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PS Vita: Price, Release Date, Tech Specs And Launch Games

Dave Cook

Feature


Everything you need to know about PS Vita ahead of its launch - including release dates, tech specs, games, prices and battery life.

Published on Nov 22, 2011

PS Vita is launching in Japan next month, and across the Western world 22 February 2012. In the run up to launch, we’ve had extensive hands-on time with Sony’s handheld console, as well as many of its launch and post-launch titles.  

We’ve taken the time to compile everything we know about it below, so if you’re thinking about laying down some hard cash on a PS Vita, or if you’re still on the fence, read on to find out why you simply need to check it out.

Console Specs

When it comes to raw power, PS Vita doesn’t mess about. Seeing the console’s OLED screen displaying the technically accomplished Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a real treat, and if subsequent titles live up to this quality bar, then PS Vita will be a real force to be reckoned with.

Here are the PS Vita’s key specs:

 

Platform name PlayStation Vita
Model number PCH-1000 series
CPU ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
GPU SGX543MP4+
Main memory 512MB
VRAM 128MB
External Dimensions Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largestprojection)
Weight Approx 279g (3G/Wi-Fi model)Approx 260g (Wi-Fi model)
Screen(Touch screen) 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLEDMulti touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear touch pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras Front camera, Rear camera
Frame rate : 120fps@320×240(QVGA), 60fps@640×480(VGA)Resolution : Up to 640×480(VGA)
Sound Built-in stereo speakers
Built-in microphone
Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Threeaxiselectronic compass
Location Built-in GPS (3G/Wi-Fi model only)Wi-Fi location service support
Keys / Switches PS buttonPower buttonDirectional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)Right stick, Left stickSTART button, SELECT buttonVolume buttons (+/-)
Wireless communications Mobile network connectivity (3G/Wi-Fi model only)3G modem (data communication): HSDPA/HSUPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGEIEEE 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 slotMemory card slotSIM card slot (3G/Wi-Fi model only)Multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC IN, Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In],
Power Built-In Lithium-ion Battery: DC3.7V 2210mAhAC adaptor: DC 5V
Operatingenvironmenttemperature 5℃~35℃
SupportedAV contentformat 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

What you need to know about PS Vita

How much will PS Vita cost?

 

If you're thinking about picking up a PS Vita on the European release date of 22 February 2012, you can grab a 3G model for £279.99/€299.99, or the Wi-fi only model for £229.99/€249.99.

But as the games are region-free, you could import a Japanese model from 17 December 2011, at 29980 Yen for the 3G model (Approx. $390/£248), or 24980 Yen for the Wi-fi only model (Approx. $325/£207).

 

Compare this to the average £229.99 asking price for 3DS at launch, and you can see that Sony is hitting the same ball park for the Wi-fi only edition.

 

How do PS Vita games work?

Sony has continued its trend of creating bespoke formats for its new hardware, as all PS Vita games run off cartridges unique only to the console. You can also download full games digitally from the PSN store, as well as retro, indie and PSP titles.

 

How much will PS Vita games cost?

The RRP for UK and European games has yet to be revealed, although physical copies of Japanese PS Vita titles will be retailing at between 5,980 Yen, (Approx. $78/£50) and 4980 Yen (approx. $65/£41).

However, to get games digitally from the PSN store, you’re looking at between 4,900 Yen ($64/£40) and 4,480 Yen (Approx. $58/£37). Again, nothing is set in stone for Western markets as far as game pricing is concerned, but we will have more on this very soon.

 

Will I need to buy memory for my PS Vita?

Well, yes and no, and this could be something of a hidden cost for many who haven’t checked out how the PS Vita’s memory works. Many reports suggest that you will need to buy a memory card for your PS Vita in order to save your games and store digitally downloaded titles, music, pictures and video. 

On the other hand, some – not all – PS Vita games are reported to come with free space on the cartridge to allow for game saves and software updates, but there has yet to be a final word from Sony on this situation.

If you do buy memory, expect to pay the following for an official PS Vita card:

4GB: 2,200Yen ($29/£18)

8GB: 3,200Yen ($42/£27)

16GB: 5,500Yen ($72/$45)

32GB: 9,500Yen ($124/£79)

 

How does PS Vita handle?

