PlayStation Vita

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PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Vita logo SVG.svg
PlayStation Vita illustration.svg
The first generation PlayStation Vita system (PCH-1000).
Also known as PS Vita
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Manufacturer Foxconn
Product family PlayStation
Type Handheld game console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date
  • JP December 17, 2011[1]
  • NA February 15, 2012 (First Edition)[2]
  • NA February 22, 2012[3]
  • EU February 22, 2012[4]
  • CA October 2, 2012 (3G version)[6]
Other regions: see [note 1]
Retail availability 2011-present
Units sold 4 million (as of January 2013)[7]
Media PS Vita Card,[8] digital distribution
Operating system LiveArea[9] (version 1.61)
Power 2200 mAh;[10] approx. 3-5 hours for games, 5 hours for video, 9 hours for music (in stand-by mode)[11]
CPU Up to 2 GHz[12][13][14][note 2] Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore[15]
Memory 512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM[16][17]
Storage 1 GB flash memory (PCH-2000 model only)
Removable storage PS Vita memory card (4, 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB)
Display 5-inch (16:9) OLED multi-touch capacitive touchscreen (LCD for PCH-2000), approximately 17 million colors, 960 × 544 qHD @ 220 ppi[15]
Graphics Quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4+[15]
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Input
Camera Front and back 0.3MP cameras[18]
Touchpad 5-inch multi-touch capacitive touchpad (back of the console)
Connectivity IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR[19]
Online services PlayStation Network
Dimensions 83.55 mm (3.289 in) (h)
182 mm (7.2 in) (w)
18.6 mm (0.73 in) (d)[15]
Weight Wi-Fi:
260 grams (9.2 oz)
3G:
279 grams (9.8 oz)
Backward
compatibility
PlayStation Portable (download only)[20]
Predecessor PlayStation Portable
Website www.playstation.com/psvita/

The PlayStation Vita (officially abbreviated PS Vita) is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment.[21] It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan and parts of Asia on December 17, 2011,[1] in Europe, North America, South America and Singapore[22] on February 22, 2012,[3][4] and in Australia on February 23, 2012.[5] It primarily competes with the Nintendo 3DS, as part of the eighth generation of consoles.

The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED[23] multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the Vita features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a quad-core SGX543MP graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which supersedes the XrossMediaBar.[15][9]

A redesigned PS Vita model, the PCH-2000 series,[24] was released in Japan on October 10, 2013. It was later released in the United Kingdom on February 7, 2014[25] and in the United States and Canada on May 6, 2014.[26] The new system is 20% thinner, 15% lighter, has an additional hour of battery life, has moved from OLED to LCD, includes a non proprietary micro USB port, and 1GB of internal storage memory.[27] The PlayStation Vita TV, which allows players to play PS Vita games on a television, was released in Japan on November 14, 2013.[28][29]

History[edit]

Pre-announcement[edit]

Rumors of a successor to the PlayStation Portable came as early as July 7, 2009 when Eurogamer reported that Sony was working on such a device, which would utilize the PowerVR SGX543MP processor and perform at a level similar to the original Xbox.[30]

In addition on July 7, 2010, a report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that a new portable device is currently in development by Sony and that it "shares characteristics of game machines, e-book readers and netbook computers".[31] Prior to its announcement by Sony Computer Entertainment, several sites such as Kotaku,[32] VG247,[33] MCV[34] and IGN,[35] as well as the senior vice president of major video game publisher Electronic Arts[36] and Nikkei[37] had confirmed that the handheld existed. Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, had admitted in an interview that they were indeed developing new hardware in the PlayStation family of gaming devices.[38] Development kits for the handheld had reportedly already been shipped to numerous video game developers including both first-party and third-party developers.[39]

On November 17, 2010, VG247 released pictures of an early prototype version of the PSP successor showing a PSP Go-like design along with two analog sticks, two cameras and a microphone. The source of the pictures said that the pictures were of an older prototype version that had overheating issues, and that the design had subsequently been changed to that more similar of the original PlayStation Portable device.[33] Kotaku and IGN corroborated the story, also claiming that the pictures were legitimate.[35][40]

