The PlayStation Vita: The Kotaku Review

If you're in a hurry, you simply need to know that the PlayStation Vita is a very good portable video game machine that excels in ways that Sony hasn't bothered to hype.

If you've got time, well… let's start with a true story:

I recently had the opportunity to look over the shoulder of a teenage boy who was playing some poor man's unauthorised version of Rockstar's hit Western, Red Dead Redemption, on an iPad.

He was struggling to get his cowboy's horse unstuck from a man-sized bullseye target it had trotted into. The target had been propped up in some orange and brown canyon for part of a shooting challenge that had clearly gone awry.

The boy's problem was that he couldn't get the horse to back up.

It appeared that the game's controls were malfunctioning. The game was on an iPad, so its controls were, of course, all touch-screen. There was no back-up-the-horse-button. There were, since this was an iPad game, no buttons or control sticks at al. The game's developers had done what many people who make iPad games do: they had created virtual buttons and sticks. They required the player to put their fingers on parts of the iPad's glass screen and slide them around as if they were touching things that weren't there, simulating the presence of one, maybe two analogue sticks. In this Western, the simulation was clumsy.

The boy's thumbs twiddled on the virtual sticks. The horse stayed stuck. So the boy had to restart his mission.

I watched this happen on flight from Las Vegas to New York. The boy was in an aisle seat, across and one row up from my own aisle seat. He had an iPad. Everyone had an iPad. To my left, in a sign of the machine's borderless ubiquity, there sat a man whose iPad was in Chinese. He played soccer games and virtual card games during the flight. To his left was another man who also used his iPad in Chinese. He played games on his, too.

I kept my iPad in my bag during that flight.

I had a PlayStation Vita to play.

When you have a PlayStation Vita to play, you look at people like the boy with the badly controlling wannabe Western and you just… well, you pity them.

The PlayStation Vita is Sony's second portable gaming system and easily its better one. It arrives here in North America as well as Europe and Australia on something of a timer, as the rise of gaming on iOS and Android devices threatens the relevance of dedicated handhelds much the way Sony itself threatened the dominance of Nintendo's near-monopoly on dedicated handhelds more than half a decade ago.

It was no surprise that I was outnumbered by iPad gamers 3:1 on my flight from Vegas, and not much of a surprise that there was nary a Nintendo 3DS nor PlayStation Portable-that first Sony handheld-in sight. Those of us who choose to play games on machines made for playing games are discovering themselves to be a minority.

If the Vita is going to be an argument for the worth of dedicated handhelds, then it is a nearly perfect argument. This new machine is an extraordinarily capable device -- for gaming. It already rivals its handheld peers and even home consoles in terms of quality gaming experience. It sparkles not just because of its hardware but because of its services, which even on Launch Day Minus 1, are already some of the best-engineered in the medium's history.

Let's start with the hardware. We've got a beautiful five-inch screen and two analogue sticks. The former is almost too generous. It makes games look beautiful but also renders the machine too large to fit comfortably in any pocket but an inside jacked pocket. The sticks are squat enough not to get snagged or snapped when you tuck the system in a bag but have enough range for deep analogue control. This combo, along with four face buttons, a d-pad and two shoulder buttons gives the Vita most of the gear it would need to run any console gaming genre -- from sports, to first-person shooters, to RPGs.

This new machine is an extraordinarily capable device -- for gaming.

The Vita is light and quiet. It may initially give the impression of being inconvenient due to its size, but it's low weight and lack of a disc drive lower the machine's profile. It effectively melts away while you're playing it.

Games run off of thumbnail-sized cards that are so physically insubstantial that I already had to rescue one from the laundry, since I forgot I'd put it in a shirt pocket. Most games can be downloaded to the machine, if you prefer. Games and any other downloaded content are primarily saved on a memory stick, available in various many-Gigabyte sizes. The memory cards are the Vita's most notable hidden cost.

The build of the hardware feels solid and less fragile than I'd feared. I've had a succession of two Vitas since December, first a demo unit and then a real unit, and I've been fairly rough with both of them, tossing both into my bag, carrying one frequently in a jacket pocket. I've never paired them with car keys nor dropped them, but I've also not coddled them or encased them. So far, they're holding up.

