To see if PS Vita is worthy of such outlay I was recently granted a whole weekend at home with an early, pre-release version of the device, so here's my two penn'th.
Unquestionably well produced
The Vita's build quality is as good as anything coming out of Apple or Nintendo. The console is reassuringly substantial with sleek curves and a pleasing finish, just don't expect to be carrying it in your back pocket.
The two sticks are well positioned, keeping thumb ache well at bay during my time with the console. The 5in, 960 x 544 display is a thing of beauty: bright, vivid and sporting a multitouch capability to boot.
Shoulder controllers at the top with dock and headset connectors at the bottom
Vita also hails the return to mainstream of the much maligned motion sensing Sixaxis tech – last seen with fellow vagabond, Lair, turning tricks for cash in seedy motel rooms – though it admittedly makes more sense here, where the screen moves with your motion.
At the heart of the PS Vita is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with 512MB of Ram and quad-core PowerVR Series5XT SGXMP GPU with 128MB of VRam, along with a pair of cameras and stereo speakers. All impressive stuff, yet the actual games are the key to any console’s success. A good job then that, judging from the demo code available for me to preview, there’s already much to look forward to.
Two sticks gaming
Star of the show is undoubtedly the aforementioned Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Visually stunning and scarily close to its PS3 big brother – with amazing water effects and sense of scale – this game showcases the performance of Vita's touch and Sixaxis controls.
Uncharted Golden Abyss: Kick it
Guiding Drake, as he nimbly ascends crumbling cliff faces, is now accomplished by simply swiping in the desired direction. Momentum is gained, as he swings from beam-to-beam, by angling the Vita. Leaping crevasses is simply a matter of touching the opposing side.
Next page: No such thing as a free launch
Re: Not allowed to comment it seems
Commentards are very welcome to slag each other off and call each other names, but I will reject comments that make personal attacks on the site and/or its staff.
Don't like that? Tough. This is not a democracy. There are no first amendment rights.
Anyone who dislikes this is very welcome to delete their El Reg and/or Reg Hardware bookmark(s), and no further correspondence will be entered into, etc, etc.
"A bespoke memory stick - meaning my existing Pro Duo is not supported?"
Aye, the PS Vita Card. Expected costs to be around 3x the cost of regular flash. Just as Sony were phasing out the Memory Stick from their camera ranges, they go and fire the shotgun into the other foot.
Where on earth did you get that price form? The console itself - even the high end 3G enabled version - is ony £270 pre-order on Amazon. So unless you're planning to buy every single game and accessory available at launch, I don't know where you're getting the extra 50% on the bill from.
WIFI Vita, basic memory card and one game - I suspect you'll be able to get for not more than £300. Still a fair lump of cash by anybody's margin, but let's be a little more realistic eh?
I get the point you're making, but
The thing is, although the business models are different, it doesn't mean that the statement "smartphone gaming will be the death of dedicated mobile gaming systems" is necessarily invalid.
For a dedicated game system to be successful, whether mobile or not, you generally need tens of millions of global unit sales, with strong software attach rates, and a life cycle of say 5-7 years.
If either the 3DS or the Vita do not achieve these goals, and if part of the reason they do not achieve these goals is due to competition (based on people actually buying games at whatever price) from smartphones, then yes, smartphone gaming has at least contributed to the death of mobile gaming systems.
FWIW I don't think there are enough gamers out there willing to fork out hundreds of pounds for a new system and multiple games that cost £30 and up anymore, now that you can get mobile gaming fixes from free and up on smartphones. That said I'll be getting one of these, just like I imported my PSP. How many of me are there?
Best use for a PSP
is as a SNES emulator.