The device was supposedly unveiled internally during a private meeting during mid-September held at Sony Computer Entertainment's headquarters in Aoyama, Tokyo.[32] Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, revealed in an interview with UK video game magazine, Develop that when Ken Kutaragi left Sony Computer Entertainment, the new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, told him to engage SCE Worldwide Studios in the development of the next PlayStation. Yoshida also said that developers were present at the meetings from the very beginning when SCE was developing new hardware, and that SCE had to constantly keep talking with Worldwide Studios developer when developing the new hardware.[38] Further confirmation came on September 16, 2010, during an interview at PAX 2010, Mortal Kombat Executive Producer Shaun Himmerick revealed a successor to the PSP, referring to it as the "PSP2" and stating "...we have a PSP2 in the house and we're looking at the engine, like what can it support. Always a big thing for us is the performance. We're running at 60 fps, what can we do and do we have to build all the art assets over. We're definitely looking at them. PSP2 looks like it's a pretty powerful machine."[41][42] When asked about the PlayStation Portable successor during the Tokyo Game Show 2010, Shuhei Yoshida, said that he could not answer the question though he noted that "Personally, I cannot see Sony not making another portable gaming device."[43] On November 2, 2010 senior vice president of Electronic Arts, Patrick Soderlund, confirmed that he had seen the PlayStation Portable successor when asked about it in an interview though he could not divulge more details.[36][44][45] On December 22, 2010 Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, Kazuo Hirai, answered questions about a potential successor to the PlayStation Portable in an interview with The New York Times, saying that they would impress gamers in the handheld market by using a combination of touch screens and buttons rather than touch screen-only games on competing platforms such as the iPhone and iPod Touch.[46]

The device, then known by its codename Next Generation Portable (NGP for short), was announced on January 27, 2011 at the "PlayStation Meeting" in Japan by Sony Computer Entertainment president Kazuo Hirai.[47] The last time the name "PlayStation Meeting" had been used was in 2005 where Sony outlined the launch plans for the PlayStation 3.[48] In addition, MCV claimed that Sony has told publishers that the device would be "as powerful as the PlayStation 3". Sony later denied this, with the SCEA platform research manager stating "Well, it's not going to run at 2 GHz because the battery would last five minutes and it would probably set fire to your pants".[49] Sony also revealed that the device would be using a mix of retail and digital distribution of games and that Sony would gradually reveal more details during Game Developers Conference 2011 and E3 2011.[34]

Post-announcement[edit]

On June 6, 2011 at E3 2011, Sony announced the name of the device would be PlayStation Vita, along with release and pricing information.[21][50] The name was chosen because "Vita" means "Life" in Latin. The device itself enables a combination of augmented reality gaming and social connectivity, along with the "Near" and "Party" services, nearby networking and cross-game conferencing applications, respectively.

At the Game Developers Conference 2011, Sony revealed some details about the Vita cards during their Next Generation Portable panel. Another storage option, "Removable Memory", was also revealed to be available for the PlayStation Vita. Sony also said they are implementing a "single submission for both formats" to streamline the process of getting games approved for both card-based and downloadable releases.[51] Additionally, it was announced that only 3 of the 4 symmetrical CPU cores will be available to applications[52] along with two cameras, facial detection, head detection and tracking capabilities.[53] Following the Tokyo Game Show, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida confirmed that the console would be region-free.[54]

Sony's Japanese arm told The Wall Street Journal that earlier reports, including those by SCEA president Jack Tretton, suggesting that Japan's recent earthquake would delay the release of the PlayStation Vita in some territories were outright "wrong". Sony representative Satoshi Fukuoka said he expects "no impact from the quake on our launch plan".[55][56]

In August 2011, Sony confirmed that the system would be released by the end of 2011 in Japan but not until "early 2012" in European and North American regions.[57] In October 2011, Sony announced that the system would be released on February 22, 2012 in Europe and North America.

A limited edition was released in North America on February 15, 2012, a week earlier than the official launch, which included the 3G/WiFi model of the device (Wi-Fi model in Canada), the game Little Deviants, a limited-edition carry case, and a 4 GB memory card.[2]

In May 2013, Sony announced that PlayStation 4 games that did not require the PlayStation Camera would be compatible to be played through Remote Play on the PS Vita.[citation needed]

On August 20, 2013, Sony confirmed that the Vita would receive a price drop in the U.S. and Europe, taking effect immediately. The price would be now $199 in the United States and €199 in Europe. The Vita memory cards also dropped its prices, with the 4 GB memory card being cut to $14.99, the 8 GB card being cut to $19.99, the 16 GB card cut to $39.99 and the 32 GB card cut to $79.99.[58]

Hardware[edit]

First-generation (PCH-1000 series)[edit]

In the west, the original PCH-1000 series was only available in black and white, whilst a colour selection of red, blue and silver models were made available in Japan. Various limited edition models were also released in Japan featuring game-specific decals. Pictured is a "Sapphire Blue" variant.

