August 23, 2011

Will Sony Vita Pull People Away From Tablets and Phones?

In a mobile, app-driven world, Sony is convinced that gamers will flock to the PlayStation Vita. Based on the official specs alone, Sony could be right.

In an interview with GameSpot during Gamescom 2011, Sony's director of hardware marketing John Koller said that gamers will discard their smartphones and tablets for the company's delayed handheld console, the PlayStation Vita. The comment isn't surprising given that Sony is trying to push a very expensive piece of hardware, but given that consumers typically only want to carry one device as it is, the idea seems a bit naive in an app-controlled, mobile world.

“When you look at the type of consumer that's playing cell phone games currently, it's someone that enjoys smaller 'kill time' gaming and has not gravitated to the larger, richer, deeper experiences that true handheld gaming provides," said Koller, adding that Sony has done "a lot of quantitative and qualitative research to back this up."

Let's stop right there. This mobile gamer demographic seemingly consists of two groups of consumers: those who play games to kill a little time while waiting at the doctor's office or burning flesh at the beach, and those who enjoy games both on and off mobile devices. It's highly unlikely the first group will purchase a $249 PlayStation Vita.

However, the second group may not purchase the PlayStation Vita because (1) the price (as seen with the Nintendo 3DS which actually soared in sales once Nintendo sliced off $80) and (2) they want to carry one device. Honestly, what hardcore gamer wants to carry around a smartphone, a bulky PlayStation Vita and possibly even a tablet? If anything, the Xperia Play seems to be a perfect example of where gamers are on the mobile market: they wants their games, their telephone, their Internet, their music and their movies all on one unit in their pocket.

But Sony seems convinced that gamers will want otherwise once they get a taste of the PlayStation Vita. "You're going to see PS Vita expand what a lot of people believe to be true about handheld gaming, and you're going to see a lot of those current mobile phone and tablet gamers come over to Vita," he added. "We're very convinced of that."

Could Koller be right? Will the PlayStation Vita rejuvenate the handheld console sector and pull gamers away from their apps? Will there be enough draw to convince consumers into carrying an additional set of hardware? That remains to be seen. However, the official device specs, released during Gamescom this week, are impressive enough to grant a double-take. Have a look:

ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core)
External Dimensions
Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5-mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen (Touch screen)
5-inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Main memory
512 MB
128 MB
  • Front camera, Rear camera
  • Frame rate : 120 fps @ 320×240 (QVGA), 60 fps @ 640×480 (VGA)
  • Resolution : Up to 640×480 (VGA)
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)
  • 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
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 High/Main/Baseline Profile (AAC)
  • Photos -JPEG (Exif 2.2.1), TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG

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  1. its just insane, seriously europe should boycott buy the device, every single person, and force them to bring the price down to 299 dollar level!

  2. The first thing that struck us is just how light the Vita feels in the hand. It's got a gorgeous five-inch OLED panel, monstrous for a portable system.