Sony is stepping up from their Playstation Portable handheld gaming system by releasing the PSVita, a new, multi-functional handheld system that features high definition touch screens and better Internet capability.
G4TV.com is reporting that the Vita boasts a 16:9 HD aspect ratio OLED screen along with the standard dual joysticks, directional pad, and the familiar Playstation action buttons.
There is also two versions of the Vita, in terms of Internet connectivity. There is a standard WiFi version as well as a WiFi/3G version, with 3G coverage provided by AT&T. However, AT&T will require a service contract, similar to a phone contract.
Games for the Vita can be purchased two ways. Physical copies of the games can be bought at your local video game retailer, but you can also download them from the Playstation Network. In order to download games and save game progress, a Sony memory card must be purchased, as the Vita has no on-board memory.
The Vita sports a variety of other non-gaming functions, according to TheTechLabs.com. Chatting with your friends while watching videos or playing games is featured, as well as front and back facing cameras with face and head detection technology. PSP titles can also be played on the Vita via backwards compatibility, as well as PlayStation minis, PlayStation Suite games, PSOne Classics, videos, and comics from the PlayStation Store.
IGN.com reviewed the Vita and gave it a "great" score of 8.5, citing effective control design and fairly accurate touch screen responsiveness to the Vita's list of pros. However, the high gloss finish of the screen makes the Vita hard to play in bright sunlight.
The built-in battery has five hours of life, but using the 3G capability will drain it quicker, naturally. IGN also states that the 3G connection can be inconsistent at times. They are also not very keen on the camera functionality, stating photos taken were worse than taking them with a Nintendo DS and an iPhone 4.
Games available at launch include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Rayman Origins, and ModNation Racers: Road Trip.
Overall, IGN states:
It is easily the most versatile handheld available, but with the market for dedicated gaming devices shrinking rapidly in favor of smartphones and tablets, it is facing stiff competition.
Pricing starts at $249 for the WiFi version and $299 for the WiFi/3G version. AT&T is offering data plans starting at $14.99 for 250MB and $29.99 for 3GB.