The Vita's battery life will be a problem for forgetful people. The machine is holding only about 4-5 hours of battery for me, with Wi-Fi enabled though not always active. The machine is so well-networked through online services that you wouldn't want to deactivate Wi-Fi, to the extent that that saves power. But the battery life in this thing should be fine for the average commutes or non-plugged-in-session as long as you plug the thing in to charge when you get where you're going. Don't forget!

The Vita has a Swiss Army Knife's worth of other entertainment features, which all go in the category of Nice to Have, I Guess.

There is nothing terribly impressive about the Vita's front and rear cameras nor its mic and mediocre stereo speakers. Its front touch screen is better than the laughable stylus-preferred one on the Nintendo 3DS but simply on par with the multi-touch of most modern smartphones and tablets. Its unusual rear touch panel is used widely by game developers, often poorly. It works, but it has not yet proved its excellence. (Good execution: in FIFA the back panel simulates the frame of a soccer goal, and wherever you tap on it with your forefinger is where your soccer player aims his shot at the goal. Bad execution: in Super Stardust Delta you will repeatedly, accidentally activate precious black-hole bombs, because your fingers are gripping the back of the Vita wrong. (At launch the bad examples I could cite outnumber the good.))

It's striking how little a description of the Vita's hardware conveys the actual, positive experience of playing games on the thing. Not since the launch of the Xbox 360 with its Achievements system and revision of Xbox Live has a gaming device been bolstered so much by well-implemented services. The Vita cribs from some of the smart things done with Nintendo's evolving 3DS networking systems. It blows away the primitive iOS Game centre (if not the App Store). Most significantly, it outshines Sony's own services on the PlayStation 3. In fact, the Vita's services and online implementation is so slick, it has finally made my PlayStation Network friends list matter to me.

Before I get too breathless about the gaming and online experience with the Vita -- and I can't really separate the two -- I should qualify things by mentioning that I almost bricked my Vita the day before I wrote this review. All that my Kotaku colleague Kirk Hamilton and I were doing was participating in some cross-game Vita chat (yes, on a PlayStation device, PS3 owners!), then trying to both launch WipEout 2048. Bad move. Our systems both black-screened and appeared to freeze. For a few nervous minutes I had my Vita in possibly-permanent shutdown until I held the power button down for many seconds and it did some sort of emergency reboot. We repeated our steps and, on the second try, everything worked. Take that as a word of warning. Back to the breathlessness…

Playing the Vita is designed to feel like a perpetually social experience.

Who you are and who everyone else is matters when you're using the Vita, because playing the Vita is designed to feel like a perpetually social experience. The Vita supports the same PlayStation Network ID you might also have for a PlayStation 3. With my ID entered, I can go to a program called Near which will scan a several-mile radius and show me icons that represent various people who have played games near my physical location. I can friend these people, check out the games they're playing and even leave them gifts for unlocking stuff in games (they can do the same for and to me). I have a few friends who already have Vitas and live within a few miles of me, so their icons show up. When I was in Vegas for a gaming conference, I could check out the gaming habits of developers and a Sony executive, who were keeping themselves amused with their new Vitas.

Your PlayStation ID also gets you into the system's online shop, which is remarkably easy to access and, like all the apps on the Vita, surprisingly fast. Content on the shop loads quickly, and what a great array of content it is. You can download any first-party (Sony-published) Vita games already, all of them meant to be available, going forward, on the same day as retail launch. You can also download a few dozen PSP games, some smaller games called Minis, as well as movies and TV shows. The games can be huge, easily over a Gigabyte, but they can be downloaded in the background while you do other things on the system. The Vita screen may be larger than it needs to be for games, but for navigating an online shop, it's wonderful.

