With the orange glow of the rising Sun over Mount Fuji Sony has surprised the world yet again. The PS Vita is available in Japan now. This signals the release of the most highly anticipated gaming hardware of 2011. Catching the world by surprise on Saturday the electronics giant gave it’s loyal Japanese fans an early Christmas present.
With prices ranging from $320 to $380 USD demand was high, even after re-allocating 200,000 units and delaying the world wide release from January 1, 2012 to February 2, 2012. Crowds assembled early and queues built throughout the day until stocks ran out. Akihabara and Ikebukuro are just two of Japans legendary gadget and electronics shopping districts that played host to much of the excitement, for those lucky few gadget loving fans that got in quick.
The most highly anticipated launch since the last generation of consoles battled for our attention, has already begun. With hundreds of Japanese turning up for the early – 5.30am – opening of the sale the world awoke to the happy smiles of many Sony fans. Sony obviously went to some trouble to execute the launch early with pre-orders being increased by 200,000 units only days before. Sony also heavily marketed the early release on local media, alas leaving the rest of the world in the dark.
Sony took no short cuts this time round when developing the Vita, finally included proper dual analogue sticks ensuring all of the fundamentals are spot on.
There is no compromised on the internals either. The quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor is joined by quad-core SGX543MP4 PowerVR GPU for pixel pushing power. All displayed on a stunning 5 inch OLED screen with 960 x 544 resolution.
System memory, where applications come to life in you computers brain is essential for speed. Sony gave the Vita 512MB of system RAM along with 128 MB of video RAM just for this reason. The PS3 has 256MB system RAM. This should make for a fast and smooth operating system, a snappy interface, along with solid multi-tasking. The specifications actually aren’t far short of the PS3 or Xbox 360, light years and ahead of Nintendo which to be fair markets gameplay over visual performance. See our previous article PSP 2: A Handful of Console for the full specification list.
The PlayStation Vita
The software line-up at release is solid with many big name titles including Call of Duty, Uncharted and Killzone. Also impressive is the number of titles making use of Vita’s new touch screen facilities. Little Big Planet and Little Deviants both put it to great use. Super stardust makes an appearance, released with every new Sony platform since the PS One the classic lives on. Over 20 titles will be available for the world wide launch of the PS Vita in February 2012.
Sony hopes to surpass the sales numbers for the original PSP, which since 2004 had sold over 74 million units world wide. Judging by the pent up demand in Japan they may well achieve their target. While the early launch of the PS Vita has been well received in Japan, at the same time delaying the world wide launch by a month, pushing the roll out around the rest of the world until February 2012, a month later than had previously been announced. We will have to wait and see how that effects the world wide releases momentum.
Price’s currently range between 25,000 yen and 30,000 yen – $320 to $380 -. But with stock selling out that price may actually go up. Entering a crowded market with Nintendo 3DS, iPhone and Android Sony has plenty of competition on it’s hands.
The PS Vita is the first salvo in the next generation console war. Full of next generation technology it leads the pack. New owners of the Vita have been seen on local TV excitedly unboxing and testing their brand new toy in the store, wandering round in circles with oowss and ahhs coming from every corner of the store. Even those unhappy with the slightly delayed world wide launch have to admit the hardware is solid and all feedback is glowing.