What If The PlayStation Vita Is Just Another PSP?

What If The PlayStation Vita Is Just Another PSP?

I worry about Sony’s new PSP. After the shock of the impressive visuals of Sony’s next-generation portable, the PlayStation Vita, had become familiar, after the pleasant surprise of the new handheld’s price settled in ($US249), I started thinking about the reality of the Vita. Is it just another PSP?

I was an early adopter of the PSP. I enjoyed it for Lumines, Mega Man Powered Up and Wipeout Pure, later for Jeanne d’Arc, and most recently for Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. I wound up enjoying my Nintendo DS more, mostly for game experiences that I believed I couldn’t get anywhere else.

My PSP rarely gets attention anymore, largely because its experience felt lesser than similar experiences on consoles. So I fretted a bit: What if the Vita is another PSP? What if there just wasn’t enough to differentiate Sony’s next, glossy, graphically rich portable game machine? That’s a question I proposed to PlayStation’s Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment’s worldwide studios.

“That’s a question we asked ourselves when we started working on Vita,” Yoshida said in a recent interview with Kotaku. “We looked back on PSP, what we did right and what we didn’t do right with the platform. We were too happy with ourselves, having a PS2-like experience on a portable at that time. We didn’t go too much further from there.

“The initial couple years were great,” he continues. “People were excited to be able to play 3D graphics on the go, but after a couple years, people get used to looking at pretty pictures.”

Yoshida’s story of the PSP, its initial appeal as a portable version of the Sony’s best-selling PlayStation 2 and the dulling of its shine, feels familiar to me.

“When you compare the gaming experience on PSP to what you get on PlayStation 2 and later on PS3, because of the bigger screen on the TV and the dual analogue sticks, [players]feel compromised playing on PSP,” he explains, quite frankly. “You’re not getting much unique on the PSP.”

In designing the PlayStation Vita, its dual touch screens, its dual analogue sticks, gyroscopic control, Yoshida says it was game developers who pushed Sony’s engineering team to offer something unique and compelling to the platform.

“That was the thing at the very beginning of designing the hardware that we wanted to overcome,” he says.

“Of course, we wanted to offer better visuals. That’s the ‘gene’ of PlayStation.”

Yoshida and his teams sounded worried about Vita games being indistinguishable in their appeal from their PlayStation 3 siblings. He says his studios “spent a lot of time looking at it, evaluating devices and creating prototypes of games,” short demos that focused on making Vita not just another PSP.

We’ve seen some of the more interesting uses of the Vita in games like Sound Shapes, LittleBigPlanet, Gravity and Little Deviants. We’ve seen very handsome games that showcase Vita’s power, like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Perhaps its most intriguing is cloud save sharing between the Vita and PlayStation 3, a better leap forward for PlayStation connectivity.

“Hopefully, as people try more of our titles, people will see this is what makes the Vita unique from consoles,” he says.

Sony’s PlayStation Vita also has another concern: development support, which has slowed dramatically in the West. I asked Yoshida if Japan really needs the Vita right now, as the original PSP is still going strong, still well supported. Surely North America and Europe should get it first, I proposed, hoping that he might offer hints about the Vita’s release date.

“It’s very interesting issue that we have faced in the different regions,” Yoshida said, dodging slightly. “Some of the people in Japan insisted that Japan can wait longer for the Vita. The PSP is still so popular. Some of them fear that once we announced Vita, like we did in January, that we might lose momentum, but it didn’t.”

“Each region has its own situations, but we are trying to take the best of those situations,” he added. “Development support from Japanese companies has been incredibly strong; they have some of their best teams working on portable systems. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why the PSP is so popular.”

I like the Vita’s chances. I’ve liked many of its early games. I hope that it’s not another PSP.


  • I don’t really mind if it’s ‘just’ another PSP or not (hardware side of things), I put 100’s of hours into my PSP, there were heaps of good titles for it.

    What I don’t want to see repeated is the developer support for the device after a few years, it became stale after a while.