As you're using the Vita, you get lots of notifications. All of them reside in a list that springs up if you tap the upper right corner of the screen. During my typical sessions with the Vita, I'd get notifications about PlayStation friends who had just signed on, games that had just finished downloading, Trophies I'd unlocks and messages I'd received. Notifications popped up quickly and clearly. Maybe this sounds annoying, but it wasn't. It felt like I was part of a machine that was connected in all the right ways to the rest of the PlayStation gaming and entertainment world.

You can use the Vita as a video player, which it does a fine job as. You can also use it as a music player, which, honestly, I haven't even bothered to try, as that feature seems meaningless to me and my music mostly remains locked to iTunes (which isn't supported here). The Vita is no more likely to be your music player of choice than it is your camera, which gives me a good segue for warning you to not use this thing as a go-to camera. It can shoot stills and videos, but not as well as my iPhone 4. The camera is fine for augmented-reality games that make game characters appear to float through the real world, but as a thing to take beautiful pictures, it's not up to snuff.

The better apps in the Vita are things like Near as well as a convenient text-messaging system for PlayStation Network users and a Party system that enables cross-game chat through the system's speakers and mic.

The best thing about the Vita's apps is that you can have many of them going at once -- even while you're playing a game. When I tested the system's Party feature by chatting with the afore-mentioned Kirk Hamilton, we were (eventually) able to also both run a full Vita game, WipEout simultaneously. When the game notified me that I had to redeem a code on the PlayStation Store in order to play the game online, I was able to leave WipEout without quitting it, keep the Party chat going, jump into the store, redeem a code and go back to the game. Not only did the apps all run, but I had others idling in the background and nothing stuttered. Nothing slowed down. The Vita had the horsepower to juggle all of this.

This the experience I'm breathless about: the Vita isn't just providing attractive, high-end gaming on a beautiful screen but it's able to do that while running several other applications that are useful to a gamer at the same time.

The appeal of the network features only goes as far as your network connection extends.

The appeal of the network features only goes as far as your network connection extends. I have a Sony-supplied 3G Vita, but I do not have a SIM card for it. So I'm playing this $400 machine as a $350 Wi-Fi unit. At home, I get the full experience I've described so far. But on the go, or on a plane from Vegas, I only get the benefit of asynchronous networked experiences. I get the unlocks earned by connecting to Near. I get the most recent friendly game-score challenges that were sucked into my system the last time I was online. This might make you think the 3G unit's ability to be perpetually connected beyond Wi-Fi hotspots would be preferable. But for a subway commuter like me, 3G wouldn't help much.

I'm likely to use the Vita a lot at home on Wi-Fi, which will, of course, put it in competition with my home consoles. Or, at least, I'll probably spend a lot of time setting up my Vita at home before my next commute, downloading games, syncing stats with friends and so on.

So, what of the games? They're the typical mixed bag you get when a system launches. There's no Halo or Super Mario 64 among them. There is no instant classic. We will review several major Vita games, and I'll let those write-ups sift the winners from the losers. I will say here, however, that games such as WipEout, Super Stardust: Delta and Uncharted: Golden Abyss attest to the Vita's horsepower. This machine is a beast. It can run games at smooth framerates with the kind of visual detail that, at worst, matches the best of the iPad and comfortably surpasses older home systems such as the PlayStation 2 or Wii. The games look Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3-esque, though the more you gaze at them, the more you can tell they're not quite at that level.

I've found myself gravitating toward an odd collection of games on my Vita that suggest I'll use this machine differently than I'd thought. Specifically: I thought I was going to be using my Vita to play Vita games. Its excellent online store, however, has made it a cinch for me to stock up on PSP games, and now I've got that older system's Patapon 2 and Tactics Ogre -- downloaded legitimately -- just waiting to become my main Vita games. Wait. Not so fast! I never got a chance to play much of last year's well-regarded Rayman: Origins, a gorgeous side-scroller I have for my PS3. I now have it for Vita, and it seems to look exactly as good on my Vita as it did running on my TV through the PS3.

What we've got here in the Vita is a system that is reaching into the domains of other Sony gaming devices and repurposing that content into a format that is much more convenient for a commuter like me. This is what you get when you have a gaming machine that is both powerful and well-connected to an online store stocked full of substantial games.

