All the news and hype right now is, of course, geared around the next gen consoles set to release. And rightfully so. But in the wake of all this hype, other news has been developing in the handheld world that could be the kindle needed to get the genre back on fire.
Specifically, I’m talking about the PS Vita and a few key moves Sony is making in Japan to catapult the handheld. Recently, Sony provided information on not only a redesigned and less expensive PS Vita dubbed the Vita 2000, but also gave insight to PS Vita TV and in lesser (but just as important) news, a 64GB memory option that has been sorely needed.
First, the refreshed Vita 2000 sports a slightly sleeker and less bulky appearance that is much lighter to hold and has some modified touches. Mainly, start/select buttons are now round instead of oval, there’s a new smaller port for the charger, round speakers instead of the rectangular look, and a back panel with rounded out grips that cover a larger area.
But the big change was from the OLED screen to a LCD screen. Purists will still go with OLED and video demonstrations of the two side by side clearly show OLED to be the superior screen. Otherwise, Vita 2000 is a refreshing of the original at a lower price point.
But the major news out of Sony was the PS Vita TV announcement. Sporting a PS3 controller and a tiny unit no larger than a deck of cards (6 cm by 10 cm), Vita games can now be played on the big screen with a full controller for that true console experience.
Yes, it does somewhat defeat the purpose of the Vita, but I can see games like Killzone: Mercenary benefiting greatly from this. Plus services like Hulu will be available to stream and further make use of the device. And once the PS4 releases (In Japan), there will be functionality to remote play PS4 through the device, which will really add cohesion to these products that fully immerses the gamer.
And finally, Sony mentioned that a 64GB memory card would be releasing in Japan for the equivalent of $100. I would consider this still pricey for the conversion of GB to dollars, but admittedly as expensive and limited as memory options are for the Vita, this would be the best option. Most Vita owners through quite a few forums have been very vocal about this, and about the next fact.
And that fact is the biggest disappointment about all this great news. We won’t see any of it until Japan sees it first. You see, because many of the major publishers and developers were already working on next gen titles, their markets were primarily Europe and America.
Notice Japan missing? Well, as hard as it is to believe, Japan’s biggest take of the gaming market is in handheld. Great, right? Not so in this case. Sony made the move to release the PS4 in America and Europe before the holidays, but in Japan it will not see release until February 2014.
Because of the cross-functionality of the PS4 to Vita and both to Vita TV, Sony is also postponing release in any markets outside of Japan for the larger memory option as well. So, no Vita TV or the 64 GB memory option, but at least there’s the lower priced Vita 2000.
And so, we’re just going to have to wait until Japan sees it’s PS4 release for the rest of the Vita goodness to come home. That question mark in the article headline makes sense now, doesn’t it?
In the interim, now is truly a good time to jump on board. With the release of the Vita 2000 and the lower price point, coupled with enough good titles and a few stellar experiences, there’s enough content to keep you dazzled for quite a while.
The gears are turning and things are about to heat up in Japan, as much as they are in America and Europe. But all for different reasons, and we’ll have to wait and see when Sony decides to spread the love. I suppose in the interim we should all go get their next gen offering and make them happy, right? Until next time gamers, game on.