]
So what does this mean for the Vita? Well, the fact that Nintendo last year had to significantly cut the price of their 3DS as a result of disappointing sales figures surely speaks for itself. The presence of a remarkably cheap selection of over 100,000 games on Apple‘s App Store is effectively weeding out the casual gamers from their more determined counterparts, and as a result Average Commuter Joe no longer needs to shell out hundreds of pounds for a distraction on the way to work in the morning. If we’re taking the Vita‘s underwhelming Japanese release as any valid form of measurement, it seems like Sony’s latest handheld console is going to struggle to outsell its predecessor. And if you’ve seen any PSP displays in any game shop recently, you’ll know how well that little black brick managed to stand the test of time. *Ahem*
Considering the price of the console – £279 RRP for the 3G version here in the U.K – you’ll need to be really excited about the list of upcoming Vita releases/live in a forest of money trees to justify parting with such a considerable wad of cash for a mini PS3. Again, it really seems that Sony are targeting the hardcore gamers with their pricing range, and even the most optimistic of sales analysts are relying on is the inevitable price drop that will most likely accompany a big release like Crap of Doody: Modern Wankfuckstupid. According to a Sony official who spoke with ComputersAndVideoGames, a price cut is “not on [our] radar”. Time will tell.
But of course, we can’t forget what we’re actually dealing with here, let’s not get carried away. Sony have secured an impressive list of launch title games (including a stunning new addition to the Uncharted series) and both the hardware and software is without a doubt both more powerful and capable than Nintendo‘s eyesore of a competitor. What is most promising about the Vita is its capability, and if its potential is capitalised upon by major developers, then we might well imagine Sony executives frolicking in swimming pools of our cash as a result (because they definitely don’t do that already). With no official sales figures to go by following the console’s US release, we can only patiently wait and primitively guess at what’s really happening with the PS Vita. Stay tuned for more.