The device features a "super oval" shape similar to the design of the original PlayStation Portable, with a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED capacitive touchscreen in the center of the device.[37] The device features two analog sticks (unlike the PSP which features only a single analog "nub"), a D-pad, a set of standard PlayStation face buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross and Square), two shoulder buttons (L and R), a PlayStation button and Start and Select buttons. Internally, the device features an up to 2 GHz[12] quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor (3 of the 4 cores are usable for applications)[52] and a quad-core GPU SGX543MP4+. The device also features a rear touch pad, two cameras (a front and a rear), stereo speakers, microphone, Sixaxis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass, built-in GPS receiver (only for the 3G version) as well as Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity.[15][9][19][37][59] The two cameras feature the abilities of face detection, head detection, and head tracking. It also allows for customization and personalization.[53][60] The PlayStation Vita has 512 MB of system RAM and 128 MB of VRAM.[16][17] The amount of RAM allows cross-game chat to be used on the system.[17]

The PlayStation Vita has been released in two different variations: one with 3G and WiFi support, and a cheaper version without 3G support, but still including WiFi.[61][62] The 3G service has been partnered with NTT DoCoMo in Japan, AT&T in the US, Rogers in Canada and Vodafone in Europe and Australia.

Unlike the PSP-2000 and PSP-3000, the PS Vita does not have video output capabilities or a removable battery. Sony also confirmed during TGS 2011 that the battery would last 3–5 hours of gameplay (no network, no sound, default brightness level), 5 hours of video, and up to 9 hours of music listening with the screen off.[11] An external battery option was announced in an interview by SCE Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida.[63] PS Vita is equipped with a storage media slot in addition to the PS Vita card slot, so that users can choose their memory capacity based on their use.

Second-generation (PCH-2000 series)[edit]

The second generation PS Vita system, PCH-2000.

The new PCH-2000 series[24] system is a lighter redesign of the device that was announced at the SCEJA Press Conference in September 2013 prior to the Tokyo Game Show. The PCH-2000 series is commonly referred to as either the PS Vita Slim or the PS Vita 2000. The PS Vita Slim was released in Japan on October 10, 2013 in six colors (white, black, light blue, lime green, pink, and khaki).[27] On February 7, 2014, the new model was released in the UK, initially only in black and with a recommended retail price of £180.[64] This model is 20% thinner and 15% lighter compared to the original model. It has an additional hour of battery life, which is most likely due to the switch from an OLED display to an LCD display. Some users have reported significant increase in battery life, even above what Sony stated in their original press release.[65] This model has a micro USB Type B port, which can be used to charge the device along with any standard micro USB cable. The PS Vita Slim has 1GB of internal storage memory. Users are unable to use the 1GB internal memory and any expandable storage simultaneously, as access to the internal memory is only possible if no memory card is inserted.[66] Upon inserting a PS Vita memory card, the system will offer to copy the existing data from the internal memory to the new card.[67]

PlayStation Vita TV[edit]

Front and side views of the PlayStation Vita TV
Main article: PlayStation Vita TV

PlayStation Vita TV (VTE-1000 series system), or PS Vita TV, was announced on September 9, 2013 at a Sony Computer Entertainment Japan presentation. The device is a complete non-portable variant of the PlayStation Vita console system. Instead of featuring a display screen, the console connects to a television via HDMI, allowing users to play PlayStation Vita games in up to 1080i resolution using a DualShock 3 controller (with a later patch to provide functionality with PlayStation 4 controllers).[68] Due to the difference in features between the controller and the handheld, certain Vita games that are dependent on the system's touch-screen, rear touchpad, microphone or camera, are not compatible with PS Vita TV.[29] The device is said to be compatible with over 100 Vita games,[69] as well as various digital PlayStation Portable, PlayStation and PC Engine titles. At E3 2014, a western release for the device was announced under the name PlayStation TV, due for a Q3 2014 release.[70]

As of firmware update 3.15, the system supports Remote Play compatibility with the PlayStation 4, allowing players to stream games from the PS4 to a separate TV connected to PS Vita TV, and also allow users to stream content from video services such as Hulu and Niconico, as well as access the PlayStation Store. The system was released in Japan on November 14, 2013, both on its own and as part of a value bundle including a Dual Shock 3 controller and 8GB memory card.[71] In the future, the PlayStation Vita TV can potentially play PlayStation 3 games via cloud-based streaming, according to Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House.[72] House also states that the system is currently only announced for Asian markets, including China, where consoles had previously been banned, with no current plans for release in North America and Europe.[73] In a later roundtable, Masayasu Ito stated they have noted Western gamers want PS Vita TV more than they thought, stating that Sony needed to figure out the best timing, or the possibility of additional features, before announcing a Western launch.[74]

According to Muneki Shimada, Sony Director of the Second Division of Software Development, the original PCH-1000 series PlayStation Vita already includes an upscaler that supports up to 1080i resolution, however it was decided that the idea for video output for the original Vita was to be scrapped in favour for releasing the PlayStation Vita TV as a separate device for television connectivity.[75] The in-built scaler has been removed from the PCH-2000 series PlayStation Vita model.[76]

Game card[edit]

A PlayStation Vita card (left) and memory card (right).

