The PSP has been beaten down these past few years. The UMD format was dying yet Sony decided to go with that as the format of choice for movies and games. They tried to breathe new life into the PSP with the PSP GO. This version was to do away with the UMD format and go download exclusive, via the Playstation Store. An improvement from the original PSP, but the PSP GO’s heafty $250 price tag at launch turned off gamers since it was a mere $50 less than the powerful PS3. Now, we have the PSVita.
The PSVita, has the power of a PS3 crammed into a hand held device. It boasts a 5 inch multitouch OLED screen, front and back cameras, dual analog sticks, motion sensors and six axis sensors, front and back multitouch screens, a D pad, the familiar 4 symbol buttons, and left and right bumper/trigger buttons. The system will also be Wifi ready. With the exception of the front and back touch screens, the layout and design is very similar to the slim version of the PSP. But that is where the similarities end.
The PSVita has front and rear cameras that can be used to have your surroundings interact with your game play. Sony is calling this “Augmented Reality” (AR) and it will allow reality to interact with your virtual reality via your PSVita. Surroundings can be made into fighting arenas and the possibilities of AR are limitless. The handheld will also show off a top of the line 5 inch HD screen that will render colors and shapes similar to that of the PS3. And speaking of PS3, gaming on the PSVista can continue on a PS3 with effortless intergration. Compatible titles will allow you to save your game on your PSVita and continue exactly where you left off on the the PS3.
Now, the PSVita will cost $249 for the standard model and $299 for the 3G model. That’s just as much as a PS3. Also, Sony has teamed up exclusively with AT&T to offer 3G service to those who purchase the 3G model. Based on the crowd’s reaction during the press conference, not many gamers seemed happy about that part of the announcement. I don’t know if it was the price of the PSVita or the partnership with AT&T that caused the crowd’s reaction.
My thoughts on the PSVita are mixed. I think it’s a beautifully crafted handheld and the games look beautiful on the HD screen, but the at a price tag of $250 USD and $299 USD… I might as well shell out the money for a more powerful PS3. The high priced PSP GO irked gamers and even though the PSVita is definitely an upgrade, they may not be willing to pay top dollar for a handheld system when the home entertainment system (which includes a blu ray player) is only a few dollars more.
The PSVita is strong enough to compete in the handheld market which is clearly dominated by Nintendo. But where as Nintendo is full of family friendly titles, Sony has some of the strongest titles that are enticing gamers (Uncharted 3 looks awesome on the PSVita, btw). Only time will tell whether the latest entry into the handheld wars will hold it’s own, but I must say, it definitely has a fighting chance to make a strong dent into Nintendo’s armor. Later!