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PS Vita

February 22nd sees the release of the PS VITA, I was lucky enough today to get the chance to visit the PS VITA Rooms event in Oxford Street. Today’s event was specifically for retailers but as of tomorrow anyone can attend.

For those of you who don’t know, the VITA is SONYs successor to the PSP, a handheld game console. We’ve come a long way since the days of the Gameboy and Tetris, and the VITA boasts some pretty impressive specifications behind its OLED touch screen, making it probably the most powerful handheld machine on the market.

Whilst the “PS3 in your pocket” might not be 100% accurate, once you’ve seen Uncharted: Golden Abyss running on it you will realise that this claim is not a million miles away.

The VITA’s main audience is very much the Core Gamer, the addition of Dual analogue sticks, essential for first person shooters and a launch line-up including games like Uncharted, F1 2011, Unit 13 and Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom are a testament to that.

SONY however haven’t alienated the mainstream casual gamer either, with features such as touch screen, rear touchpad, Gyroscope and front and rear cameras and games like Little Deviants, Frobisher Says and my personal favourite Escape Plan.

Before seeing the VITA I was a little sceptical, the PSP after all was a great machine, infinitely better than the DS, but the lack of Software meant that it never really reached its potential, that said it is still the 7th best selling console of all time and in the UK is still the most successful console launch ever (185,000 Units).

But having now had my hands on the VITA and pretty much all the Launch titles I can say that I am really excited.

The machine has some lesser known features as well, such as the ability to remote play your PS3 games, Cross play (Cross platform) VITA vs PS3 on games like Wipeout & Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom, as well as Skype, Foursquare, Face book and Twitter Apps.

When you add all this together and throw in one of the best launch line ups in handheld history this has the potential to finally give Nintendo a challenge to the handheld crown.

The biggest concerns surrounding the VITA’s success seem to be focused on its size and its price, as well as a less than stellar reception in Japan.

Size wise I don’t see a problem, it is considerably smaller than any Tablet out there which most people are happy to carry around so I can’t see any reason for that to effect sales.

Price, perhaps. The Wi-FI and 3G versions RRP at £229.99 and £279.99 respectively which when you consider that you can purchase a PS3 for less than £199.99 does give you pause for thought. When you start stacking it up against high-end tablets however, given that it can perform many of the same tasks, it seems like a lot more reasonable price.

As for the Japanese launch, to be honest I don’t find it all that surprising. Looking at the launch line up its clearly more orientated to the western market, not to mention the launch of Monster Hunter Tri-G just after the VITA’s launch.

My own worry for the VITA is that in a environment where Temple Run and Angry Birds are the stars of the portable gaming world, does the public want an engaging immersive experience for when we are on the move? 

On the upside Rumour has it that Android Marketplace is going to be available so I guess you can have your cake and eat it!

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