back to article Hands on with the Sony PlayStation Vita

It seems fair to state that for a while now Sony's PSP handheld games console has been experiencing something of long and undignified death. Even the Japanese technology giant itself saw fit to limit PSP software releases to largely redundant updates of its EyePet and Invizimals franchises – a move hardly likely to cause a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I shake your hand?

    an excellent article,

    I don't believe that the price for the PSVita is going to remain as it is for long. I honestly do expect the price to drop a few months after the launch, and expect the future release to be bundled with a memory stick (?). Reducing the price at launch should help a few parents to buy it. Sony should really be more considerate of parents who will want to buy the PS Vita for their kids, but will take one look at the price and opt for the PSP-E!

    early adapters will be bitten -just like the 3DS did to them- but at the very least the PS Vita is regional free and is coming with a very very nice line up of games. So I for one won't be cancelling my pre-order.

    While mobile games are good for few minutes of 'distraction', you will need a proper handheld with proper controllers if you want to spend some good time gaming on the move or while away from home (a gaming notebook is good to have... but it is expansive)

    The thing I am wondering about is: on the 3G model we will be allowed to choice our own carrier or will it be part of the package?

    1. Paul Shirley

      The Sega Gamegear should have trounced the Gameboy but 3 hours battery life vs 15 and thtat horrid mono screen and rsi inducing controls seemed more acceptable.

      The amount of effort put into stretching battery life on mobiles tells the same story. Battery life is vital to know.

  2. LuMan

    What price quality!

    Sony have always been expensive, at least initially, but you do get cutting edge and devs have to work effing hard to keep the momentum up as the tech becomes outdated. Nintendo, on the other hand, haven't really been cutting edge since the SNES, but have that magic ingredient we call playability.

    As for this handheld - yep, I'll be buying it. As good as my Xperia Play is, it's no absolute substitute for a 'proper' console. You really need something substantial for frenetic button-mashing and mobile phone buttons and touchscreens just seem too flimsy (oddly, though, the touchscreen on my DS seems perfectly robust). Here's hoping for an early price-drop!

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      @LuMan 08:21

      >> Nintendo, on the other hand, haven't really been cutting edge since the SNES <<

      You obviously never compared the instant loading and relatively massive draw distance of the N64 to the PS1 then. I remember playing Ape Escape on the ps1 and being gutted by how poor the rendering was, fogging everything but a tiny area around your character. Compared to Ocarina and Mario 64 it was a generation behind...

      1. LuMan


        You're comparing a system released in 1994 (PS1) to a system released in 1996 (N64). Other than a higher bit-count (32 v 64) the N64 didn't offer much else over the PS1. Polygon counts were effectively comparable in-game, but the advantages of the N64s Reality Co-Processor (the only thing close to cutting edge on this system) were horrendously offset by the usage of cartridges. Trilinear filtering and 100 channel sound(!) were compromised because of this.

        With respect to instant loading, yes, the cardridge-based media used in the N64 was much faster than the PS1's CD-ROM. So much so that Nintendo played heavily on this for its advertising campaign ("Other consoles use CD S-L-O-W"). But the cartridge format was 20 years old by the time the N64 came out - hardly current gen even in 1996.

        In all fairness I play on my N64 more than my PS1 because the games are more fun - not necessarily technically better.

    2. IronTed

      You still do button-mashing? You're so outdated!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about battery life?

    If this things runs out of juice in just a few hours then it doesn't really matter how good the games are - it would be useless as a portable system...

  4. Belgarion

    My first gen PSP is finally dying. The headphone jack is dodgy and the joystick lever has fallen off. But £400 for a new unit? A bespoke memory stick - meaning my existing Pro Duo is not supported? I only play games occasionally, using my PSP primarily for music, but I do play. Under £200 I might have done.

    Well done, Sony.

    1. Annihilator


      "A bespoke memory stick - meaning my existing Pro Duo is not supported?"

