Sony has always followed an unusual arc in the gaming industry. It's the only leading console manufacturer out there that seems to go in cycles. If you look at its competitors they're constantly pushing the newest thing, while Sony just hangs back and occasionally drops a product that takes the market by storm, then goes back to quiet mode for a few years. So it is with the PsP Vita.
The Vita is definitely one of those rare jumps that takes a lagging Playstation empire and throws it back to the head of the race. A direct jab at the Nintendo 3DS, the Vita is a masterwork of portable gaming devices. Building on the familiar Playstation layout, it features the same array of buttons, joysticks and directional pads that we're used to. It forgoes the fancy (and counterintuitive) dual-screen experiment of its competitor to dedicate all of its resources to a sleek gaming experience.
So what exactly are the specs on the Psp Vita?
It features a 5” screen in 960 x 544 resolution. While we'd rather see a larger screen size on a gaming product, 5” is still more than half the screen of an iPad and it takes up basically the whole device except the button area, which is impressive given how much it packs inside. The Vita has a 4-core processor from ARM, front and rear cameras, touch screen, rear touch pad, and of course motion sensors so that some game in the library can inevitably yell “TILT!” during the heat of play. It also has 3G wireless capability and handles a 4 gig data card.
Sony chose to stay with a dual-joystick layout on the Vita. Past Playstation devices haven't always made good use of those double sticks – let alone a rear touch pad? – so we hope that the games will support this kind of play. Otherwise that precious space could have been used for something else on the portable.
The specs are impressive and can lead to a high performance gaming experience. Of course, as with any system, the library trumps the specs. Will the PsP Vita boast games that make it a better choice over the 3DS? Only time will tell.