The PS VITA ReVITAlised
The PlayStation Vita is a wonderful device. At least that's what Sony Computer Entertainment would have you believe, and they're right. The technology is truly integrated and weaved together, reflective of our technology centric society. With whispers of a failing and doomed device and sluggish sales, let's look at the actual facts and possibilities for the future of this so called "doomed" device or dooms day device. In the 8th generation, the PS Vita is looked upon by hardcore gamers as a device that sustains and embraces the remnants of more traditional and classic handheld game consoles. Handheld consoles such as the original PlayStation Portable or even the the original Gameboy. Read on.
With the announcement of the "NGP" back in 2011 at the "PlayStation Meeting" in Japan -- Yes, I still get a kick out of that name too -- the PlayStation experience would be given a more oval, ergonomic shape and design; as well as LIFE. The PS Vita (also meaning "life" in Latin) launched on February 22, 2012 in North America and Europe with streamlined social services via "LiveArea;" high quality graphics thanks to a four-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a four-core SGX543MP graphics processing unit; a beautiful 5-inch OLED display capable of displaying up to 17 million colors; 3G; Wi-fi, and touch screen capabilities. The platform however was already knee deep in an already transcendental electronics industry with competitors such as top smart phone manufactures including Apple and Samsung; as well as Nintendo and their own handheld gaming console: the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL, respectively. And to a lesser extent: home video game consoles.
The PlayStation Vita also saw the fading out of the UMD (Universal Media Disk) format in favor of the "PlayStation Vita Game Card" -- a proprietary flash memory format; as well as the fading out of non-proprietary memory card storage in favor of high priced proprietary memory storage that range from 4 to 32 GB sizes of storage that was met with cynicism and harsh criticism. But let's not forget that the Vita introduced those and other key new features and technology.
Let's run down a list of current PlayStation Vita games that utilize each of its features: Little Deviants' mini games utilized the Vita's 0.3MP cameras, its rear camera specifically, taking advantage of the game's augmented reality capabilities -- with sixaxis motion as well. When interacting within the game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss utilizes the capacitive touch screen and rear touch pads to navigate and aim, although they are optional control schemes. Wipeout 2048 utilized the rear touch pads of the Vita primarily for acceleration in the futuristic racer, as well as the microphone for voice-input to activate weapons. The accelerometers and gyroscopes for tilt function were also utilized.
Long goodbyes and farewells to our beloved PSP, as the PS VITA loomed in its shadow. In retrospect, the PSP's life cycle saw similar criticisms, but as gamers can tell you the PSP was such a great portable console at the time and height of its life cycle with amazing software. So in the development of the PS VITA, Sony had to transcend the PSP on multiple levels, as there were also some kinks that needed to be ironed out.
Some of the aforementioned features of the PS Vita are welcome additions,but some of the more understated and meatier features include cross-buy and cross-play options, which open up our minds to more fascinating ways of experiencing and owning our media. But wait, there's also PS4 and PS3 compatibility with the PS Vita via the Remote Play feature. Welcome to your future PlayStation experience. In the past Sony were not allotted the sufficient technology to incorporate these features but they have laid the groundwork with previous iterations of PlayStation, as evident of the Remote Play feature present in the original PlayStation Portable, or the party chat functionality of the PS Vita that is absent from its older sibling: the PlayStation 3.
Unique games, unique features, cross-buy, and the cross-marketability with the PS3 and PS4 will shape the PS Vita's mountains out of the PSP's own Achilles hill: software. The software that is offered on the PS Vita include a vast selection of PlayStation Network software readily available. Along with the inclusion of Sony's more popular services and features, the PlayStation Plus paid subscription service makes an appearance with free games and discounts being offered weekly. Sony expects the PS Vita to be in the game for the long haul; and so fans should expect the same, or rather more of the same. Especially when it comes to Sony's hardware. Sony Exec John Koller had this to say about the Vita: “We’re in year one, so we’ll be supporting it for some time. But yeah, it does have its own 10-year life cycle. All of our platforms do -- it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We expect long-term success from all our platforms.” [http://www.psvitahub.com/2012/10/sony-confirms-ps-vitas-10-year-life.html]
As we enter 2013, the PS VITA to date has shipped a total of 2.2 million units worldwide, as of June 2012; however, the criticisms against an otherwise solid gaming machine have been undue. Even going as far as being heralded as the biggest technology flop of 2012. Patience is a virtue bloggers and writers should understand before jumping to conclusions. In the time span between its release date and now, the PS Vita has produced a few more notable games such as Little Big Planet Vita, which won multiple awards; as well as some dreadful games including the recently released Call of Duty for the PS VITA, which could have been a true killer app. Although, these days consoles don't live or die by one killer app. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? No other console manufacturer has Sony's line-up of in-house development studios, so we can not forsake the PS Vita for not having its killer app because it has multiple killer apps that appeal to different gamers, spanning multiple genres.
Let's stop to think so we can cherish these video game consoles for what they are. I believe there is some disservice being done by game developers for the PS VITA as of now, but that may not always be the case as developers come to terms with the Vita's feature set. The PS VITA deserves more recognition as an entertainment device as well, rivaling other video game devices under the stratosphere --any video game device, and I'm including home video game consoles in the mix as well. With the PS Vita's abundance of features, software and services, the PS VITA will most likely see a healthy life cycle that could corner its competition: the Nintendo 3DS and possibly "smart devices."