We have been hearing a lot about Sony's fabled NGP or Next Generation Portable gaming console ever since the first official confirmation of its existence was made way back in January, but leave it to the Japanese company to regenerate public interest in its upcoming console by announcing its official name at this year's E3. That being said, how would you like to own a PlayStation VITA when it is finally released for retail?
Well, it is finally official. After having teased gamers from all over the world with information about its upcoming handheld gaming console which has been given the codename of "Next Generation Portable", Sony has finally come full circle to furnish the last bit of information needed to give the device its own unique identity in the market for portable gaming consoles. In an announcement made in this year's E3, the company's executive vice president Kaz Hirai revealed that the console will be officially named as the Playstation Vita.
Why "Vita", you may ask? Apparently, Sony must have expected that certain gamers would be scratching their heads and complaining about why such a powerful and sleek looking console would be given such a cringe-worthy name, for Hirai had to explain that "Vita" was a Latin word used to describe "life", and that Sony strongly believes that the PlayStation Vita "will be the first device that truly blurs those lines between entertainment and real life".
Hirai also added that the PlayStation Vita will be launched globally at the end of 2011 and will be available in two versions: WiFi-only and 3G + WiFi. The WiFi-only model will retail for 24,980 yen, US$249 and €249 in Japan, the US and Europe respectively, while the 3G + WiFi model is a little pricier with its 29,480 yen, US$299 and €299 price tag in their respective markets.
In addition, Sony has revealed that the PlayStation Vita will come with two preloaded applications known as "Party" and "Welcome Park". "Party" is a social networking tool which "enables users to enjoy voice chat or text chat not only during online gaming, but also when users are playing different games or using different applications such as internet browser" while "Welcome Park" can be best described as a tutorial which helps gamers familiarize themselves with the PlayStation Vita's interface.
Oh, and by the way, Hirai dropped a bombshell by announcing that the PlayStation Vita will be exclusive to AT&T in the US. Let's just hope that there will be no such "exclusive arrangements" with our local carriers when the Vita finally makes its way down to the shores of sunny Singapore.
Full hardware specifications for the portable gaming console are as follows:
ARM Cortex -A9 core (4 core)
Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear touch pad
Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Front camera, Rear camera
Frame rate : 120fps@320×240(QVGA), 60fps@640×480(VGA)
Resolution : Up to 640×480(VGA)
Built-in stereo speakers
Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Built-in GPS (3G/Wi-Fi model only)
Wi-Fi location service support
Keys / Switches
Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)
Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)
Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)
Right stick, Left stick
START button, SELECT button
Volume buttons (+/-)
Mobile network connectivity (3G/Wi-Fi model only)
IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR A2DP/AVRCP/HSP
PlayStation Vita card slot
Memory card slot
SIM card slot (3G/Wi-Fi model only)
Multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC IN, Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In], Serial data communication),
Headset jack (Stereo mini jack) (for Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In])
Built-In Lithium-ion Battery,
MP3 MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3?MP4 (MPEG-4 AAC)?WAVE (Linear PCM)
MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC)?H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Hi/Main/Baseline Profile (AAC)
JPEG (Exif 2.2.1), TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG