Sony PlayStation Vita launches locally PDF Print E-mail

Features include embedded 3G, augmented reality technology, GPS and a motion sensor.

Sony has unveiled its PlayStation Vita, a touch-screen mobile gaming console.

The PlayStation Vita comes with embedded 3G, allowing for multiplayer game sessions and cross-game text messaging. The device is also GPS-enabled, which means users can pinpoint the location of nearby opponents, the company says. It adds that users can download social media apps onto the Vita, enabling them to update their social media statuses with their latest game scores.

Sony says front- and rear-facing cameras, coupled with augmented reality technology, allow users to blend their physical worlds with the PlayStation world. It explains that users can turn real-world surfaces into game settings. For example, a kitchen counter can be used as a fighting ring.

The Vita has a motion sensor and a five-inch OLED touch-screen, says Sony, adding that users can play games using the touch pad at the back of the device. Sony says the portable console also has analogue controls on both ends of the device.

Furthermore, according to Sony, PS3 users can continue playing games started on PS3 with the Vita. Users can also join multiplayer games, playing against PS3 users.

The 'wantability' factor

According to Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, while tablets have opened an entirely new gaming market and touch-screen smartphones appear to have bridged the gap between tablets and gaming devices, both lack dedicated gaming functionality.

He argues that the PlayStation Vita bridges the gap between the traditional consoles and touch-screen sensibility. “It also has what I call the `wantability` factor – it looks so good, the serious gamer will simply want it,” he adds.

Goldstuck argues that there is always a market for innovative products that show an understanding of where the consumer mind is shifting. However, he says this is dependent on marketing. He questions whether the Vita will reach the wider consumer market, saying there has been no evidence yet that Sony will get the marketing right.

The PlayStation Vita is available at a recommended retail price of R3 260.

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