Sony's Tokyo Game Show press conference shined the spotlight directly on the PlayStation Vita. A launch date was given for Japan, and it will debut alongside 26 launch titles, with 100 in total in development.
Of those 100 games, many are well-known franchises from a number of key publishers. Capcom, Square Enix, and Konami all had goodies to show off during Sony's shindig.
Yoshinori Ono took the stage to tease the already announced Street Fighter X Tekken, which now features Sony Japan's lovable news reporting cat mascots, Toro and Kuro. Ono also revealed that Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 will be available for the PlayStation Vita at launch. The title is already finished: It's just waiting for the hardware to be released.
Square Enix had some news to share as well. As part of the 10th anniversary celebration of Final Fantasy X, they're re-releasing a remastered version for both the Vita and PS3. Squeenix also unveiled Lord of Apocalypse and the worst-named title ever, Army Corps From Hell.
Hideo Kojima took the stage for Konami, mainly to show off "Transfarring". Don't you dare call it transferring, although that's exactly what it is. Zone of the Enders and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will be available for both the PS3 and Vita, but transfarring takes them to a new level of cool. At any time you can save either version, and pick up right where you left off on the other. Put in a few long hours on the PS3 version, but have to run? Load it up on the Vita and pick up right where you left off.
Sony then showed a montage of titles coming to the PlayStation Vita. Notable titles include Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Katamari, and Riiiiiidddggeeee Racer!
It wasn't all fun and games at Sony's TGS presser. They also focused on some unanswered questions many had about the PlayStation Vita.
What about my PSP games?
Sony said that "most" downloadable PSP games will be compatible with the PlayStation Vita. It’s something I'm sure that can be improved via firmware updates. They'll also be looking into a solution for UMDs. But if it's anything like the PSPgo's UMD solution, expect to be shit out of luck. (If you remember, Sony ended up not doing anything about old UMDs)
What are the options for 3G?
Here in the US, the Vita will be tied to AT&T. I know all of you iPhone users just had a panic attack, so I'll give you a second to breathe. A minute, more like. In Japan, however, Sony has teamed up with NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading mobile provider. NTT DoCoMo will offer prepaid 3G cards available in two increments: ¥980 (US$13) for a 20-hour plan, ¥4,980 ($65) for a 100-hour plan.
While nothing has been announced for the US and other regions, we expect there to be similar options with each region’s specific carrier (AT&T), since being tied to a monthly contract may be a turn off for some gamers, especially parents interested in purchasing a Vita for their children.
Of course, you could always just stick with Wi-Fi only.
What about accessories?
This may not be the most burning question for most of you, but like all mobile devices, there's always a shitload of accessories to go with your shiny new, easily-breakable device. Fret not, there's a case for that. In fact, there are two. There's a leather case or foam pouch a 'la PSP. There's also a charger cradle, a car AC adapter, various cables, etc.
Memory cards too?
Here's the real bummer. The PlayStation Vita doesn't use Sony's Memory Stick Pro Duo, Micro, or any form of Memory Stick. Nor does it use a SD card. Instead it uses a special proprietary memory card only used in the PlayStation Vita. These memory cards give me flashbacks of the PSP. I paid $150 for a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo shortly after the PSP launch. They were so freakin' expensive. I'm sad to be the bearer of bad news, but these Vita memory sticks will run you anywhere from $25 to $100 for the largest capacity (32GB). Granted these are Yen to weak, puny American dollar conversions we're talking about. But anything over $50 for any capacity memory card is too expensive. Especially if you want to take advantage of the Vita's crisp OLED screen by watching movies or viewing hi-res pics. (Sony spent a LONG time during their conference showing pictures of a pair of Corgis)
Sony is doing a great job with the PlayStation Vita launch. They're preparing plenty of launch software and have a clear plan to continue strong software support throughout the Vita launch window and beyond. Clearing up questions about 3D is a must, and providing prepaid options is seemingly expensive, but it’s a good idea to cater to younger gamers. Showing off accessories is standard, but the memory cards really put a damper on a solid launch schedule. Now, if Sony can execute all of this according to plan, the PlayStation Vita will be very successful in its homeland straight out of the gate. Lauching in Japan first gives Sony ample time to adjust their strateegy accordingly and come up with more varied software that is a little more appealing to Western audiences.