There are valid reasons to worry if the Vita would be a good investment:

  • The Vita could be the PSP all over again. Sony pitched the idea of console-quality portable games with its PlayStation Portable. It produced a respected system in the PSP, but one that most Western game developers abandoned early, blaming piracy though a stalled market in the West, where Japanese smash hit Monster Hunter hadn't caught on didn't help. Maybe Western creators won't stick around on the Vita for long, either, especially if they're still chasing gold on iOS.
  • The Vita could once again not be sufficiently different from a PlayStation Console. Sony itself might again find itself recycling too many of its popular console games onto its handheld and fail to strike upon its own Pokemon, WarioWare, Advance Wars, Mario & Luigi or other best-on-handheld series that rival Nintendo uses to keep its handheld system fresh. Nintendo has been able to establish its handhelds as something separate from its console; Sony hasn't made as convincing a justification to non-wealthy consumers yet.
  • The Vita could simply be one too many devices to carry around for people already loaded up with some combination of smartphone, laptop, tablet or 3DS (the last of which is entering its second generation of much better software than what it had at launch).

There are reasons, however, to decide to take this plunge, which is what I recommend:

  • This is indeed, the most powerful and physically capable gaming handheld ever made, one sold for a reasonable price and that supports both the buy-games-at-a-gameshop lifestyle and the download-everything one. It's a connected device that will run classics (eventually from the PlayStation 1, too) and modern games.
  • The Vita has the support of some third parties Japanese developers and, more importantly, the vast assembly of in-house developers in Japan, North America and Europe who have given Sony the ability to regularly turn out very good games under their own label -- they also are likely to have better support from their Japanese studios who've been overwhelmed by the scale of PlayStation 3 development but seem perfectly suited for Vita game creation.
  • Until you reach your fifth hour of consecutive gameplaying on the Vita, there is nothing unpleasant about the machine.

For all the raving here, there's another way to put things. There's another way to recommend the Vita that I think will click with many people, including teenagers who take Vegas-NYC flights:

If there was a Western on the Vita, and if your character in the game found himself on horseback deep in a canyon, walking into a target, you'd be able to back that horse up.

Or turn it.

Or something.

The Vita has the sticks for it, and the Sony people making games for it? They have that kind of sense.

The PlayStation Vita will be available widely in North America on February 22. The 3G unit retails for $419.95 in Australia and can be purchased from February 23. The Wi-Fi unit runs $349.95. The essentially mandatory memory cards run from $US20-$US100.


Comments

    So how's the 3D effect on the Vita? oh wait... I think i'll stick to my 3DS thank you :)

      wow.. a 3d effect that isn't even properly applied to most games is your main selling point?
      Never mind the sheer number of quality games coming out for the vita and the numerous downloadable titles compared to the very very few that get released on the Nintendo store?

        Well maybe i'm blind but the 3D on the 3DS is great...i dont really know why your paying out on it? do you even own a 3DS?

          I do, just recently. And i was a little underwhelmed - but i'm also one of those people whom gets a massive headache from the 3d on the 3DS and find 3d to be a gimic anyway.

          Simply being 3D doesn't make the unit, or a game, great or even really any better.
          It adds nothing, actually.

          So yeah, calm down. It's my opinion, and i don't share an opinion on things i know nothing about.

      bwaaahahahahahah...hahahahaha... HAAAAAHHAAHAHAH.. 3D effect HAHAA stop it, your killing me..hahaha

      oh you weren't kidding... O_o

      I bought a psp, so i'm very hesitant to get a vita.. but time will tell if this thing is supported or dropped like the proverbial stone that was psp. that being said there was (just) enough quality psp titles to justify buying it once it was discounted

      Well that's the most pathetic critique i've ever heard. I haven't bothered touching my 3DS in over a Month now, the 3D effect is above subpar, nothing special. And if anything, I don't even use the 3D effect, I play it for GAMES. and What's that? More Remakes and Unoriginal Ideas coming from Nintendo... AGAIN!? ANOTHER MARIO!? ANOTHER ZELDA REMAKE!? ANOTHER MARIO KART!? ANOTHER 2D SCROLLING MARIO!? please... Something original.

