• The Portable About-Face

        Can Vita Defeat the 3DS?
        By Valerie Hilgenfeldt

        As usual, a lot of E3's secrets were leaked in the days just prior to the show, but that hasn't deadened the din surrounding Sony's upcoming handheld, the PlayStation Vita. Formerly known as the NGP, a lot of the Vita's features aren't quite “Next Generation” (as its old codename implied), but the system's abilities showcase how Sony is finally getting with the times.

        Nintendo's Wii demonstrated the appeal of motion sensing technology, but in another electronic entertainment field – namely, that of cell phones and tablet computers – touch screen functionality was what everyone wanted. A bevy of titles on both the Apple and Android platforms have shown how enjoyable touch gaming combined with motion sensing can be, and Sony paid attention. Not only is the PlayStation Vita's display touch-sensitive, but two panels on the back are also, enabling players to simultaneously use all of their digits for touch gaming (and, hopefully, not drop their system in the interim). And if you hadn't already guessed, it has that aforementioned motion sensing technology, too.

        On top of that, the second analog stick is yet another sign of Sony's attentiveness, since that's what everyone wanted on ye olde PlayStation Portable. That and the touch- and motion-sensing technologies already create a fertile ground for versatile gaming experiences, but the Vita's graphic capabilities give it even more growing power. Visually astounding, the Vita features a PowerVR SGX543MP4 graphics chipset coupled with a ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core CPU, a tag-team that produces some of the most incredible graphics ever seen on a handheld.

        Where, then, does the competition with Nintendo come in? As we've noted, Sony is finally getting with the times by releasing a product as fully-featured as the Vita (which does have cameras too, just to mention). Nintendo may have thought they were “hip and with it,” but in the intertwined audio/video and gaming industries, many individuals are openly critical of 3D technology and whether it has staying power or not. Since that's the 3DS's main selling point, what does it have to offer the masses (besides Pokemon)? Admittedly, it does have graphical capabilities superior to that of its predecessor, the DS, but that doesn't mean much – it's easily eclipsed by the Vita's beauty.

        Coincidentally, Nintendo's "Project Cafe" system has controllers with similar features, but they're just that – devices perhaps permanently tethered to a console (although we'll find out the finer details later today). Its 3DS, meanwhile, exists as a risky investment into a technology few have adopted, and little else to excite.

        With that taken into consideration, and despite the colossal failure that was the PSP Go, Sony may have at last crafted the device that will dethrone Nintendo in the handheld market. The Vita will be sold at $250 for a version without 3G/WiFi and $300 for one with, and may be firmly set to become the next portable everyone wants.
        Comments 1 Comment
        1. Hero's Avatar
          Hero -
          I totally agree that given their different values and merits, Vita is a real contender. However I also think this may be the generation of portables no one wants - at this price point, and given the very niche audience that is the technophile gamer, I wonder if people who bought a DS will be willing to graduate or just stick with the DS. Or migrate to iOS/Android for gaming.
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