• Sony Unveils Mobile PlayStation Vita with Networking

    Amid a slew of E3 announcements -- and in the wake of hack attacks -- Sony on Monday announced its next competitive move in the mobile-gaming-console market: The PlayStation Vita. The name means "life" in Latin.

    Sony will sell a Wi-Fi model for $249 and a 3G/Wi-Fi version for $299 in the U.S. The product is set to debut at the end of the year and will go head to head against Nintendo's 3DS handheld gaming device.

    "Sony is really trying to drive the mobile experience forward and kick it up a notch," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner. "The key is going to be offering a differentiated experience that you can't get on a phone device, which has been one of the challenges. The question is whether consumers will pay for that premium gaming experience or is their mobile phone going to be good enough?"

    A Smartphone Experience

    Here's the specs on Vita: It comes equipped with a five-inch multi-touch organic light-emitting diode as the front display and a multi-touch pad on the rear. Vita lets users interact directly with games in 3D-like motion by finger motions of touching, grabbing, tracing, pushing and pulling. Vita also comes with two analog sticks for shooting, action and fighting games.

    Sony promises Vita will empower social gaming by letting users meet, connect, share and play with friends in different locations. The Vita comes with an application called "near" that lets users see what games other Vita users nearby are playing or recently played. The app also lets users share their game information and enables location-based game features like gifting.
    With gifting, a user can access virtual game-related items that others are sharing by checking in at geographic locations others have visited. Those virtual items range from unlocked gaming content to character costumes, weapons and treasures. Gifting aims to raise the bar on social connectivity with a portable gaming experience.

    "It's the same approach to some degree that Nintendo is taking with its 3GS," Gartenberg said. "The problem they are facing is that the experience on an iPhone or iPod touch is pretty compelling from a gaming-experience standpoint. We're seeing a lot more sophisticated games, and those devices do much more than let you play games."

    A New Frontier

    Meanwhile, a pre-installed social-networking app called Party lets gamers launch voice chat or text chat during online gaming or when users are playing different games or using different apps, like an Internet browser.

    Sony also unveiled some of the new in-house titles that will debut with Vita, including Gravity Daze, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Hot Shots Golf, Reality Fighter, Hustle Kings, MoNation Racers, Wipeout 2048, and Super Stardust Delta. Third-party game developers and publishers are also planning titles for the new platform.

    "Sony to some degree is facing an entirely new set of challenges in the mobile space. Apple has sort of become this wild card in mobile gaming using the iOS platform to drive gaming forward, and a lot of those games are also coming in at much lower costs," Gartenberg said. "It will be interesting to see how consumers react to the device and if they will be willing to spend a few hundred more dollars on a differentiated gaming experience."

    Source: Yahoo