      I'll stick with my Nice big screen and some original content, thanks Nintendo Fanboy.

      Well, if they let you play Metal Gear Acid 2 through the PSP emulator, then you'll probably be able to play it in 3D.

      That game came out in 2006.

      How's that circle pad pro working out for ya?
      Haha. What about the weak social gaming, e-store, battery life, stylus, non-multitasking?

      Notably I own a 3DS and love it.
      I expect I'll like the PS Vita too.

    ....geh. I don't know. Sony...handheld...it doesn't feel right to me.

    So the "mandatory memory cards" doesn't come with the console??? Gotta hate stuff like that

    It's way to expensive! i just picked up a 3DS for $198 aus. Which is about $185 US. May not be as powerful as a Vita but that's not what i'm looking for.

      Oh! and nice review ;)

      not to be that guy BUT 198 AUD is 211.9788 USD our exchange rate is over $1 atm.

        haha that's cool....just dropped massively. 3 days ago the AUS dollar was buying 1.07 US dollars...2 massively stable economies ;)

        SORRY!!!. i mean its 1.07 now!!! 3 MONTHS ago it was below a dollar..spastic moment

        Not to be that guy (*I have EVERY intention to be exactly that guy*) but is US$211 in the ball park of $350+Vita memory card cost?

    I've got my sony experia play, with all it's emulators it's great for gameing in short bursts.If they bring out a vita in the experia play format with phone cababilities I would be all over it.
    Games like uncharted don't eally work on 15 minute train rides and at 40 years old I would fell a little silly playing one on my way to work in a suit.

      "and at 40 years old I would fell a little silly playing one on my way to work in a suit"

      How is it any different to playing a game on any other device anywhere else?
      What should you care how people view what your doing with your own time?

        When playing the Xperia in a suit he can pretend he is sending emails like a responsible adult.

          How is playing a game in spare time not being "responsible?"

          How many people are going to actually KNOW what he is holding in his hands?

            Games are for kids, man! We should be doing spreadsheets on the train! People might point and laugh!

            Honestly I play my 3DS on the train and I am a 30 year old man, sometimes I wear a tie to work! Maybe people think "hey that guy shouldn't be playing a game" but what do I care, I'm too busy playing a game.

        I get this guy's perspective. The stigma of gaming exists - whether we admit it or not - and, like it or not (and I don't like it), you look less professional with a Vita than you do with a newspaper.

        Comfort is comfort, and it can't be helped. If you're uncomfortable gaming in public, you won't enjoy it, so why do it?

      It's funny, the "on a train with a suit" problem is exactly my own. I have a DS and don't play it on the train for this very reason. And I commute 50 minutes each way. This should be a perfect time, but I can't bring myself to do it.

      I'm looking forward to getting an iPad soon as there are enough decent games on there that I (for some reason) don't feel so self conscious for playing. Maybe it's because there are other people on the train now in suits playing iPads, or maybe it's because the games are just more casual and somehow more "OK" for an adult to play.

        I don't know where you live, but whenever I get on the train, there's a multitude of people with electronic devices doing various things. Smartphones, tablets, iPods, the occasional DS/PSP. Who knows what they're doing, but I bet more than half of them are playing games. (Obviously the DS/PSPers are, lol)

        Maybe I don't care because I'm a 'gamer', but I'll happily sit on the train with my favorite device (PSP or 3DS with circle pad) and my headphones and happily game the trip away. I'm 31 years old, and most times I'm in casual dress, but does it matter? Who cares what other people think? You'd honestly rob yourself of valuable gaming time on your daily commute because someone might think less of you for it?

        I made peace a very long time ago with my hobbies, and the firm resolution to not give a good g*oddamn what people think of it. I came home from the Japanese Summer Festival at Docklands in Melbourne on Saturday with a Doraemon mask stuck the side of my head, and played Resident Evil Revelations the whole trip home, with mask still attached.

