Information regarding Sony’s next generation handheld, the PlayStation Vita, has become more and more available in the past month. Japan eagerly awaits its December 17th launch date, and the price of Vita games have been confirmed for Japan as well, allowing the North American and European gaming communities to accurately estimate their cost. While gamers outside Japan still do not have a launch date, Sony’s senior staff developer support engineer Chris Norden spoke with the gaming development community in a GDC online chat session about several important topics.
Norden confirmed that any retail game in the launch lineup can be purchased on launch day from the PSN Store. The thought process behind Sony’s decision was so gamers could leave everything on the Vita, considering it is a completely self-contained device. The PlayStation Network Store for Vita has an analogous interface to the store on PlayStation 3, and of course uses the same login information.
Another hot topic has been the “free-to-play” business model. Norden confirmed support for the model.
“You are free to explore whatever business model you want. You’ll have to talk to your account manager, and say, ‘Here’s my idea, and here’s what I want to do,’ but yes, you’re allowed to do that.”
Though many of the specs have been released, Vita’s clock speed is still unknown. Most other mobile devices boast chip speeds around 1.5 GHz, though Norden scoffed at the measurement and indicated that the Vita will be optimized for battery life and power consumption.
“Performance is not as good as PS3. We can tell you they don’t run at that speed (1.5GHz) — just for short times, like sub-second times. The reason is heat dissipation. All modern processors change the clock speed continuously depending on what you’re doing… This happens at sub-second intervals. There’s some pretty impressive stuff that looks kind of like PS3 if you look at it.”
Norden wrapped up the session by confirming cross-game communication on the Vita would be more transparent and smoother than the PS3. He also confirmed that the Vita’s PSN Party functionality is cross-game voice and text chat — a feature not even supported on the PlayStation 3.
“We know everybody wants it on PS3 so we’re doing it on Vita.”
Are you looking forward to the launch of the Vita? What games are on your target list? Is there any concern that the gaming experience will not be top-notch due to the Vita being designed specifically for battery life and power consumption?
The Sony Vita launches in Japan December 17th, 2011. Its North American launch date is still unknown.
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