The PlayStation Vita, Sony's latest portable gaming console, has had a rough start in life. According to VGChartz, it has only sold about 5.7 million units worldwide since launch compared to the 33.5 million units sold by its primary competitor, the Nintendo 3DS. Down but not out, the Vita may soon get a new lease on life thanks to two new models announced by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (SCEI) in its pre-Tokyo Game Show conference today, one of which abandons portability entirely in favor of an Apple TV-like living room experience.
Just two weeks ago at Gamescom Sony announced that the original model of the PS Vita would drop in price to US$199/€199 in North America and Europe, and 269.95 AUD in Australia. However, if you're in the market for a PS Vita you may want to wait until the newer, slimmer model arrives in your territory, though Sony did not reveal when that might be. It will retail for ¥18,980 ($190) when it launches in Japan on Oct. 10.
Though it's unlikely that all six colors will be made available outside of Japan, the new version is 20 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the original, and its battery lasts an hour longer (lasting up to six hours). It also includes 1 GB of internal storage, so you'll be able to save your progress without a memory card. The only real downside of the new model is its sacrifice of image quality, since it swaps in a 5 inch LCD in place of the original model's OLED screen.
The PS Vita TV
Sony's big surprise was the unveiling of the PS Vita TV which could be Sony's answer to the Apple TV or Ouya game console. It's small (just 6.5 cm x 10.5 cm) and connects to your television to play games and stream content through popular services. It plays PS Vita games as well hundreds of PS1 classics and PSP titles downloaded from the PlayStation Store.
It has a card slot for your library of physical PS Vita games, takes Vita memory cards, and will sport PlayStation 4 remote play functionality. And if you're in a hurry you can put the system in standby mode and automatically resume from where you left off.
Games are controlled using a standard DualShock 3 controller, but it's a bit unclear how certain Vita games will work if they make extensive use of the Vita's touch screen and rear touch panel. When using the remote play feature, which will be patched in after the PS4 launches, you'll use a DualShock 4.
Best of all, the PS Vita TV will retail for just ¥9,480 ($95), making it an incredibly attractive option for gamers on a budget. With its strong library of cheap downloadable titles, the PS Vita TV looks like it'll eat the Ouya for lunch, and if the rumors of Android-based consoles from Google and Amazon are true, they'll have a steep uphill battle against this thing.
A value pack that includes a white DualShock 3 and 8 GB memory card will sell for about $50 more. It launches in Japan on Nov. 14, while international pricing and release dates are to be determined.
Sony also announced it will be dropping prices of its Vita memory cards, and will introduce a new 64 GB card in October that will retail for ¥10,479 ($104). You can watch the entire two hour press conference on UStream, or simply watch the Vita-related highlights below.
Source: SCEI press releases
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