It handles very well actually, as the PS Vita is incredibly lightweight. You wouldn’t think to look at it, but despite all the tech inside the handheld, it’s a comfortable console to hold, and best of all, dual thumb stick support makes high-end experiences such as FPS and third-person titles a reality. 

 

How good is the OLED display?

It’s very cool, displaying perhaps the sharpest image we’ve seen on a handheld device to date. When you see high-end games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048 and Resistance: Burning Skies running in front of you, then you really can see just how powerful Sony’s handheld is.

The tech works by lighting individual pixels, making bright areas brighter, and switching off to produce deeper blacks. Because all of the screen's pixels aren't used at once, there isn't a continuous strain on the PS Vita's battery life, so it won’t burn through your battery life as quickly as you'd expect. 

 

How does PS Vita connect online?

On 21 November, Sony announced that Vodafone would be its preferred partner for PS Vita 3G connectivity across Europe and in the UK. This means that the 3G model of PS Vita will ship with a Vodafone sim card as standard, with the option to buy a 3G connection direct from Vodafone at launch. In addition, anyone connecting with Vodafone via PS Vita will receive a PSN voucher for Wipeout 2048. 

3G aside, you will be able to connect to Wi-fi points as you would with any enabled device, although this does mean you can only play in the vicinity of a connection. While 3G lets you play on the move, there is still no word on pricing tariffs or data use restrictions,

PS Vita also has a neat system called Near, which flags up any active PS Vita consoles in your local vicinity, as well as any games the owner is playing.

From Near, you can send other users a friend request, challenge them at a game and more. If you have a 3DS, this is best compared to Nintendo’s Street Pass system.

PS Vita UK launch games

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

The jewel in the PS Vita launch crown, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is shaping up to be an incredible prequel to the series, delivering all of the same shooting and climbing around that fans can expect. 

Developer Sony Bend is an unproven studio, but after having hands on with the game, we’re happy to reveal that it’s shaping up very nicely indeed. Best of all, you can choose to play with touch, sticks, or a combination of both. Visually, this is a real stunner, and perfectly showcases what the PS Vita is capable of.

 

Wipeout 2048

Developed by Studio Liverpool, Wipeout 2048 serves as prequel to the long-standing series, and charts the origins of the Anti-Gravity Racing league. The game uses a myriad of PS Vita controls, such as voice activated weapons, rear touch pad acceleration, and much more.

Again, you can choose how you play the game, and you’re not locked into a particular control method at any time. The visuals and sound are also stunning, and the game runs along at a blistering frame rate, and in keeping with Wipeout HD on PS3, the visuals are razor sharp.  If you like Wipeout, or racing in general for that matter, you need to check out this game.

 

Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3

Capcom gears up to take you for a ride once again in the eye-burning Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. The PS Vita version manages to muster visuals slightly below the Xbox 360 and PS3 editions of the game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it’s still a lovely looking game.

Control-wise, you will have all of the functionality you’d expect from the full console version, although the lack of four shoulder buttons might cause problems for some gamers. Our main reservation is the lack of arcade stick functionality, but expecting that would be a bit daft, so we’ll forgive Capcom. 

 

Everybody’s Golf

Another PSP launch title, Everybody’s Golf – or Hot Shots Golf as it’s know in some regions – is an insanely addictive series that has been going since the PSone days, and it’s charm hasn’t waned much since then.

We’re yet to play the PS Vita version, but from what we’ve seen so far, this is shaping up to be another bright, colourful and charming title, and it also makes use of some neat tilt and touch controls, should you wish to use them.

 

F1 2011

Recently confirmed as a UK and Europe launch title, we first laid eyes on F1 2011 for Vita during Gamescom, and it looked very impressive indeed. The Codemasters title has the same quality visuals of its home console counterpart, and it controls like a dream.

OK, so it controls like an insanely difficult dream that frustrates us immensely, but then again the F1 series has always existed as a faithful simulator of the real sport, and thankfully the PS Vita version doesn’t scale back at all. 

Reality Fighters

Making use of the PS Vita’s augmented reality features, Reality Fighters turns you or your friends into combatants using the handheld’s in-built cameras. Once you’ve made your fighters, you can then overlay them onto everyday surfaces using the rear camera, and duke it out.

To be honest however, what we’ve seen so far pales in comparison to fighting heavyweights such as Street Fighter and Tekken. Hopefully developer Novorama can turn things around before launch.