        I mean I don't expect you to wear a suit and a Doraemon mask, of course, but the point still stands. Bet more than half the people on the train won't even know what that device you're holding is, or what it does.

          I just can't do this. I work on some pretty hardcore projects and the risk of being caught gaming in public is just too high. I think its ridiculous personally, but the reality is that I make decisions influencing hiring and firing people in safety critical domains and it helps no one if people are questioning my judgement.

          You're right of course. So is Chuloopa.

          I wish I felt more comfortable :/

            It sucks, to be sure - and to clarify, I'm not giving you crap for it. It just bums me out when I hear about people who have a hobby but can't indulge because of what other people might think.

            I reckon a Vita would be less obvious than a DS anyway - everyone and their dog knows what a DS is - hell anyone who's got kids does. The Vita is a lot more subtle, I reckon you could get away with it. No one will know what it is, and the people who do will probably be jealous you've got one!

            iPad gaming is a poor substitute. Get a Vita instead! Do it!

              yeah ipad gaming is sh*t. I should know i own one. Before you all laugh at me for owning an ipad i got if for free in a magazine competition OK!!! Anyway the best two games on it are world of goo and plants vs zombies both ported from PC. their arent that many games that a really good on ipad many of them a terrible and have zero depth. ipads arent worth the dollars see and i have an unbias perspective because I'm not influenced by guilt of my purchase.

      I am a suited banker (33 years old) who plays games on my PSPGo and iPad2 while on the train to work. While it is a little socially unacceptable; who really cares? I'm never going to finish VC2 with that mind-set.

        Yeah, iPad/iPhone game development is like a bunch of monkeys flinging poop at a wall. The vast majority will fail to generate any interest beyond disgust and annoyance, but eventually, something sticks to the wall in an interesting enough pattern. With so many monkeys these days there are actually dozens of worthy games to play. Good luck finding them between the freemium titles and the clones.

    Too expensive, need to buy expensive memory cards, unexciting launch titles.

    I didn't think it was possible, but I think they've actually done worse than the 3DS launch!

    Ok they might have a better range of games available at launch, but the whole "you must spend an extra $50 on a proprietry memory card" thing is a disgrace.

      I think the launch range is fairly decent.
      Not blind mowing, but certainly decent. The shortly-after-release scedule is VERY promising, though.

      As for the cards, that's the one thing that has left a sour taste in my mouth. This is exactly why i will be waiting before getting a Vita, as it's the exact thing they did with the PSP and the ProDuo cards.
      Luckily it shouldn't be too long before a much cheaper yet equal quality card becomes available, with any luck.

        I'm taking the wait and see approach.

        If the PSP life cycle is anything to go by there will be a slim Vita in a couple of years, hopefully cheaper and bundled with a memory card and the games library should be pretty good by then too.

    I honestly don't get the Sony hate from everyone when it comes to the Vita.

    Everyone is basing it off of the PSP, more likely because it's popular to hate on the PSP.

    IMHO, the PSP easily blitzed the DS in the sheer quantity of absolutely amazing and original titles and functionality, regardless of whether it had kinda silly discs and a relatively short battery life.
    I can, quite honestly, count on just my two hands how many truly great titles the DS has, whereas the PSP, i have a full 50 or so titles in my collection, with many more missing and qranted, with most of them being absolutely amazing romps...

    Yes, the DS is a great little handheld, and i've only jut got a 3DS and am busily exploring what it can offer me - but the PSP will always be superior, in my eyes at least.

    And if the PS Vita is, as many are saying, a vast improvement of the PSP, then it will truly be one of the greatest GAMING handhelds of all time.

    Just my thoughts...

      Agree with all your comments Chuloopa. The Vita is a Porsche when compared with the 3DS Prius. 3D is a gimmick, the Vita clearly has serious gamers in mind.

      People who don't have the "time" to play or think it's "embarrassing" to play a dedicated portable console should stick to iOS. I'm sure there are a lot of angry birds that need flinging...

      Preordered, and can not wait to get my hands on the Vita.