Software for the PlayStation Vita is distributed on a proprietary flash memory card called "PlayStation Vita game card" rather than on Universal Media Discs (UMDs) as used by the PlayStation Portable.[9][77] The size and shape of the card itself is very similar to an SD card. Some media applications and games require a proprietary PlayStation Vita memory card inserted to be used.[78] 5–10% of the game card's space is reserved for game save data and patches.[51]

Memory card[edit]

The PS Vita is incompatible with standard memory cards, such as SD cards, and instead stores data on proprietary PS Vita memory cards, which are available in sizes of 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB[79] and 64 GB.[27]

As of the 3.10 system update, a maximum of 500 applications and games can be stored on the Vita's memory at any given time.[80] When the limit is reached, applications or games must be moved or deleted in order to access those beyond the limit.[81]

Software[edit]

System software[edit]

LiveArea, the user interface for the Vita

Unlike the PSP and PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Vita does not use the XrossMediaBar interface. Instead it uses a touchscreen-based UI dubbed LiveArea, which includes various social networking features via the PlayStation Network.[9] At launch the PlayStation Vita web browser did not support the proprietary Adobe Flash. However, HTML5, cookies, and Javascript were available.[82] The PS Vita can boot into a "safe mode" in the event that it cannot start normally, allowing the user to update or restore the system software.[83]

As a new feature of PlayStation Vita's Live area, latest game information such as downloadable contents are shown on the game LiveArea. In addition, by scrolling down the game LiveArea, the "Activity" of other users who are playing the same game can be checked instantly.

Games[edit]

Further information: List of PlayStation Vita games
One of the cards used for AR Play, a category of PS Vita games which use the device's camera to provide an augmented reality experience.

Most games are distributed by the PS Vita card and are sold in stores, while some games, such as Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Super Stardust Delta and Escape Plan, are distributed online and can only be purchased from the PlayStation Store.

In addition, several third-party studios showcased technology demos of the device by exporting existing assets from their PlayStation 3 counterpart and then rendering them on the device. Some of the games that were demonstrated include Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Yakuza: Dead Souls, Killzone 3, and Lost Planet 2. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd was also demonstrated to be running on the device to showcase the device's backwards compatibility with downloadable PlayStation Portable titles, which was also shown to be compatible with the PlayStation Vita's additional analogue stick.[84] Unlike the PSP, the PlayStation Vita comes with Trophy support for games.[85][86]

The device is also backwards compatible with most PlayStation Portable downloadable titles, "PSone Classics" downloadable titles, PlayStation minis, PlayStation Mobile games, and videos from the PlayStation Store.[86] On the Japan-region PlayStation Network, PC Engine games are also available for download. On 5 November 2013, it was announced that PocketStation format minigames would be playable on the Vita through the use of an application.[87]

These were the 25 launch games for the PS Vita when it was first released in North America:[88]

Applications[edit]

At Gamescom 2011,[89] Sony announced that Facebook, Skype, Netflix, Twitter and foursquare (later removed)[90] would become available via the PlayStation Store. Additional applications available for download include Music Unlimited,[91] Flickr,[92] Nico Nico, TuneIn Radio, NBA Gametime, NHL Gamecenter, Qello, CrunchyRoll, Crackle, Hulu Plus, Redbox Instant and YouTube.[93][94]

Layout[edit]

First-generation (PCH-1000 series)[edit]

PlayStation Vita Layout.svg

Features[edit]

Cameras[edit]

The device has two (front and rear) 0.3 megapixel cameras, both which run at 640×480 (VGA) at 60 frames/s, or at 320×240 at 120 frames/s.[18]

Backward compatibility[edit]