      Aye, the PS Vita Card. Expected costs to be around 3x the cost of regular flash. Just as Sony were phasing out the Memory Stick from their camera ranges, they go and fire the shotgun into the other foot.

  5. Richard Wharram

    That is way too expensive.

    And, way too Sony :)

  6. MJI Silver badge


    From the game forums I frequent I have noticed that a lot of people are wanting to buy even though they are not into handhelds.

    Seen this on a few, but the main lure is Uncharted, but the Resistance game is exciting people and KIllzone PSV is also getting attention.

    All from gamers into the series rather than the consoles.

  7. JBH

    What? No mention of the battery life?

    I've heard that you'll be lucky to get three hours out of the beast, which for a portable device is a bit of an issue...

    No idea whether that's true or not, but it would have been nice if you'd covered it...

  8. Jon Double Nice

    Super Stardust Delta

    Looks a lot like Super Geometry Dust on the Pandora

  9. JDX Gold badge


    Images in the review are all missing for me... anyone else?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: BUG

      You're right, some are missing - apologies for this. Sony sending us bloody CMYK images, which not all browsers support.

      This is being fixed now.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: BUG

        Normal service has been resumed.

        Thanks for your patience, folks.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Video out?

    It strikes me an HDMI out would let this actually compete as a 'real' console. Now mobile devices are getting close to the power of a console, it's an interesting thought anyway.

    Also - is touch-screen really all that, or is it just the current must-have gimmick?

  11. Toxteth O'Gravy

    Barry Shit-for-brains

    What no snarky comments from 'Barry Shitpeas' or whatever this parish's rabid Sony fanboi is calling himself these days?

    Reg giving a generally position write-up for a Sony product too much for you, Bazza?

    Or are you off to collect your cheque from Sir Howard?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not allowed to comment it seems

      Due to the variable moderation rules in force here, where if it suits the agenda it's allowed, if it doesn't, you get silenced.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Not allowed to comment it seems

        Commentards are very welcome to slag each other off and call each other names, but I will reject comments that make personal attacks on the site and/or its staff.

        Don't like that? Tough. This is not a democracy. There are no first amendment rights.

        Anyone who dislikes this is very welcome to delete their El Reg and/or Reg Hardware bookmark(s), and no further correspondence will be entered into, etc, etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        As the second comment I submitted without any personal references was still rejected, I'm guessing you didn't like me pointing out the obvious problems with the review comparing pricing of a brand new product onto the market with something thats been out 5 1/2 years and has through at least 5 rounds of cost reduction/reengineering...

        Like I said, selective moderation.

  12. John Riddoch


    Yet /another/ dumb ass proprietary memory stick from Sony... That's enough to put me off of the thing on principle.

  13. Thomas 4


    As I ranted in another comments section on, would people please shut the hell up about smartphone gaming being the death of the DS & PSP?

    I'll reiterate what I said previously - the DS & PSP are dedicated handheld gaming systems, with very different pricing structures to mobile phones. When Angry Birds costs £34.99 at launch, then you can "start" to make comparisons.

    There's also a question of volumes as well. The PSP sold 185,000 units at launch and the Nintendo DS 87,000 units. Let's extrapolate a little and say both have sold 1 million units ish by now. As of 2008, there were 75.7 *MILLION* mobile phones in use in the UK, a figure which I suspect is closer to 90 or 100 million by now.

    How in the name of fuck can you say that's a fair comparison? If each mobile phone user bought just 1 game, the market share of Nintendo and Sony, two of the biggest games console manufacturers on the planet, instantly gets reduced to 1%.

    TL;DR - When mobile phone games cost the same price, are of the same quality and are of the same prevalance as PSP or DS games, then you can harp on about mobile phones causing the death of the platforms.

    Until then, kindly shut the fuck up.

    1. Funkstain

      I get the point you're making, but

      The thing is, although the business models are different, it doesn't mean that the statement "smartphone gaming will be the death of dedicated mobile gaming systems" is necessarily invalid.