    That being said, with some of the games already talking about cross platform saving (transfarring, lol), etc… this alone is a big step to crush the developer doubts because if they are already making a PS3 game, the early reports suggest it’s not too difficult to port over to the Vita.

    The PSP originally didn’t have Minis also, or the PS Suite, with them being available at the Vita launch, we should hopefully continually see a lot of smaller unique titles also.

    • with ports reportedly being easy, you think future PS3 games will ship with a PSV version included for trasnfer to the handheld?

      It’d definitely make me consider titles that I hadn’t previously and guarantee a Vita purchase from me…

      • I’m hoping so, because it’s just the logical thing to do.

        If they are going out of the way to provide that function of cross platform play, then the smart money is to bundle both versions in the one purchase. I’m not suggesting we should be getting a free “Vita” version, as I’m happy to pay a bit more, as long as it’s slightly lower cost than buying both separately,

        It can be done either with both titles on the one BluRay and it’s just downloaded to a connected Vita, a standalone Vita Cart or even a code for the digital version, doesn’t matter as long as there is a bundle option.

  • Perhaps the PSV should accommodate the needs of not only gamers, but the everyday person as well. I would certainly enjoy the PSV to be compatible with a number of Android apps (even iTunes would be cool) or even allow some homebrew apps to be interoperable.

    I mean yeah smartphones do that, but to expand the gaming appeal of the PSV to the average joe will open up new opportunities that Sony can capitalise on. I mean I’d certainly enjoy the PSV being able to read comics or e-books. A good internet browser would also be good.

    Certainly it’s not hard to balance the needs of the casual and hardcore gamer.

  • Why doesn’t the psp vita work as a phone yet, it has a 3 G capability. Isn’t it a waste of a G3 capacity?

    • Honestly, you would have to use some kind of headset, and I think most people HAVE a phone already. 3G is moving quickly beyond just being for phones and I am glad not everyone feels the need to include a crappy phone in a device that isn’t at all meant for it. And I see no reason they couldn’t, at any point, develope a headset phone app to use. I’m sure it is going to have some app-store like interface for buying games (Given the lack of UMD, pseudo-SD cards or not) so adding things like that later if there is demand will be possible.

      I have a PSP phat and I loved it, but never could find games that held my attention. Save for a sting in a Thai hospital when Puzzle Quest was my saving grace; I still think the PSP had the best version of that.

  • In my opinion, the Vita is doing just as many interesting things as the 3DS, but with a bigger screen and better battery life.

    And Dominique, PSP can already read comics and e-books. It even has it’s own built in playstation store, and you can rent movies off there as well.

    I really like my PSP, I got one recently and there’s a lot of great RPG’s on it. It’s also got better pricing on it’s online store than the 3DS, and it has a much better range of titles too.

    Even if Vita ends up being another psp, I’ll still get one and be damned please. I’d rather have better games and faster loading times than a gimmicky 3D effect that doesn’t work with Pilotwings very well…

    • Try Monster hunter freedom unite or one of the final fantasy/kingdom hearts games, they are the ones that are still being released and are so addictive

  • I like to think what killed the psp was the speed at which it became obsolete, and the general lack of good titles.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong I found the psp to be a huge load of fun, but the problem was once you hit 2008/9 it started becoming obvious the limitations of the graphics also hindered the visual presentation of games.

    The best thing about the psp however was the fact that the games which were great on psp were pretty much the most amazing things ever, with me clocking many hours on games such as persona 3 portable, disgaea 1/2, jeanne de arc. Those games although were ports, had added features and awesomeness which made them not just a clean port but an improved one.

    If they could push for strong development of high standard games, Vita would definitely go further then the psp ever did, especially considering how poorly the 3DS has been doing.

  • Dual analogue sticks is going to bring it up to the same level of playability as your standard console, so even if it is another PSP, it’s still the first (That I can recall) with dual analogue sticks.

