Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Sony should do to make PSP Vita a Successful device?

During the recent E3 showing, Sony was finally able divert public attention from their security glitches. Once the initial hysteria over the new Sony’s gadget, the Playstation Vita and the relatively low $250 price is over, people will still finally realize, it is just another Sony’s handheld and look and feel much like the previous devices. The reveal of Vita in the E3 captures the interest of many, especially among handheld gamers around the world. It is tme for the gaming society to digest this important information. Can Sony make sure that the device will live up all the hype?
These are a few things Sony should do to make Vita a successful device instead another mediocre iteration:

  • A good selection of titles, both legacy and original. The announcement that another Sly Copper title is to be released, is definitely welcome news, however if Sony really wants to make Vita shines, they should lure the game developers to create fresh and innovative titles to make the gaming society interested.
  • Solve the issues in game availability. There are some glitches that annoy PSP gamers, for example for the owner PSP Go (A PSP model that has no UMD drive and can only download games), they found that certain popular games tend to skip the download process and urge users instead to purchase the physical discs. Games like Kingdoms Hearts were a good example of this annoying oversight. Because the Vita can support high-speed 3G network, Sony should make all games easily downloadable.
  • Define the role of Vita. When you see the Vita specs, you may think that Sony has gone a little too far. Sony should learn from the Nokia NGage. Vita has a dual-camera configuration, just like in mobile phones, one rear and one front; an integrated gyroscope, a touch screen and it has even another touch screen at the rear, which could be a move to differentiate Vita from typical smartphones. If Sony’s goal is to make the PSP Vita as the premiere handheld gaming console, it should be equipped with components that allow for much more exhilarating gaming instead of copying the features of smartphones. A real gamer would be more satisfied with faster CPU and GPU and perhaps better quality screen than cameras and a rear screen. On the other hand, a gyroscope is a potentially good addition, as it can improve the gameplay significantly using physical motions.

Can smartphone replace PSP?

Android phones and the iPhone family is a growing contender in the mobile gaming industry. However, for those who enjoy playing mobile gaming, it will be rather difficult to treat smartphones as real gaming devices, they may tend to see them merely as tools for gaming diversion. Tablets powered by high-end CPU and GPU can provide better gaming experience, however, the lack of physical buttons put a limit on the usefulness of these devices. Blasting away henchmen and aliens feels much more satisfactory with physical button than tapping on virtual buttons on a solid screen. Many people who love mobile gaming tend to see Wi-Fi, versatile OS and other features as unessential, they just want good screen, speedy hardware and of course, plain old keypad.
It’s like drums, bass and guitar, those musicians want to touch the strings and pick them. The announcement of PS Vita, has lowered the PSP 3000 price to $130, and it may come down even further when the device ships. On the other hand, smartphone may provide wider option on legacy gaming; for example, Android devices can easily many legacy gaming formats. In fact, smartphones can now play numerous Sony’s PSX games and perhaps, PSP games soon.

Firmware 6.40 for PSP is about to be released

Some players discovered that the Japanese version of Gundam Memories Tatakai no Kioku, contains a new firmware, the 6.40. A screenshot was circulated around the Internet that seemed to confirm the existence of this firmware. Some observers believe that, Sony is performing an initial field test to ensure the stability of the new firmware. It is also quite possible, that pretty soon we will see the update from Sony across a wider area. It is still unknown what features that are offered by the firmware, but it is certain that it will introduce some security fixes. Only time will tell.