      For a dedicated game system to be successful, whether mobile or not, you generally need tens of millions of global unit sales, with strong software attach rates, and a life cycle of say 5-7 years.

      If either the 3DS or the Vita do not achieve these goals, and if part of the reason they do not achieve these goals is due to competition (based on people actually buying games at whatever price) from smartphones, then yes, smartphone gaming has at least contributed to the death of mobile gaming systems.

      FWIW I don't think there are enough gamers out there willing to fork out hundreds of pounds for a new system and multiple games that cost £30 and up anymore, now that you can get mobile gaming fixes from free and up on smartphones. That said I'll be getting one of these, just like I imported my PSP. How many of me are there?

    2. LuMan
      Thumb Up

      @Thomas 4

      Totally agree. I've got an extensive collection of handheld consoles and they get more playtime than even my Xperia Play (which I love). The advantage of the 'Play is that I can use it surrepticiously at work.

      Handheld consoles have proper controls that are robust enough to do the job. And you can actually see what you're doing on the WHOLE screen - not the 65% that's not obscured by thumbs!

      1. Thomas 4

        Xperia Play

        Been tempted to get one myself because, as you point out, it has a dedicated gaming control system that allows full view of the screen.

        If we wanted to make what I would class as a fair comparison of gaming systems, I'd go for things like PSP vs DS vs Xperia Play vs Nokia N-Gage because they are all dedicated gaming systems.

        Claiming a PSP with God of War and an LG Optimus with Angry Birds are equivalent devices is not on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Total worldwide DS sales are 140million as of sept 2011, of which the UK had 10million as of 2009.

      The PSP has sold 71.4million as of sept 2011.

      They're still hard to make comparisons tho, but for now the major games studios view iphone and android sales as extras on top of their core market. How long that will last I don't know, as a bell weather for the health of these platforms though, just compare how much floor space in, say, Game DS titles get now compared to 2 years ago. It is certainly weakening.

      1. Thomas 4

        Cheers for the more accurate sales info AC

        I'd probably say the DS has more to worry about than the PSP, as the DS caters to a more casual market and thus the game types are more similar. I'd still be very reluctant to call it the death of the handheld games console though.

        It's like the difference between a dog nibbling your hand and walking away with your wedding tackle between its jaws.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best use for a PSP

    is as a SNES emulator.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    can't wait, need vita in my hands, shall be importing.

    This is of course just due to it being called Vita.

    More interestingly how do you charge it?

  16. Jonathan White


    Where on earth did you get that price form? The console itself - even the high end 3G enabled version - is ony £270 pre-order on Amazon. So unless you're planning to buy every single game and accessory available at launch, I don't know where you're getting the extra 50% on the bill from.

    WIFI Vita, basic memory card and one game - I suspect you'll be able to get for not more than £300. Still a fair lump of cash by anybody's margin, but let's be a little more realistic eh?

    1. Bassey

      Re: Where on earth did you get that price form?

      Erm, the paragraph above where he had just pointed out the memory stick will be £100.

      £270 + £100 + 1 game = £400 near as makes no difference.

      And, lets face it, that design REQUIRES a case - so add £20-30 on for that.

      1. Jonathan White

        The most expensive memory sticks may be £100 yes (IIRC the UK price hasn't actually been announced yet) but there's no reason you have to buy that specific one. The cheapest ones will probably be roughly the same price as a game. So as an equally valid guesstimate, Wifi VIta (£230) + Memcard (£30) + Game (£30) = just less than £300 for exactly the same experience as the £400 bundle. Many of the game carts will in fact have 'self save' so you don't even need the memory card.

        Point being you CAN spend £400 if you want to but you don't have to. You can buy an Xbox 360 or you can buy an Xbox 360, a second joypad, Kinect, the charge & play kit and an expensive HDMI cable. But which of those do you need to play 360 games? The cheaper one will do fine.

