Vita, the potential next step in handheld gaming: a lumbering behemoth that promises to take us into - well, further into the 21st century. It has a touchscreen interface, which will undoubtedly be more intuitive than its predecessor - I for one am all for taking the Xross Media Bar out back behind the shed and putting it down like a rabid dog - as well as leaderboards, friends lists, cross-game voice chat, a rear touchpad that apparently serves some purpose, and various other bells and whistles. Still, it's not all rainbows made of sunshine; there will, as one might expect, always be shortcomings with a new system, and the Vita is no exception.
More after the jump!
Those interested in purchasing the 3G model - despite the increased price point those of the "positively ballin'" income bracket (okay, it's $50 more, plus recurring fees) will presumably be able to enjoy multiplayer skirmishes wherever they please - should take note of one rather unfortunate restriction: The Vita will have a 20MB download limit. Keep in mind this is per file, and 3G downloads speeds aren't tremendously impressive compared to wifi, but this does mean that downloading games will be out of the question, save for PSP Minis. Sony, seeking to deflect looming criticism over the download restriction, has stated that this came not from the company, but from AT&T. Somewhere, in a vast estate on the outskirts of where "the little people" live, the lone dissident on Sony's board is throwing his glass of port at the roaring fireplace, uttering all manner of curses and shouting "i told those f***rs we should have gone with Verizon."
Probably not, and who knows whether any other provider would have been remotely generous with downloads, but it makes a nice mental image.
So what about all those UMDs - those MiniDisc-like monstrosities that sounded like a sped-up field recording of a steel mill whenever they tried to "do anything?" Andriasang recently posted an article about the Vita FAQ, in which this very question was raised. It goes without saying that the Vita won't support the UMDs themselves, but Sony is currently considering "a service for offering download versions of UMD games at a "special price" for Vita owners. One might imagine that this will be something along the trade-in program for the Go which we North Americans never got, you capitalist pigs; whether this is what to come to pass, and whether we on the more "Flags and Eagles" (and Canadians) side of the pond will once again receive and unwelcome shafting, is unclear. Sony states that more information will be divulged later, but in the meantime, Vita will be able to play all downloadable PSP titles.
They were less forthcoming about PSOne Classics - referred to as "Game Archives" (the Japanese equivalent) in the following quote.
The fate of your Game Archives collection is not so clear. The same response includes a footnote saying that Game Archives games are not included in the response. Details on Game Archives support will be announced later, the FAQ says.
Hopefully this isn't too major, but as Joystiq notes, "the fact that there's more to it than 'they all work' is troubling." I'll reserve my annoyance until Sony releases further details, but the prospect of going without all the PSOne titles I've purchased - I have a rather handsome collection of games - thus having to break out the PSP whenever I'm in the mood for Soul Reaver, is an annoying one. It's not enough for me to go into full-bore, "indignant consumer" mode, but on the spectrum of general annoyance - 1 being "Cub Foods is out of my preferred flavor of Ramen Noodles" and 10 being "Having to decide which member of your family to eat in a barren, post-apocalyptic hellscape" - I'd say this stands about a 3.
So there you have it, from your humble and obedient servant, the latest news on the Vita front. More annoying than a Ramen shortage, but far less annoying than cannibalistic fratricide.
According to the US Platstation Vita FAQ, it looks like PSOne games will be available on the Vita, though PS2 and PS3 games are out of the question for now. From the FAQ:
Q: Is PS Vita compatible with other PlayStation platform games like PS3, PS2, or PSP? Do you have any plan to support other PlayStation platforms in the future?
A: Users can play PSP titles, minis and PSone classics titles which are offered on PS Store. We do no have any plans to make PS Vita compatible with PS3 or PS2 titles at this point.