PlayStation Vita – Sony’s next-gen portable gaming device

Sony PlayStation Vita, in hands

Sony PlayStation Vita

Sony’s next handheld gaming machine has been going by the name Sony NGP, but at the E3 conference today it was revealed that the device will be called the PlayStation Vita, and its release will be just under 6 months away.

The PlayStation Vita will have a 5 inch multi-touch OLED screen on top, and a multi-touch pad on the underside. The underside pad, and the regular Sony buttons and switches, offer up a whole level of control and complexity to games. There will also be a choice in PlayStation Vita models – Wi-Fi only model, or a 3G + Wi-Fi model.

Wi-Fi and 3G capability bring in a few new exciting ways to play games. Sony’s “near” app is loaded onto the PlayStation Vita, and in addition to showing what games nearby PS Vita are playing, or have recently played, plus share game information and share unlocked content from games, such as character costumes, weapons, and treasures, through something Sony calls “gifting”.

More interactivity with other PlayStation Vita user is the “party” app, that opens up voice chat or text chat during games or internet browsing. This also is pre-installed, as is “Welcome Park”, a tutorial program to teach you how to use all the controls – top and bottom, switch, screen and touchpad.

Sony’s games specifically made for the PlayStation Vita and available at launch will include Gravity Daze, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Hot Shots Golf, Reality Fighter, Hustle Kings, ModNation Racers, Wipeout 2048 and Super Stardust Delta (all actual game names here are possibly working titles only). In between now and the launch third-party games will be announced.

Sony PlayStation Vita, in hands

PlayStation Vita price

Some PlayStation Vita pricing details were revealed, but unfortunately no Australian pricing was given. These are the US, Japanese and European prices, so look at these as a guide only:

Wi-Fi version

  • USA – $249
  • Japan – 24,980 yen (including tax)
  • Europe – 249 Euros

3G/Wi-Fi version

  • USA – $299
  • Japan – 29,980 yen (including tax)
  • Europe – 299 Euros

PlayStation Vita specifications

  • PlayStation Vita Model number PCH-1000 series
  • CPU ARM Cortex™-A9 core (4 core) GPU SGX543MP4+
  • External dimensions approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5 mm (W x H x D) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
  • Screen: 5 inch multi-touch OLED screen (960 x 544), in 16:9 ratio. Approx. 16 million colours
  • Multi touch screen (capacitive type) rear touch pad
  • Multi touch pad (capacitive type) cameras
  • Front camera, Rear camera
  • Frame rate : 120fps@ 320 x 240 (QVGA), 60fps@ 640 x 480 (VGA)
  • Resolution : Up to 640 x 480 (VGA) sound
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in microphone sensors
  • Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass
  • Location: Built-in GPS (3G/Wi-Fi model only), Wi-Fi location service support
  • Buttons: PS button, power button, directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square) shoulder buttons (Right/Left), right stick, left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons (+/-)
  • Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G/Wi-Fi model only), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1) (Wi-Fi) (infrastructure mode/ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR?A2DP/AVRCP/HSP?
  • Slots/Ports: PlayStation Vita card slot, memory card slot, SIM card slot (3G/Wi-Fi model only), multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC IN, Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In], Serial data communication), headset jack (stereo mini jack for audio – stereo out / mono in), accessory port
  • Power: Built-In Lithium-ion battery, AC adaptor
  • Supported AV content format: Music – MP3 MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3, MP4 (MPEG-4 AAC), WAVE (Linear PCM); Videos – MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC)?H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Hi/Main/Baseline Profile (AAC); Photos – JPEG (Exif 2.2.1), TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG

PlayStation Vita release date

The PlayStation Vita will have a global launch, somewhere near the end of the year.

UPDATE 3 August, 2011: In news this week, there will only be one country in which the PlayStation Vita will go on sale anytime in 2011, and that country is Japan.