PlayStation Vita Roundtable
Posted on Wednesday, February 22 @ 13:44:18 PST by Anthony Severino
Editor's Note: The following is a multi-site roundtable discussion of the PlayStation Vita featuring Destructoid, PlayStation LifeStyle, PlayStation Universe, and (of course) Game Revolution.
Q: The PlayStation Vita has a bevy of new features over the PSP. Which feature do you believe is the device’s best point, and why? And do you think developers will fully explore the rear touch panel’s potential as a secondary input?
Daniel Bischoff, News Editor, Game Revolution: It sounds silly to ignore the huge screen, dual-analog sticks, 3G support, and touch panels, but the PlayStation Vita’s burly amount of RAM is the best new feature over the PSP and over the PS3, in fact. I abhor the PS3’s operating system, so the fact that menus, games, friend-communication, and more will load swiftly is a saving grace. It’ll take some time, but I’m sure the rear touch panel will get the proper love it deserves. Look at how the DS’s second-touch screen was misunderstood early on.
Nicholas Michetti, News Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle: By far, the Vita's best features are the front touch screen and the right analog stick. The front touch screen will increase accessibility among non-gamers and gamers alike. The right analog stick will offer a more robust console-like experience for core gamers (including a more authentic FPS gameplay experience) and make core games more accessible to them. Both benefit developers as well, as the Vita allows them to make more iOS-style touch screen games and better control layout for their core games as well.
As for the rear touch panel, its accessibility from a controls standpoint may end up playing the biggest role in whether or not developers use it. If it's difficult to access easily—especially when in conjunction with other controls—it may not see much integration past the initial wave of Vita titles. Another factor is how the touch panel's functionality lends itself to gameplay use. If swiping, rubbing, tapping, etc., doesn't find itself naturally coming up in gameplay, the panel may just become a substitute for L2 or R2 on the Vita.
Dale North, Editor-in-Chief, Destructoid: The best feature of the Vita is its 'anywhere' connectivity via Wi-Fi and 3G. Its ability to play networked games and update scores on the go, as well as pull down new games and content is a first for a dedicated portable game system.
Developers will definitely use the Vita's rear touch panel—your fingers are already on it, so it might as well be used! It's already been used in very creative ways in the launch lineup.
Adam Dolge, Executive Editor, PlayStation Universe: On first glance, I think the second analog stick is the biggest selling point for gamers. Based on conversations in our forums, the addition of the right analog stick is the biggest selling point largely because it opens the door to more console-style games, especially first-person shooters. As for the rear touch panel, I think it has potential to offer some truly unique gaming opportunities. However, it could easily turn into a gimmick if not used properly. While many gamers like the small, quirky mobile phone style games, the core market wants more meat in their games, and right now the rear panel simply sounds like a new feature that could go underutilized.
Q: Since the PlayStation Vita’s launch in Japan, sales of Sony’s new handheld have been on a steady weekly decline. The decidedly Western-friendly launch lineup of software and lack of key Japanese franchises are mostly to blame. Will the PlayStation Vita find more success in the West, where in the past the PSP was most successful in Japan?
Dale North: The Vita will do better in the West. The launch lineup will appear strong here in contrast, and Sony has had time to prepare the next wave of Vita titles to follow the launch. Plus, those key titles are coming for Japan. A Monster Hunter game is in the works—that's all they really need.
Adam Dolge: It’s going to depend on the investment from developers. Yes, the launch lineup is definitely geared towards a more Western market, but that core gamer will want titles that are closer to a PS3 experience than a PSP experience. Luckily, we have games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss to give diehard PlayStation fans a reason to buy Vita, but the addition of a God of War game, or something like it, will help in the long run. Monster Hunter will also help Japan gamers want to pick up the Vita.
Nicholas Michetti: The Vita, at least in theory, should be more successful in the West. Titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Unit 13 were definitely brought to Vita's launch and launch window (respectively) for Western gamers. Call of Duty is said to be coming this year and Assassin's Creed may be coming this year as well—both of which are franchises with West-heavy appeal. Software-wise, Vita seems like it's going to have a very Western-friendly 2012, but price issues and the popularity of the 3DS may prove to be challenges for the platform in Western territories.
Daniel Bischoff: At launch the Vita will see more success, but in the long-term, the Vita will do gangbusters in Japan. Sony’s packed the handheld full of connectivity-friendly features and once a killer-app is released in the Japanese market, gamers in the Far East won’t be able to resist.
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