Is the world ready for a new handheld gaming device? With the rise in casual gaming on smartphones and tablets over the past few years, and the somewhat slow sales of Nintendo's recently-launched 3DS, it makes you wonder whether there's still a sizeable market for a pocket-sized device that doesn’t also double-up as a phone, email client and social media tool.
Sony certainly thinks, or hopes, there is demand for such a machine. With PlayStation Vita set for its UK launch on February 22nd, it's banking on the fact that the world’s most powerful dedicated gaming handheld will have enough “oomph” to put portable gaming firmly back on the map. Having already launched in Japan, however, the signs aren’t entirely positive that Vita has what it takes to make an impact.
After an excellent start, sales are already beginning to slump in the Far East only a couple of months after release. You could partly blame the downturn in fortune on the fact that Sony is slow to react to the changing needs of the masses by launching its touchscreen device with a great looking iOS/Android-inspired interface that lacks a strong library of multi-purpose apps. Vita is, quite simply, a gaming machine... but is that enough in 2012?
On the flip side, Vita's games do look fantastic. Uncharted Golden Abyss is undoubtedly the best looking title to have ever graced a handheld, while games such as Wipeout 2048 look to showcase Vita’s cross-platform multiplayer capabilities. Meanwhile, titles such as Little Deviants are pushing the boundaries of conventional gaming by making use of Vita's multiple control methods - including the tilt functionality and a rear touchscreen.
Will Vita's gaming pedigree help the system stand out from the various smartphones and tablets? Only time will tell, but we'd love to know what you think. Are you planning on buying the PlayStation Vita? And if so, will you be an early adopter or will you wait for a price drop and apps such as Facebook and Skype to arrive? Or, are you simply not interested in portable gaming anymore?
Share your thoughts in the HEXUS forum.