Playstation Vita – The future of handheld gaming

After the initial official reveal earlier this year, Sony had a complete blowout on their next generation portable at their pre-E3 press-conference where they revealed the biggest surprise at the show, the price of the handheld, which to the surprise of many is very affordable and has swayed even the hardest of skeptics to take a second look at the system.

Officially named the Playstation Vita, this new addition to the Playstation family is a powerhouse in your hands. With a beautiful 5″ OLED multi-touch screen, dual analogue controls, back touch panel and online networking capabilities, this handheld seems to address all the criticisms which were directed towards the original PSP design. Best of all though, is the price of the unit which is an astounding €249.99 for the Wi-Fi only version, while the 3G capable brother is priced at €299.99.

The PSVita makes away with the old UMD based system, instead opting for games being distributed on custom flash cards which are faster, hold more data, with the possibility of expanding in the future (if the games require more space), and which can be written to, allowing the player to save the game directly on the game card. Of course you will still be able to purchase games online directly to your handheld through the Playstation Store.

With several games demoed on the showfloor at the press-conference, Sony have shown a strong initial lineup headed by their first-party franchises, star among them being the new Uncharted: Golden Abyss being developed by Bend Studios, better known for their work on the Syphon Filter franchise on the PSP. The visuals of the game nothing short of astounding, showing great potential for the power of the PSVita even at this early stage.

The touch controls open up a slew of possibilities for the developers to implement new control methods for their games. In Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the user is free to traverse the obstacles and ledges presented to hinder Nathan Drake in his quest in any way they like. Using the dual analogues and buttons to jump from ledge to ledge can be replaced with using touch controls or even the handheld’s sixaxis motion controls.

Another game which showed great potential and seems to work best with touch controls is LittleBigPlanet, a brand new adventure starring everybody’s favorite, Sack Boy. The game’s complex building and customization system is rendered very easy by the introduction controls, allowing the player to work faster and more efficiently while building their dream game.

After a great showing by PSVita at E3, many touting the price as the biggest surprise of the show the gaming world is full of excitement to get its hands on the device, which will hopefully be by the end of this year globally as announced during the Sony Presser.

Expect more articles covering the many features of the PSVita as we learn more about the device that is poised to carve the future of the gaming handheld market.

By Jacob G.