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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

PlayStation Vita has enhanced features, high price


(Photo courtesy of Sony)

Though it used to be a niche market, mobile gaming is now mainstream. Mobile gaming has been traditionally defined by Nintendo’s Game Boy and Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP), but the gaming landscape has radically changed within the last few years because of the rise of smartphones. Cheap, fun games on smartphones, such as Angry Birds, have attracted a new demographic of people that traditionally wouldn’t consider themselves gamers. Consumers who traditionally bought dedicated mobile gaming consoles have begun switching to smartphones for their gaming experience. To combat this new threat, Sony has released the PlayStation Vita, a powerhouse handheld gaming console. Though the PS Vita is one of the best new portable gaming consoles on the market, the high price for both the device and games limits its potential.

For those who often play games on their smartphones, the PS Vita’s physical size may be daunting. Not only does it have a 5-inch touchscreen, but it also has 12 physical buttons. The device also has a rear touchpad, a motion sensor, two analog sticks, an electronic compass and front and back facing cameras.

The result of these buttons and input options provides unique gameplay that hasn’t been done before. “Uncharted: Golden Abyss,” one of the PS Vita games available at launch, looks amazingly detailed on the screen and physical controls makes it a much more enjoyable experience. Having tactical feedback every time you push a button is rewarding, as it allows you to be much more accurate.

However, because of the physical buttons and huge screen, the PS Vita is pretty thick (.73 in) and wide (3.289 in x 7.2 in). This is a device you’ll find hard to carry in your pocket.

In order to make the PS Vita more of a multifunction device, Sony has also included some other features, such as a music player, video player, camera, Web browser and app store. The camera doesn’t produce shots that would win any awards, but it works in a pinch. The Web browser works decently but does not have flash support and lags when loading image-heavy websites. The app store has all of the major apps, such as Facebook, Netflix and Twitter, though it is dwarfed by the app availability on smartphones.

The PS Vita isn’t perfect; the biggest negative the device has is its battery life. The PS Vita got around four hours of playing “Uncharted” and surfing the Internet in our test. While this may be enough juice to get through playing on the bus, those who want to use their PS Vita for extended amounts of time will need to seek a power plug.

Another issue is that the PS Vita basically requires a proprietary memory card, which is not included with the device. The memory cards come in a variety of storage sizes. They are, however, relatively expensive. The cheapest memory card Sony sells is 4GB at $19.99.

The PS Vita’s user interface is also very cartoonish and colorful, which clashes against the PS Vita’s identity as being a powerful and tough portable gaming console.

Overall, the PS Vita is one of the best portable gaming systems you can buy. It is powerful, very well-built and has more than enough bells and whistles to keep even the most hardcore of gamers happy. What limits the PS Vita from realizing its full potential is its price. At $249.99 for the Wi-Fi model, the barrier of entry isn’t low.

On top of that, the cost of purchasing a memory card and buying the games (which start at around $39.99 per title) makes the overall cost of the PS Vita very expensive. When compared to a smartphone, which many people already own and on which games can be found for as little as $0.99, the cost difference is huge.

While PS Vita’s games are definitely much more elaborate and in-depth than most smartphones’, it is up to the consumer to decide whether or not the extra gameplay is worth the much higher price tag. For hardcore gamers, the PS Vita is a must-have, but for much more casual gamers, a smartphone may be a much better option. 

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PlayStation Vita has enhanced features, high price