Handheld gaming is facing an uncertain future right now. Casual gamers are flocking to smartphones and tablets for simple touchscreen games foregoing traditional portable devices for the more versatile phones and tables. Sony and Nintendo have been feeling the brunt of this new attitude when their portable game devices have failed to make a mark in the market. Nintendo's 3DS had slow sales that forced the company to slash prices just to move units.
Facing the onslaught of smartphone and tablet games, Sony is launching its new PS Vita console in hopes that hardcore gamers will abandon their iPhones or Android devices for the more powerful Vita. The PS Vita doesn't hit Australia until February 23 but it has already launched in Japan. Can Sony convince gamers to shell out AU$349.95 for the Wi-Fi enabled version or even AU$449.95 for the 3G Vita? Here are some features that might attract gamers to the handheld console.
There's no denying that the main attraction for gamers is the hardware packed into the Vita. Sony added two analog sticks for dedicated gamers as well as a gigantic 3.3 inches tall and 7.2 inches wide screen that dwarfs any portable console device on the market. The added screen size will make the PS3 level graphics much easier to gawk at. Despite its size the PS Vita weighs only 10 ounces and its form makes it a comfortable fit in anyone's hands.
Sony has also added a multitouch control surface for causal games. Sony has said that it wants to attract more casual gamers with the Vita and while the prices for download-only games for the Vita aren't as cheap as the $0.99 Apple or Android games they are still low enough for developers and consumers.
Another thing the PS Vita has going for it is that its launch lineup of games has something for dedicated gamers. Sony has already confirmed that there will be 26 games launching with the Vita including Uncharted Golden Abyss, FIFA Football 12, Rayman Origins and Ninja Gaiden Sigma P. There are also some big games coming to the console including the mysterious Call of Duty title. Activision hasn't released much information about the COD game for the PS Vita but gamers are hoping for a new entry in the story instead of a port of an existing COD game.
The PS Vita is an impressive portable gaming device that offers something for casual and traditional gamers. It's a great gateway for casual gamers into more conventional games but it also offers hard-core gamers an option to relax with casual games. Even with a downturn in the market, the PS Vita can actually forge a place for itself with casual and traditional gamers.
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