The Sony PlayStation Vita, or the Next Generation Console (NGP) as it was originally known, has been a long time coming to the UK. Originally launched in Tokyo on January 27, 2011, the portable games console has taken almost 400 days to reach customers in Europe and the US.
But the wait is now finally over and in a bid to help you decide if the PlayStation Vita is the answer to all your portable gaming needs, we’ve put together our comprehensive PS Vita review, games reviews and all the news surrounding the launch in one, easy-to-manage round-up. Plus, we've summarised the key facts below.
Without a doubt, the PlayStation Vita has blown all competition out of the water in terms of hardware. It features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a quad-core Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU. It may not truly match the power and resultant graphics of the PS3 but it makes a very good job of trying, and it's stunning for a handheld device.
The PS Vita also features a 5in OLED touchscreen with a whopping 960 x 544 resolution, dual analogue stick controllers, Wi-Fi, 3G (optional), GPS, a 5in multi-touch capacitive touchpad on the rear, two cameras (one front, one rear), as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer similar to those seen in the PlayStation Move and an electronic compass. That's a lot of ways to control your games but so far we've found them to work well together, and games like Little Deviants are already taking full advantage of all of them.
While the PlayStation Vita may produce graphics comparable to the PS3, it also comes with a price slightly above that console. The PlayStation Vita will cost £229.99 in the UK for the Wi-Fi only version, with the 3G model setting you back £279.99.
However, in good news for customers, certain retailers are already discounting the handheld console. Supermarket Asda is leading the charge dropping the price to £197 for the Wi-Fi only version and £259 for the 3G version. Other PlayStation Vita deals are summarised below:
PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi only
PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi and 3G
Sony has 36 titles listed as available at launch on the official UK PlayStation Vita site though it doesn’t mention some titles which will be available, such as Uncharted: The Golden Abyss.
However, looking through the list of official launch titles, there should be enough variety to keep most gamers happy including some flagship titles such as Wipeout 2048, Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, FIFA Football, F1 2011 and LittleBigPlanet. Games will be available either as a download or on Sony’s proprietary memory cards.
The cost of games ranges from £40 (Uncharted) to just £5 for some of the downloadable titles like Mindstorm RC. The future is also looking bright with PS Vita versions of the likes of Call of Duty, Resistance and Bioshock all in the works – as well as the much-anticipated, open-world physics adventure Gravity Rush.
As regards playing old PSP games on the PS Vita, you will need to buy them all again as downloads from the PlayStation Store with 275 legacy PSP games available from launch. While this will annoy those who already own the games on the PSP, for those who missed out on the PSP, these games, if properly priced, could provide a huge treasure chest of gaming on a budget.
The PlayStation Vita is an incredible piece of hardware and from initial testing, lives up to its performance promise, delivering near-PS3 quality graphics in a handheld console. The 5in screen, while not quite 720p resolution, is fantastic. Crisp, clear, with vibrant colours, deep blacks and brightness to spare it trounces all other portable gaming console screens.
With an exciting games line-up at launch, and many more on the way, as well as some interesting apps, the Vita could be just what the gaming world has been waiting for.
The PlayStation Vita is certainly not without its faults and chief among these is its less-than-stellar battery life. Maxing out at three-and-a-half hours, the PS Vita will not last a long train journey or flight, and considering portability is one of its biggest selling points, this failure will be too much for some to bear. Then again it’s not all that surprising considering all that processing power and the bright OLED screen. And it's comparible with Nintendo's current flagship, the 3DS.
Another problem is that the PS Vita ties you into using Sony’s proprietary memory cards (8GB costs around £30), which just adds to the cost of what some will see as an already expensive gadget.
In the end you will have to decide for yourself if the PlayStation Vita is the solution to your portable gaming needs. We’d love to hear from you in the comments, letting us know what you think about the PS Vita and if you plan on buying one. Or indeed if you’ve already got one, then let us know your first impressions.