        Either way the Vita isn't 'cheap' by any stretch, but his statement seemed very much one where he picked the bundle to match the point he already wanted to make, rather than looking at what a consumer might actually need to buy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All part of the agenda of course.

      You can pull apart almost all online reviews, especially gaming reviews, where blogs like this have to keep advertisers happy.

      Take for instance how the idiotic bloggers/press have for years compared the PS3 price-wise against the basic Xbox 360 with no HDD and just a memory card.

      Yet when a game that comes out like battlefield3 that looks totally shit on the cheap HDD-less Xbox, is that the version that gets compared against the PS3 version? (because that's the console that everyone has been using for price comparisions) Of course it's not, a quick move of the goalposts and the HDD-equiped 360 version is compared, as the difference is not so great, and the cherry-picking press can continue to tell everyone that the Xbox is significantly cheaper, and at the same time tell everyone it's only a little inferior to the PS3 graphically too.

      It's uneven playingfield, that keeps the companies with the biggest advertising budgets happy (this usually means Microsoft or Apple).

  17. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Original PSP...

    ... was quite handy.

    It found the PS3 through Wifi immediately, and the PSP acted as a bridge to a NAS to stream video to the PSP.

    It could act as an internet radio through a range of apps ('Jazz or Not Jazz' with its two-position dial was a favourite)

    As a SNES emulator it was good, and also as a Commodore64 emulator.

    Memory Stick prices were okay if you bought an adaptor and put MicroSD cards inside it.

    The whole UMD thing could be bypassed, at least on the 2000 series, by using ROMS (but make sure you own the orginal UMDs, kids!)

    Snagged second hand for around 80 quid, it became good value as a Personal Media Player.

    But Sony: Where's the WipEout and Tekken? I want bleeding eyes and raw fingers!

    These are the titles that draw people to the Playstation, just as Zelda requires a Nintendo, Halo an XBox and House of the Dead a Dreamcast. You've forgotten what 'system exclusive' means!

    1. MJI Silver badge

      It has them - 5 example games on the way

      Uncharted requires a Playstation (Golden Abyss)

      Killzone requires a Playstation (no name yet)

      Resistance requires a Playstation (Burning Skys)

      Wipeout requires a Playstation (2048)

      LBP requires a Playstation

  18. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Build quality.

    Par for the course.

    The important bit with the Sony gear is that you can take 'em apart easily, replace bits, shove back together and they then work.

    This is where they leave Apple and Nintendo (with their addiction to anti-tamper fasteners and clipped-together placcy bits that snap on disassembly) eating their dirt......

  19. TheBully
    Thumb Up

    Last week I bought a PSP 3000 used on ebay for £60 with a couple of UMD games after finding myself struggling to play games on my SGS due to fingers missing the button images on the touch screen and not being able to see all the screen due to it being obscured by thumbs. There is a world of difference between the commercially produced games I have played on the PSP compared to the ones I have downloaded on Android Marketplace. I might get one of those these when the price goes down :)

    Also as for the issue with the new memory stick I bought an adapter that is basically a memory stick pro case wtih two microsd card slots in the side of it. I imagine they will bring out the same sort of thing for the new cards.

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Down


      Second hand, deprecated stuff, cheaper than original, news at 11.

      A product can't get a good review simply by virtue of it maybe being cheaper some day, nor should buying a non-existent-yet third-party adapter be a mitigating factor for the ridiculous new memory card format. I'd be surprised if they came out for a while (it's only for the Vita it seems, so Sony don't need to licence it as they're not trying to permeate the market like the MS Pro etc) plus it's likely the memory cards have proprietary signature/encryption to try and prevent the previous jailbreaking attempts that went on, presumably something similar to MagicGate.

  20. Lamont Cranston

    Seems like a lot of money,

    for a child's toy.

    Yes, my inner-child would like one.

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