      The PSP is the greatest handheld of all time. Also the most underrated and most unfairly sh*tcanned. My handheld gaming started the year I got an original green and grey Game Boy 'brick' for Christmas. Fast forward about 15 years and I got a PSP day one. It still gets used to this day. Admittedly, the PSP-1000 is dead and buried, and I now use a Gran Turismo PSP-3000, but the games! Oh the games!

      Monster Hunter (2nd G) Freedom Unite, Metal Gear Solid : Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops+, Disgaea, Disgaea 2, Valkyria Chronicles 2, God Eater Burst, Kingdom Hearts BBS, Crisis Core, Dissidia, Duodecim, 3rd Birthday, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Phntasy Star Portable 1 and 2, Tekken 6/DR, I could go on.

      I still struggle with people calling the PSP a failure with a list like that. I honestly don't think people gave it the time of day because the games weren't there on day one, and all their friends were telling them the PSP was poo, so they just went along with it.

      Now if someone disagrees and says the Nintendo DS is the greatest handheld of all time, I won't argue - that was also a generation defining console, but for me, the games just weren't there. I will respect such an opinion though.

        The funny thing about your list is that there is only a couple that I personally would enjoy, but at the same time I could rattle off a list just a large of other games that I got so much enjoyment out of.

      I think alot of the hate comes from the price and that it's perceived expensive for a handheld gaming console or simply expensive compared to the competitor's product.

      When they were both announced, the Vita was hailed for the fact that it would be the same price as the 3DS, it was literally the best thing Sony could do at that point, then the 3DS had sluggish sales and dropped price and spiked again, instantly Sony was expected to follow, it was as if consumers were entitled to a revised price.

      People want to like any new device that is released, but if it's expensive and/or doesn't initially entice with content the user wants, then it's dismissed and hated on, what it comes down too is perceived value for money. I bought into a PSP at launch (and the ol' 1000 is still kicking) and have had a great time with it, I can certainly see myself having a similar time with the Vita, that's why I will be there on Day 1.

      I was initially amped, but literally every announcement has put me off. Region locking dlc, memory cards etc - it just feels like a grab for cash(beyond normal business profitability) that I don't want to play into. If they had just said the thing was $500 AUD I'd have no problem, but instead they shifted the costs onto peripherals which I'm just not OK with.

      I second that notion

      And whats with all he comparisons to the 3DS? Last time i remember the reason i bought any console was because of the fun games it offered, which is why i still play my Game Boy over my DS and my PSP over my DS.

      Sometime soon i would like to invest in a Vita.

    I'm looking forward to this one, and I hope they keep updating this with new features down the line. If they add most PSN games, PS1 and PS2 emulation, Playstation Plus features and make the mini games comparable with content and price with Apple's store, this machine will be a fantastic investment.
    I also hope remote play works well with the PS3, would help when I'm not able to use the TV due to the missus! I was all ready sold on this device and it looks like the review confirmed it!

    The PSV would be perfect for my commute to work.
    I do 1 1/2 hours each way.
    And I love the potential to continue playing the same game from my PlayStation.
    I have to admit though that I am concerned about developers not producing games for it.
    Still I think I may cave and end up getting one.

    I don't care about any of this. My 3G Vita is full paid and preordered, along with UMvC3 and Army Corps of Hell - and I'm as excited as hell. This thing looks f'n incredible.

    Stop with the 'wah wah', and be excited for what looks like a revolutionary and fun piece of hardware. I'm sick of unnecessary cynicism and bitterness, like it's massively uncool to see something and go 'Hey, that looks awesome!', instead everyone sits there with their arms crossed, shrugging and saying 'Nah, it looks OKAY, but meh.', 'OMG MANDATORY ACCESSORY PURCHASES', or 'It's too expensive!'

    This isn't high school, you don't have to try and be cool. The PSP was a 'failure' at 70 million units, the 3DS was 'botched', remember when the first 18 months of the PS3's life was all 'Wow, this sucks.' Look where they are now.

    But that's my rant, I'm sure someone will call 'fanboi', but that's not it. I'm just excited about new hardware and technology, I'm excited about gaming.

      I... i love you, man!

