Sony's first major video game console launch in six years hits stores February 22nd and it has the gamers buzzing at the prospect of owning more than just a traditional handheld portable console.
In a gaming era now seemingly dominated by the rise of online, social and mobile games, Sony has done their best to temporarily keep legacy game publishers in the mix. The PlayStation Vita allows you to transfer your PS3 and Playstation Portable games to your handheld console so that you can play your favourite games away from your TV-locked PS3.
It even has all your favourite social networking apps, frontal and rear touchscreen abilities, and is even sensitive to motion like the Nintendo 3DS so you'll want to get a little bit of arm room wherever you may be in the world.
I'll go into some more depth about a number of cool features after the jump as there are many, so follow along.
Cross Platform Game Play
Multiplayer ability allows for PS3 player and Vita player to play against each other on compatible titles when you have Wi-Fi access. You'll also be able to pick up right where you left off on your PS3 with your Vita or vice versa.
Front Touchscreen and Rear Touchscreen
Most mobile games if touchscreen powered force you to use the screen in front of you to perform an action. The Vita's unique rear touchscreen capabilities allow full view of the screen at all times for certain games.
With Sony's six-axis motion sensor, you can play games like Little Deviants while moving around the portable handheld Vita while shooting with the top buttons, for example.
Augmented Reality (Front and Rear Cameras)
Sony says about a future fighting game to be released in the Spring: "From kitchen tops to parking lots, the world is literally your arena as the stasges you fight in are determined by the environment around you."
This type of augmented reality isn't the 3D type that you can see without 3D glasses on the iPhone, but is rather the goal of augmented reality in the sense that we can use the real world and incorporate them into an everyday experience. In this case, a gaming experience.
Sony says: "Use the front and rear cameras to capture and transport your real-world environment into your PS Vita and begin a unique experience through augmented reality gaming. By merging your world into your games, you'll be able to create and customize the most immersive and unique gaming adventure available. Everything is in play".
The PS Vita battery is capable of 3-5 hours of gaming, 5 hours of video playback and 9 hours of music playback. It'll take 2.5 hours to charge from zero and you can purchase a portable charging device to take with you on the road.
The Vita also comes with many apps including your basic social ones like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Further, Sony has built a PS Vita social networking app called "near". Sony says: "near is the social networking app on the PS Vita system that allows you to check in to real life locations and pick-up and or leave gifts for other gamers to find and use in their games. You can also locate and connect weith your Playstation Network friends and other gamers nearby. With near you can check out which games are the most popular and highest rated by fellow gamers near your location."
You can also use the "Content Manager" app to check out what you're storing on the device and transfer games, photos videos or music from your PC, Mac or PS3 directly to the removable memory area.
You can also watch movies using the Netflix app.
The Vita also comes with dual joysticks, something new to portable gaming systems, comes different kinds of gaming functions which could certainly produce a really awesome game in the near future just for the Vita with GPS to locate other potential PS3 and Vita users, and an OLED screen which Sony says is "simply the most brilliant display for the biggest and best games ever designed".
I got to try out a few games like FIFA Soccer '12 and motion-controlled Little Deviants and the rear-touchscreen controlled Michael Jackson game and was impressed by the flexiblity of the portable gaming system to handle so many gaming inputs. There's really a wide variety available for the consumer and the fact that you can play your existing PS3 and PSP games on the Vita makes it that much better.
The Sony Vita is everything you would ever want in a smartphone without the ability to talk and text. It's just a wonder when they'll build in those capabilities to their Sony Ericsson line of phones because that would literally be a complete dealbreaker, now wouldn't it?