It has been about 9 months since E3 2011 when Sony proudly showed off the new and improved PS Vita but only Japan had yet to see it on store shelves, until this week, and in the hands of core gamers. According to Shuhei Yoshida, who is in charge of all the games produced internally for Sony platforms, the mobile gaming market in Japan is healthy and actually larger than the console market. He also mentioned that sales were good but nothing to get ecstatic over, in an interview with Dean Takahashi of Venture Beat. Sony fans outside of Japan remember the disappointment of having the release date pushed back to February 22nd 2012 (unless you preordered) from an original 2011 holiday season release. So why is Yoshida remaining optimistic about the PS Vita's US launch?
As it turns out, Yoshida believes the success of their US launch will be based on three factors. The first one is at the core of how Sony traditionally looks at improving their devices, add a lot more power and make the graphics look really great. The PS Vita certainly lives up to those expectations, given it's production specs. The second factor plays to the PS Vita's new array of innovations like the touchscreen, back touch, camera, 6 axis, accelerometer and revamped operating system. These additions open up how gamers experience a portable gaming device in a way that is truly unique from the PlayStation 3 and 3DS. At E3 2011 Uncharted: Golden Abyss stole the show when it came to showing off the Vita's new functionality and how it could be implemented in games.
The third thing Yoshida feels will seal the deal for a great US release has to do with ditching the old XCrossMediaBar in favor of a new and improved Android-based operating system. Find out why after the break.
Something equally as impressive as the new hardware and implementation game developers have come up with so far is the functionality and connectivity of their new operating system. It allows the gamer to experience games in a much more interactive and social way. Now, when you start a game, you are taken to a Live Area that displays information about your current progress in the game and that of your friends. You can also manage challenges and DLC content from the same Live Area, creating a much more interactive experience.
The factors that Yoshida mentioned don't necessarily address why the large time gap might negatively affect PS Vita sales but there are currently 25 titles set to release with the PS Vita on February 22nd. Yoshida says that many of the games are the type of games that are very popular in the US versus Japan from genres like FPS and adventure but shortly after February 22nd we'll know if a hefty game line up will help mitigate the momentum lost from a release 9 months after E3 2011. I was able to play with one first hand at CES 2012 in January and it is light years ahead of previous PlayStation Portable devices, which was refreshing. Anyone set on trying to grab one at launch day, or did you already get one? What games are you most excited about?