 

Hustle Kings

We love Hustle Kings. It’s one of those games that sounds naff on paper but once you start playing it, you simply can’t put it down. OK, so it’s a pool simulator, but it’s also just so damn playable.

Throw in a host of trick shot challenges, special chalk that has timed effects and multiplayer, and you have a neat little launch game that everyone should own. Think of it as the Angry Birds of PS Vita’s launch, and you’ll know what to expect.

 

Little Deviants

This new launch IP from BigBig Studios is shaping up to be a charming title that makes use of the PS Vita’s rear touchpad. The aim is to Shepard the titular Deviants to the goal by manipulating the environment by using the touchpad. 

So for example, if you want to raise the terrain to make the Deviants roll down hills, you can push it up by tapping the rear touchpad, or push them along by sliding your finger across it. It’s a neat concept that should make for an addictive puzzle experience.

ModNation Racers: Road Trip

The PS Vita version of ModNation Racers lets you create colourful and intricate go-kart tracks in minutes by tracing them out using the front touch screen.

Similar to the PS3 edition, populating your basic track with surrounding objects and detail is incredibly simple. The game will also let you share your creations with the world, and compete against others

Ridge Racer

Namco released Ridge Racer as a launch title on the original PSP, and while that game was a compilation of the best tracks and cars from the series history, the PS Vita edition will hopefully go several steps further and throw in some features that take advantage of the new hardware. Expect more information closer to launch.

 

PS Vita UK and Europe post-launch games

Sony has confirmed that there is over 100 games currently in development for PS Vita, but here are some of the key titles you should be looking out for.

 

Street Fighter x Tekken

Featuring Cole from inFamous 2 as a cameo character, the PS Vita version of Street Fighter x Tekken looks superb on the console’s screen, and delivers graphics almost on par with the full console edition. 

Similar to Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, the lack of L2 and R2 buttons will be glaring, but we trust Capcom enough to make the control system work on Sony’s hardware.

 

 

Frobisher Says

This addictive little puzzler is best compared to Nintendo’s WarioWare series, as it chucks a series of quick-fire challenges at up to four players, asking them to a whole manner of tasks like manipulating objects using touch, tilt, and even putting on daft accents. Frobisher Says is quite possibly the dark horse in PS Vita’s post-launch line up. 

 

LittleBigPlanet

With visuals that stand up against the PS3 editions of LittleBigPlanet, this PS Vita version utilises all of the consoles bespoke features, and provides building blocks and elements that take advantage of touch, tilt and sound. You can even snap objects with your camera and create them in game.

 

Resistance: Burning Skies

Nihlistic’s prequel to Resistance 3 is shaping up rather nicely indeed. Burning Skies follows fireman Tom Riley as he runs around New York amid a Chimera attack, joins up with the resistance and unleashes a wide range of insane weapons in a fight to reclaim the city.

PS Vita’s unique features are used well here, as you can touch to lock on to enemies, swipe to perform melee attacks and more. We’ve only played the first few minutes of the game, but it’s already looking like a faithful addition to the series. 

 

Sound Shapes

This music-based puzzler from Everyday Shooter developer Queasy Games has us very intrigued. It’s a mad mash up of music, physics and platforming that shouldn’t work, but it really does. Plus, the minimalistic visuals are incredibly stylish, and puts Sound Shapes up there with the likes of Lumines and Rez. Check it out.

 

Super Stardust Delta

This PS Vita effort from Housemarque is essentially a retread of the PSN Super Stardust titles, but that doesn’t mean its any less enjoyable. The visuals are bloody brilliant on the OLED screen, and the twin stick shooter formula is still as accessible and enjoyable as ever. It’s still bloody hard mind you.

 

And the rest

PS Vita games

  • Asphalt Injection
  • Bioshock
  • BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend
  • Call of Duty
  • Disgaea 3 Return
  • Dust 514
  • FIFA 
  • Final Fantasy X
  • Gravity Rush
  • Killzone
  • Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  • Little King’s Story
  • Lumines: Electric Symphony
  • Ruin
  • Silent Hill: Book of Memories
  • Super Monkey Ball
  • Tales of Innocence R
  • Touch My Katamari

 

PlayStation Suite games

  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Destruction Derby
  • Jumping Flash!
  • Kula World
  • Medievil
  • Rally Cross
  • Syphon Filter
  • Wild Arms

 

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