Sony's successor to the PlayStation Portable
. It makes use of a multi-touch screen much like the iPhone, though with traditional controls in addition. It also continues on with the portable Augmented Reality concept first used by the PSP
. It debuted at the beginning of 2011 in a private press conference by Sony and the official name (Vita) was bestowed to the system at E3 2011.
With their two most recent
systems falling below expectations in terms of sales, Sony decided to pull out all the stops:
- Instead of using the highly custom console technology that the PS3 uses, the Vita uses common smartphone technology. This makes game development easier, considering most developers are already familiar to the technology and they are able to use assets from existing hardware ranging from home consoles to smartphones.
- This is the first widely-available dual analog handheld, addressing a flaw experienced on the PSP.
- In reaction to the growing small casual downloadable game market (such as iOS and Android), Vita features are similar to smartphones, such as a touch screen and motion sensor. Sony will also provide PS Suite, which will allow users connectivity between the Vita and a smartphone/tablet.
- The Vita is Sony's first system to use flashcards instead of optical disks for game distribution. Game flashcards are currently able to hold up to 16GB of information.
- The price is $249 for the Wi-Fi only model and $299 for the model with 3G support.
The system is also quite powerful, with output not too far behind the PS3
in some cases.
Another feature of the hardware is the inclusion of a touch-sensitive pad on the back of the system. The first application was shown at the debut of the system demonstrating Nathan Drake of Uncharted
climbing a vine. Sliding your fingers down the touch pad would cause Nate to ascend the vine. The system also sports an OLED screennote
at a resolution of 960×544.
The PS Vita has a battery life of 2-5 hours depending on the system's settings.
The console doesn't have internal memory, it must be bought separately, in the format of a Sony Memory Stick, a new type of memory stick which so far is exclusive to the Vita; the PRO and DUO Memory Sticks used by the PSP don't work with it.note
The system supports "Cross Play," a cloud saving system allowing gamers to take up and continue their console games on their Vita using the same save file. Games that support this are almost always "Cross Buy" titles as well, meaning that buying them on either PS3 or Vita entitles users to a copy on the other platform as well. Additionally, another 1 GB of cloud save storage has been added for Playstation Plus members as of November 2012.
When it was released in Japan, on December 17th, 2011, it did well for a week but lost 3/4ths of its sales numbers the next, being outsold on Christmas week not just by its main competition, the Nintendo 3DSnote
, but by the original PSP
as well. International figures have been similar, with an impressive start and almost nonexistent sales afterwards. Sales tend to noticeably spike around the time a major title is released, only to die back down in the weeks afterwards.
Following the footsteps of the PlayStation 2
and early versions of the PlayStation 3
, the Vita is backwards compatible with PSP games, though only downloadable games purchased from the Play Station Network
The closest thing it has to Killer Apps
, in both Japan and the US, are Gravity Rush
and Persona 4: Golden