      This xinfinity! :D
      GET EXCITED!

      We should totally make babies.

        From the sounds of things, we could include 'loops in the equation too. Make things a little more interesting. Or awkward.

          Only in Utah man!

    So pumped for a Vita. I never play games on the go, but I cant resist that beautiful screen..

    The Vita looks great. I really want one.
    But I hate to say, its gonna crash & burn here in Australia. Hard. And only the the hardcore fanboys will tell you otherwise. Just wait....

      I personally enjoyed your assumption that any disagreement with your opinion could only possibly be the work of hardcore fanboys.

        Whelp - i guess we better head to Rowville, Victoria, and burn down the Nintendo Australia Head Office.

          That's only about a twenty minute drive from here. You supply the materials, and we'll go halves in the arson charges.

            haha it's about 20 minutes from my mum's place - are you my mum????

            also - i'll go buy some pool supplies now!

            RARGE! WE'RE FANBOYS AND WE DON'T KNOW BETTER! RARGESSEHEEEE!!!!

              Note I could have gone all kinds of unsavory places with 'mum' ammunition, but I was distracted by talk of pool supplies, fire and possible explosions. Now, wehre was I......

              FIIIIIIREEEEEEEEEPWAPWAPWAPWA!!! MY HEATHEN GODS CRAVE THE UNCONSECRATED ASHES OF NINTENDO'S SIN!!!

              Did someone say tacos?

    Will be buying once Sony releases a special PSVita with Final Fantasy engraving on it with a collectors edition of Final Fantasy X. Keep me posted about that Kotaku!

    Vita Skyrim and BF3 anyone? ¶:Þ

    I think personally that the push to get "full" games on the PSP was what did the most harm to it. The loading times were very ordinary, full games require you to learn the controls and generally take a lot of involvement to complete. You can't just pick it up and play it for 20 minutes or easily pause them if someone bumps you in the train or you have to make space on the tram. Playing these "full" games sounds great, but the environment you are playing in is generally not suited to them.

      Easily fixed.

      The PSP's standby feature was fantastic. At your tram stop? Flick to standby, then to hold and put it in your pocket. Takes about 3 seconds. The unit is for all intensive purposes off, and your game paused, regardless of where it is. Then when you're free, you flick it back on, and gameplay resumes uninterrupted. Same as just closing the lid on your DS/3DS.

      Also worth noting a PSP in standby uses next to no battery power. I've had mine on standby for a couple of days at a time, flicked it back on and the battery hasn't gone down at all.

        This. Simple solution that nay-sayers usually don't consider because it requires a FRACTION more effort than closing a lid...

    i own an iphone and i got a 3DS because i hate gaming on my iphone (except for peggle) then i got the 3DS and realised that it was too uncomfortable for me to hold for more than 30mins and thats with 3D turner off.
    the psv looks great, the connectivity with the ps3 seems promising, the arcade might actually be good (very underwhelmed with the 3DS store) and the ability to have full games (legally) in digital form (even if it is way too much for the memory) is great.

    i think it is a much better launch than the 3DS got.

    however im still not sold as i have a 360, ps3, wii and will get their new versions whenever that is and i dont know if a psv fits with how i play games

    I saw 3 copies of Uncharted at Shin Tokyo in Adelaide. Surprised they had it there. Reserved one for myself and will pick up soon.

    Was going to pick one up, but it simply doesn't look like it's worth the investment.
    As for people calling the 3D on the 3DS a gimmick, you seem to be implying that a gimmick is a bad thing.
    A gimmick is something that sets it aside from other things in a similar market.
    The PSP was a huge disappointment to me, and this looks like it'll follow the same route.

      define: gimmick
      A trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business.

      When a main selling point is a gimmick, I think it is fair to critize said main sell point.

    I WANT to get a Vita, I really do but I just don't have the cash D:
    Reaaallllyyy wanna get WipEout 2048 and Golden Abyss, but I guess I will just wait for a price drop..

    define: gimmick
    A trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business.

    When a main selling point is a gimmick, I think it is fair to critize said main sell point.

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