    • Yeah – regardless of all the other stuff like fancy graphics and front/rear touch, I reckon dual analogue is the biggest thing it’s got going for it that the PSP didn’t have. It’ll certainly be the handheld platform of choice for lovers of firstperson shooters.

  • Aside from Uncharted, I haven’t seen anything interesting about the Vita. I’ll probably still buy it day 1 for that price, but I can certainly see a lot more promise in the 3DS software line up in the short term. If Sony shows off some more games that aren’t Sound shapes (or anything else that looks like Loco Roco…) my enthusiasm for the platform might be raised.

  • Dominique stated it well. With Vita equipped with the G3, and a 35 GB memory, why is this cool gadget limited to gaming only.

    I would think multitasking options like a phone, a dictionary, and a real GPS navigation system would market it to all and sundry.

    • Because it’s useless as a device if it’s battery only last 6 hours regardless of what your doing

      And people already have a phone

      Its a big ask to tell people to buy something if they are in a contract

      And it adds unnecessary costs for those who want it solely as a gaming device

  • There is a huge appeal in Japan amongst younger gamers for the PSP to deliver game experiences similar to on a standard console because they are not allowed to use the home television

  • The PSVita is not another PSP, the PSP had limitations that stopped it from succeeding in most markets, but the PSVita has by far exceeded those limitations, Also the PSVita will be the only portable console in the market that can play first person shooters and have a real hardcore online experience. It’ll explode just because of the COD fans.

  • I’ve still got my day one PSP in great condition, use it every single day <3 I've never gotten as much use out of a handheld as I have with my PSP, close times we have had 😉

    • US$250… and before everyone jumps on the “so it should be similar, because of the dollar, blah blah blah” bandwagon…

      It will be higher, EB are currently guessing the prices will be $348 (WiFi) and $408 (3G).

      • omg that sucks, putting a 100 dollar tariff on these things, especially when our AUD is worth more than the US right now.

        screw eb, go to ebay ^^

  • I for one preferred my PSP over my DS, which only got love when a new Harvest Moon game came out. I’ve easily clocked over a thousand hours thanks to Gundam Battle Universe, Disgaea 1 & 2 portable and Metal Gear Solid PO/PW to name but a few titles.

    As long as it has a decent library of titles that cater to the “core” gamers I’ll be content.

  • “I was an early adopter of the DS. I enjoyed it for Mario Kart, Metroid Prime Hunters and Advance Wars, later for Animal Crossing, and most recently for Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. I wound up enjoying my Sony PSP more, mostly for game experiences that satisfies rather than appetises.”

    That’s me, I pretty much jumped ship upon discovering a crap load of RPGs on the PSP, all on bargain bin prices. Win!

  • Everything I hear about the Vita makes me want it less. The only thing wrong with the PSP was that it had a grand total of about six good games and Sony didn’t give a crap about fixing that because they were too busy devising ways to suck up to the casuals.

    PSP2. Better dev kits. Better third party support. Done. But no, obviously its poor sales weren’t SONY’S FAULT, nothing is SONY’S FAULT, so let’s just cram it with bullshit so we can copy Nintendo and sell to people who use it for 30 hours because it’s the hip thing to do then shelve it.

    • 6 games? Obviously you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Just take Monster Hunt series + God of War series + Meter Gear Series, that will be more than your only 6 games claimed.

  • Sorry, but i’d have no problem with PS VITA being a PSP 2. I bought a PSP day 1 and have loved it ever since. Movies, music, games that made me look at a DS game and wonder what the fuss was about, and internet browsing. PS VITA or PSP2, it’s going to be my go to handheld portable gaming system of the next gen.

  • 0ne thing that makes me apprehensive of buying these gadget is its non removable battery?? come 0n?? its portable? thats one of the reasons why people liking it.. Nd how would u charge it if ur not in ur home?? in my opinion its better to have removble batry on it s0 that evry time i used it, im not bothered of getting a lowbat since i can buy an extra battery..

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