5 Reasons The PSVita Will Be Worth Your Money
E3 has come and gone but we’re still taking in all of the awesome things we got to see and touch (booth babes and game demos respectively). Both Nintendo and Sony made big announcements in the hardware field and while we’ve got a while to wait for the Wii U, Sony’s next-gen portable, the PSVita, will be landing on store shelves this holiday season. So here are 5 reasons, based on my hands-on time with the system, that I think the Vita will be worth your Xmas mula.
1. OLED is the future!
Organic Light Emitting Diode screens offer intense clarity, contrast, and definition to images on an incredibly thin surface. They can be made to contour to curves or even exist in a flexible state. And because they function without a backlight they are capable of much darker blacks and outperform LCD and LED displays in low ambient lighting. OLED technology is still in its infancy but great strides are constantly being made and its use in the PSVita will greatly promote the viability, and thus advancement, of the tech.
But what it really comes down to on the Vita’s 5″, 16,000,000 color, 960 x 544 resolution, multitouch display is an overall better potential quality (with less battery cost) than any handheld gaming device you’ve ever seen. Yes, even better than the NGage.
2. Graphics to make that screen shine!
The pretty display would just be a shiny piece of glass if the PSVita didn’t have the graphical hardware to take advantage of everything OLED has to offer. But oh man does it have the guts. Playing Uncharted: Golden Abyss was like holding a PS3 game in my hand. No, technically the graphics aren’t at the consoles level but they’re pretty damn close and that’s saying a lot considering what the PS3 is capable of in the right hands. And that’s exactly the best part. Games only get better looking as developers get more comfortable with the hardware and improving upon what I saw means you’re going to have to rethink what you expect out of a handheld system. Console-worthy graphics are here.
3. Touch controls that feel good!
This one is a little more about developers than the PSVita itself but it still offers a good reason to own the system. Game makers have had a lot of time to explore touch controls on the DS family and we’ve seen a lot of tacked-on crap because of it. Fortunately, consumers don’t like that stuff and developers have taken notice. What’s arising is a better awareness of how touch functionality can be properly infused within a game, rather than being forcibly invaded. I never expected to charge Nathan Drake over a gap with a thumbstick and face buttons, then scale the wall by sliding my finger on the screen, but that’s exactly what happened when I played the game. And it happened intuitively. The PSVita is capable of offering traditional console controls and new touch technology in a way that feels both fresh and comfortable.
4. Cross-Play is rad!
There will always, always be a dominant focus on single-player games and campaigns, but competitive and cooperative gaming has been taken to new heights in the last few years, and it continues to grow. The PSVita’s Cross-Play feature allows yet another step for the field as leveling technology allows for players to play with or against each other using both a PS3 and a Vita (or combinations thereof). So say you’re riding the bus to work but your jerk friend took the day off and is lounging on his couch. You can then challenge him to a race of Wipeout 2048, blast his craft to scrap, and give a cheer to the old lady beside you as you sweep across the checkered line. No need to wait until you’re home in front of the T.V., just take the competition with you.
5. There’s a right analog stick!
I know, I know, this should have been introduced on one of the several PSP remodels, but it wasn’t – so shame on Sony for that, glory to Sony for this. The right thumbstick is really the shining stone that makes this console-on-the-go concept glow. As gamers we have come to find dual analog sticks essential for modern gaming and developers have likewise integrated the technology in to almost everything we play. The inclusion of a second stick on the PSVita means developers can finally craft games that have the quality feel and level of control we’ve come to expect from our console titles. Though it will take some time to retrain your brain to use two sticks on the go, the great feeling dual analog sticks of the PSVita will eventually make you feel right at home.
Bonus: One reason the PSVita might need a second look? Just three little letters.
And an ampersand - AT&T. I don’t know why they’re doing it. I sure hope they have their reasons. But, wow, AT&T is not the carrier I want to trust with my portable gaming. And if the crowd at Sony’s E3 press conference is any indication, I’m not the only one. If you feel good about the PSVita (and I do), I say it’s worth it. But if you’re really on the fence, it might be worth holding out to see if some new synapse forms in the collective Sony brain to reveal the truth that *gasp* AT&T blows. Here’s hoping.