The device is backwards-compatible with most PlayStation Portable games; however, its lack of a UMD drive limits this capability to those titles which have been digitally released on the PlayStation Network via the PlayStation Store.[95] PS One Classic titles were not compatible with the PS Vita at launch;[96] however, Jack Tretton announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 that they would be available for Vita in the future. Some PSone titles became available in system software update 1.80, released on August 28, 2012. The Vita's dual analog sticks are supported on PSP games; the right stick can be set to mimic either the D-pad, the left stick, the L and R buttons, or the face button cluster of the original PSP system.[97] The graphics for PSP releases are up-scaled, with an optional bilinear filter to reduce pixelation.[98]

PlayStation 4[edit]

The device can be used as a second screen device for the PlayStation 4 for streaming content directly from the console to the PlayStation Vita.[99] Where supported, this allows a game to be played remotely. On May 30, 2013, it was announced that all games developed for the PlayStation 4 (with the exception of games requiring the use of the PlayStation Camera) will be playable on the Vita through Remote Play.[100][101]

Reception[edit]

PlayStation Vita received generally positive reviews from critics although it was criticized for its high price. Kotaku recommended the device, and described it as "the most powerful and physically capable gaming handheld ever made".[102] Cnet.com gave the system a 4/5 stars.[103] IGN gave the system an 8.5/10.[104] "The Gadget Show" gave the Vita a 4/5, and called the system "arguably the best handheld gaming experience around".[105] In 2012, the PS Vita won T3's "Gaming Gadget of the Year" award, beating Nintendo's 3DS XL, OnLive and others.[106]

Despite acclaim for the PS Vita's hardware design, many have questioned its viability due to the emergence of game-capable smartphones and tablets. In December 2012, Victor Paul Alvarez, a shopping blogger on Yahoo!, placed it on his list of biggest technology flops of 2012 because it lacked a killer app (notably the PS Vita exclusive title Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified received negative reviews while the multi-platform Call of Duty: Black Ops II had set sales records).[107] The PS Vita was named number 8 on the "Marketwatch" top 8 product flops of 2012 as its expensive launch price made it difficult to justify as a standalone device.[108] The system's high price for its corresponding memory cards has also met harsh criticism.[109]

Survey from Famitsu, a few weeks before May 9, 2013, said that 46 percent were "more or less 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the PS Vita" and availability of games. It also said that about 54 percent were less than satisfied with the handheld's limited amount of game titles. The average score of 1,500 respondents was 74.92.[110]

Sales[edit]

On December 17, 2011, the PlayStation Vita launched in Japan with around 325,000 units sold in the first few days. Sales dropped 78% in the second week ending on December 25, 2011 to 74,000 units sold.[111] PlayStation Vita sales continued to drop in subsequent weeks,[112] reaching its low since launch during the week of February 13, with only 12,309 units being sold in Japan.[113] (During the same week, it was outsold by its predecessor, the PSP, which sold 14,824 units.)[113] After its global release, Sony announced on February 28, 2012 that the Vita had sold 1.2 million units worldwide, in addition to 2 million game units.[114] The sales number was 2.2 million units at the end of June 2012.[115] PlayStation Vita sales continued to drop in subsequent weeks, reaching its all time low during the week of November 5, 2012, with only 4,021 units being sold in Japan.[116]

In North America, from November 18 to November 24, 2012 (Black Friday week) 160,000 units were sold.[117] After a price cut from ¥24,980 to ¥19,980 on February 28, 2013, sales increased nearly six times, with figures for the week of February 25 to March 3 up from 11,456 to 62,543.[118] The Vita outsold the Wii U in Japan from February 18 to February 24, shortly before its price cut.[119] During the following week, the Vita maintained strong sales, outselling the Nintendo 3DS for the first time in Japan.[120][121]

During the week following 30 June 2013, sales of the PlayStation Vita in Japan spiked to 31,271 units following the release of Toukiden, overtaking sales of the Nintendo Wii U and PlayStation 3. Vita sales during that week significantly increased over the 13,422 Vita consoles sold in Japan during the previous week.[122][123] It was later announced in November 2013 prior to the PlayStation Awards 2013 that Toukiden was the top selling PlayStation Vita game for 2013.[124]

The PlayStation Vita TV sold 42,172 units during its debut week of release in Japan, while the regular PS Vita sold 46,350 units. [125]

Sales for the PlayStation Vita increased to 81,111 units in Japan for the week ending January 5, 2014. This was due in part to the release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster which sold 149,132 copies during its first week.[126]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Release date in other regions
    • RU February 22, 2012[4]
    • ARG February 22, 2012
    • CHL February 22, 2012
    • BRA March 2, 2012
  2. ^ The PlayStation Vita is capable of 2 GHz clock speed, but normally outputs an unknown speed lower than this to increase battery life and keep the device from overheating

References[edit]

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