PlayStation Vita Rear Touch Pad Originally Rejected

Jun 23, 2011 by  

PSVita Rear Touch

One of the more perplexing features of Sony‘s next portable is its patented rear touch capability. Not only will the PlayStation Vita allow players to use the primary screen as a touch screen, the back of the device will serve as a second interactive panel. Several of the games demoed at E3 2011 showed a multitude of uses for the rear touch features, one of the most unique being its assistance in track creation for the Vita version of ModNation Racers.

You might (or might not) be surprised to know that this odd innovation for the Vita was originally turned down. Shuhei Yoshida, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio, was recently interviewed by Famitsu, admitting that when the idea was brought up, concerns of cost and functionality almost prohibited the feature’s existence. Apparently the hardware team was given a chance to create a prototype regardless, and as soon as the higher-ups got their hands on the unit, the addition was finalized.

Game Rant recently had a significant amount of time to go hands-on with the PS Vita at E3, and although the device did not fail to impress in terms of graphics and technology, the rear touch pad failed to make much of a positive impression on our team. The use of the pad did nothing to enhance the gameplay of the demos, sometimes even hindering the controls.

The most recent Uncharted: Golden Abyss trailer presents a player using rear touch to imitate the act of climbing a rope by brushing up and down each side of the touch pad. Although this might not be the most appropriate indicator of what the pad is capable of, consider the recent Kinect-enabled Child of Eden. Sometimes it just takes the right developer with the right idea to put innovative hardware to use in an entertaining way.

There is no question this new mode of interaction will take some getting used to, but it would be intriguing to know what made the people at SCE change their minds on an addition like this. Soon enough we will see if the rear touch ability of the device is a gimmick to be abandoned by the third party development teams, or a control scheme that could set the PSVita ahead of its portable competition.

Is the rear touch feature of any importance to you? Do you see it being dropped after several failed attempts to enhance a game, or do you think the rear touch pad will elevate gaming on the PlayStation Vita?

Source: Andriasang

Tags: PSP, Sony, Vita

4 Comments

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  1. You can use the rear touch pad for games like COD as a replacement for L2 and R2.

    • Very true, but the question is: would it be comfortable?

  2. Is not that the rear pad is not useful they jst havent make the right game to use it to its max potential (perseverance is everything)

  3. The rear touchpad should be the only touchpad and just remove the touchscreen from front. While holding you have 3 fingers on each of your hand laying at the back of the psp (all version) and you can use up to 2 at once out of this 3 on each of your hand to cover almost all the surface of the back. (the dead center might be hard to reach but some ppl have longer fingers)
    WHILE ON THE FRONT if you want to touch that you need to reposition BOTH OF YOUR HANDS and ALL 5 fingers to do so on EVERY occasion.

    Reason: You use the mentioned 3 fingers/hand to hold against the force you apply with your thumbs (thumbs is the strongest finger on the hand) thats why you have to keep your fingers there during play. You also use your palm to hold against the R1 L1 buttons when you press with your pointy finger.
    BUT when you wish to touch the front screen you need to reposition one of your hand and all fingers on it in order to make some sort of force on the dead center of the back (wich is hard to reach with your fingers in original helding as mentioned). If you think of it or try it out on your psp 3000 (like i do now) you will see the whole gamepad almost CRYING OUT LOUD that it’s not designed or help in any way to provide this.

    Conclusion: Your only hope to use the front touchscreen is that you either lay it down on the table or something solid OR pushing out A LOT OF FORCE with either of your hand’s fingers to withstand the force of your poking on the touchscreen what is multiplied by the distance mesured from the sides (mostly from your palm). ALso the pain that you gain by pressing against the buttons and right/left joystick not to mention if you end up using the farther edge of the screen you probablly switch hands to do so beacuse you feel by instict your won’t be able to withstand the force multiplied by that much distance.

    Endstory: I have tons of GREAT ideas as a starter for the backscreen but I rather not bore you now anylonger. What I wanted to tell is that the backscreen should be much bigger and the front should be losed. I can easilly imagine accessable counterparts trough the touchscreen “engine” of the 4 keys the arrowkeys and the dual josticks not to mention scrolling zooming rotating view/text Just imagine magic mouse there and extra macrokeys tailored to your fingersizes.

    One last word. Sony. Make a force recognition on the back to mesure the force applied by your thumbs on front. Easy just mesure the covered area / fingertips. Magic mouse can do that. So can you.
    For me to warn me that i get excited and may cause fingerpain in the longrun, OR TO PUSH THE PEDDLE TO THE METAL BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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