A short while back, Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai officially announced Sony’s next generation handheld gaming device the PlayStation Vita. Vita, which was originally codenamed NGP (Next Generation Portable) will succeed the ageing PlayStation Portable, which was announced way back in 2004.
The word Vita means Life, and Sony believes that Vita has the muscles to be able to blur the differences between entertainment and real life for the first time on a handheld console. The Vita has a 4-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a 200 MHz SGX543MP4+ GPU. In short, it blows away Nintendo’s 3DS and other handheld gaming devices like the Xperia Play. The powerful hardware will be well complemented by the 5 inch OLED capacitive multi-touch screen (with rear touch panel) that boasts of a resolution of 960 x 544. The combination of larger than average size with a mightily impressive resolution means that everything from games to HD Videos will look stunning on the Vita.
Vita Announcement Video
Besides the standard PlayStation buttons, the Vita has two analog sticks and a D-pad. The device also has front and rear facing cameras, stereo speakers, six-axis motion sensor, GPS, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sony has tied up with over 150 developers, and there should be an impressive number of titles available at launch. Games for the Vita will be distributed on NVG cards, which will be available in 2 GB and 4 GB sizes. Some of the games that have been announced include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The Vita will also be capable of playing existing PlayStation Portable (PSP) games.
Sony is pushing augmented reality and location-aware games along with social gaming on the Vita. A feature called “Party” will allow gamers in the same room to voice chat with each other. Another feature called “Near” will allow you to connect and play with other gamers around you.
Sony will release two editions of the Vita a Wi-Fi only version for $249, and a Wi-Fi+3G version for $299. In the US, Vita will be exclusive to AT&T. It will be launched during the holiday season this year.
Vita Trailer Video
Vita’s closest competitor is obviously the Nintendo 3DS, which impressed us in last year’s E3. The 3DS’ biggest selling point is obviously its ability to support glasses free 3D imagery. However, when it comes to raw power the Vita absolutely owns the 3DS. Once again, it appears that the Nintendo’s offering will appeal more to the casual gamers, while Sony’s VIta will appeal to enthusiasts and hardcore gamers. However, at $249, the 3DS might be too expensive for casual gamers, but the Vita might be perfectly priced for gaming enthusiasts.