Hot on the heels of Nintendo’s “we’re just fine!” presser, we’ve got Sony’s “we’re also doing a-okay!” presentation. Though what they actually showed told a slightly different story.

First off, their press event last night was primarily built around their new upcoming handheld system, the PlayStation Vita. So how about a brief history of the PSP?
Sony first announced the system, which was a cross between a PSone and PS2 in terms of horsepower, in a rather sexy (still to this by some accounts) looking hardware, many assumed that Nintendo’s reign was over. Especially since the DS (again at the time) looked like a goofy toy, with graphics that weren’t nearly as impressive.
But in the end, it was the powerhouse selection of games available on Nintendo’s end that won the war, though the PSP still offered a decent selection of games… eventually. Actually, because of the Monster Hunter phenomenon, Sony’s handheld did very good for itself, far more so than in America.
Well, fast forward how many years later, and it’s basically round two, with history repeating itself again; Nintendo’s new hardware has been out in some time, and Sony’s looks better in every regard, at least on paper. Sans the 3D part, of course, which many feel is not the killer app that most assumed it would be.
In the end, it’ll all come down to whether Sony will have the backing of software companies, which appears to be the case, and given how comparison the offerings on Nintendo’s side is at this point, this might be its chance to swoop in for the kill! Or maybe not. Cuz things are quite different these days. iOS anyone?
Oh, also, the Japanese game scene has never been worse. Sure all the prime players are fully onboard, including Capcom, Konami, and Square Enix. But that doesn’t means as much these days. Many state that the scene there is in serious trouble, and last night’s presentation was proof positive of this. But anyhow, time to go over the highlights…
- In Japan, the Vita will launch on December 17. As noted in the past, there are two models: 29,980 yen model with 3G and a 24,980 model with just wifi. That’s around $300 and $250 US, which is in line with what was announced originally.
Apparently in Japan, you’ll be able to purchase chunks of data in from one of the major cell phone providers at a reasonable rate. Given how craptacular AT&T has demonstrated itself to be, I’m expecting highway robbery from them, as always. Furthermore, it’ll have 26 titles at launch, which is pretty nuts. Expect around that number in America.
- Launch titles include WipeOut 2048 (which is essentially a pixel for pixel port of WipeOUt HD), LittleBigPlanet, Hot Shots Golf, FIFA, even Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. All stuff we’ve played before, but at least it packs enough punch so the portable versions can stand toe to toe with the console version, which has always been the dream.
Also, it being a launch is excuse enough to rely upon the bigger brother’s library. Though the serious lack of any original titles (save I believe one) is trouble nonetheless.
- On the plus side, included in the batch is both the Metal Gear Solid HD collection, and Zone of Enders HD collection. And that’s kinda cool! Yes, it’s more of the same, and I fully realize what a hypocrite I can be.
Though on another negative side, this time specific to Kojima Productions, nothing was said about Metal Gear Rising, which was first announced eons ago.
- All the official accessories for the PSP were revealed. Above you see the cradle; I have no idea why the color doesn’t match the system. Won’t even bother passing along pics of anything else, cuz they’re all on the boring side. The memory card looks like, surprise, a memory card. Which is mad overpriced btw; 4GB for around $30 American? Yikes.
- It was stated that the Vita would be backwards compatible with all PSP software. Which is fine if you have a digital version of a game, but what about your UMDs? Which the Vita cannot accept, btw. Sony claims that they’re working on a program that will allow owners of disc based games to be entitled to a downloadable version.
But that seems like a logistical nightmare, plus they promised the same with the PSPgo and that never happened. Am expecting the same here.
- The new device will also allow for Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, and surfing the web. The Vita’s sounding more and more like an iPhone with buttons (and sans iOS of course) to me.
- Oh, and the big announcement from Square Enix? They’re doing a HD remake of Final Fantasy X. Remember, SE has only been able to deliver one proper FF this generation, and they’re bothering themselves with a HD revamp of a not so old entry, not even the best one!
If that doesn’t speak volumes of the sad state of video games in Japan, then I don’t know what does. Anyhow, it’s for both PS3 and Vita as well.
… So to recap: their new hardware is aiming to take on the new king of handheld gaming, the iPhone, by being very much iPhone-like itself. Not the worst idea in the world, admittedly. And pretty much all their games are things we’ve all played before. Granted, it makes sense in the grand scheme of things, but there’s seriously nothing new being put forth, or so it would seem. And that’s not good.
Remember when we all looked upon the launch of a platform in Japan with such envy? Yeah, I think I was a teenager back then as well.