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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Sony PlayStation Vita Wrap-Up
What Is the PlayStation Vita?
The PlayStation Vita is Sony's next-generation portable gaming console. The new handheld will feature improved graphics and controls and a robust online connectivity. Under the hood, the Vita will be powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU, both sitting on the bleeding edge for the moment. It will also be the first gaming handheld to feature optional cellular 3G connectivity.
How Much Will It Cost?
A Wi-Fi-only version will cost $249, and a Wi-Fi/3G model will retail for $299 in the US. In the UK, the two versions will cost £229 and £279 respectively, while Eurozone pricing for the console will be €249 (Wi-Fi) and €299 (Wi-Fi/3G). In Japan, pricing will be ¥24,980 (Wi-Fi) and ¥29,980 (Wi-Fi/3G).
When Is It Coming?
The PlayStation Vita will be released during the 2011 holiday season. However, a recent leak might have revealed the release date to be November 4.
How Will Data Plans Work?
Sony announced that 3G service will be provided by AT&T in the United States. The company did not clarify whether data plans would be offered on a contractual or month-to-month basis. There were also no details on pricing and international 3G service.
What About the Games and Backward Compatibility?
Games specifically made for the Vita will come on small flash-based memory cards. There is no UMD slot on the Vita for older PSP games. However, the Vita will be able to play PSP games made available through the PlayStation Store.
What Kinds of Controls Does It Have?
Among its conventional controls, the Vita will feature two analog sticks, a D pad, two shoulder buttons, action buttons (triangle, circle, cross, and square), and the usual array of system-related buttons (power, volume, start, select, and PS button).
Sony will also add motion controls to the Vita that come in the form of its Sixaxis motion-sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer) and a three-axis electronic compass.
For the touchy-feely, the Vita will feature a multitouch-capacitive touch screen and a multitouch rear touchpad.
What About the Screen and Cameras?
The Vita will have a 5-inch (16:9) OLED, a capacitive multitouch screen that runs at a resolution of 960x544. By comparison, the Sony PSP featured a 4.3-inch (16:9) screen with a 480x272 resolution. This represents a fourfold resolution increase and almost twice as many pixels per inch (220 PPI versus 128 PPI).
The front and rear cameras on the Vita will run at a maximum resolution of 640x480. They will be able to record at 120fps at 320x240 and 60fps at 640x480.
How Long Will the Battery Last?
Sony made no statements regarding battery life.
What Will Online Access and the User Interface Be Like?
The Vita will allow users to play a game on the Vita and pick up right where they left off on the PlayStation 3. While demonstrating a game called Ruin at E3 2011, the presenters started a gaming session on the Vita and then picked up in the exact same spot on the PlayStation 3 moments later. The PlayStation Network's cloud save abilities help make this feature a reality.
PlayStation 3 user-generated content will be usable on the Vita. Sony demonstrated the feature at E3 2011 with ModNation Racers, where demonstrators imported tracks. An upcoming Vita version of Little Big Planet also promises to let users access levels made for the PlayStation 3.
The Vita will sport a brand-new user interface that replaces the old XMB. Welcome Park, a tutorial program, will help users figure out and experience all the new software that comes on the Vita. Elsewhere, new networking features called LiveArea and Near will let Vita users download games, view an "activity" log with accomplishments from others playing the same game, and let them find out what nearby friends are playing or what they were playing recently. Additionally, Near will also let users gift virtual game items. Another feature called Party will let users chat via voice and text during games and outside of them.