PS Vita News: No longer called NGP, Sony unveiled the PlayStation Vita at its E3 2011 Press Conference and we review all of the details.
At its E3 2011 press conference, Sony finally unveiled the name of its new handheld device as PlayStation Vita. Codenamed NGP, or next-generation portable since January, ?Vita? translates to ?Life? in Italian. This also means that the new official name confirms the PS Vita trademark rumor that European copyright offices tipped us off to prior to the company's E3 press conference.
The big surprise wasn't the name PS Vita, rather the price of the powerful device. Sony chief Kazuo Hirai said that the Holiday-bound PlayStation device is going to retail for $249 for the WiFi model and $299 for the 3G version. The lower-end price point is intended to competitively market the device against Nintendo 3DS
, which debuted in March.
Hirai also reiterated that the handheld will utilize Augmented Reality functions, 3G and wireless online connectivity to the new PlayStation Suite. A multi-touch screen is found not only as the main display but also on the back of the system for incredible degrees of sensitivity and control. In the United States, he noted that the system's 3G data will be handled exclusively on the AT&T network, which was met by a mixture of boos, hisses and groans.
Vita will have two main social programs called Party and Near, new applications much like PSN that will improve online play and connect players to friends and like minded online opponents. Along with these networking improvements, the most impressive upgrade from PSP to Vita is the visuals. Full HD is achieved perfectly and smoothly on PS Vita and is the closest a handheld has ever been, technically and artistically, to a home system.
One of the games revealed in full was the astonishing-looking Uncharted: Golden Abyss
, featuring Nathan Drake, star of the upcoming PS3 blockbuster, Uncharted 3: Drake's Fortune
. Sony is spending a lot of time showcasing what has become their main franchise in recent years and with good reason. Both titles look unbelievable. The Vita game, Golden Abyss, utilizes the unique double touch-screen system along with motion controls.
The system's unique rear-touch screen was shown off in style by the team demonstrating ModNation Racers
for PlayStation Vita. The multi-touch nature of the rear-touch allows player to mark sections of the screen from multi-editing track modifications, dynamically and in real time as a group. The rear-touch is set to have a much wider usage in other games and from early impressions looks like being one of the most innovative new pieces of technology in gaming.
, a new first-party, action-RPG game for PS Vita, was demonstrated live at the conference. From a traditional isometric overhead angle, the game runs in real time and connects online to a server shared by other players, including friends from Party. Most interestingly, the game can also be played on a home screen by connecting the PS Vita to a PS3. The game itself wasn't as impressive as the concept and technology, hinting at potential options for future titles.
was the other game shown, returning to the franchise that put PlayStation on the map back in the mid 1990s. 2048 is set 50 years before the games in the original run of the series and features a kind of vintage futuristic look that is as charming as it is impressive. Wipeout 2048 uses a new service called Crossplay, which will allow Vita players to play the game against players playing on PS3. Wipeout is long overdue for a revival, which is something Sony have been keen to kickstart, especially since offering Wipeout HD Fury as one of the options in its Welcome Back to PSN
offer that compensates PS3 owners for the PSN hack and downtime.
Also announced for the system was a new entry in the LittleBigPlanet series, which utilizes the two onboard cameras to further enhance customization. Yoshinori Ono from Capcom was on hand to showcase the PS Vita version of their Namco crossover title, Street Fighter X Tekken
, which will exclusively feature inFamous main character Cole McGrath. Sony played a montage video of a dozen more titles for Vita including Super Stardust Delta
, a Top Spin
tennis title and a new game in the PixelJunk
PlayStation Vita, due before Christmas, was fully playable to anyone attending E3 2011, so we'll have a full report on the system this week.