Sony’s new handheld console is set for UK release this Wednesday and retailers remain confident about its sales potential despite fierce competition.
Irfan Gurser, of Kingston’s SONY store, said: “The Vita really will change portable gaming. It will change the way we see portable games for the future.”
The question is can this new model muscle in and compete with Smartphone gaming and the Apple Tablet that can provide casual users with competent gaming options to appeal outside of the gaming circle?
“I think it will take quite a big bite out of Smartphone’s market” he said. “We have had a handful of models pre-ordered for weeks now.”
Since the Vita’s release in Japan last Christmas Sony claimed to have sold half a million models outside of the European market but with sales dipping starkly from 350,000 to 37,000 after the first week.
This would still equate to an impressive turnover since Sony are charging £229.99 for the standard Wifi model and £279.99 for the 3G compatible model as guides for recommended retail prices.
The oval shape and 960×544 panel will be familiar to any owners of the PSP but graphically it is noticeably more advanced and sports textures and frame rates to rival the PS3.
Sony have learnt the lesson of previous console and have a back stock of around thirty games ready for its European release with some downloads available for as little as £10.
It is also very customisable, allowing user to tailor their apps, music and movies to their liking.
Thanks to the Content Management Assistant software that users can download for free the Vita is highly compatible and syncs well with P.C and Mac.
However, there are still areas were the Vita appears lagging compared to its rivals.
Sony boasts that one of the main strengths of the console is the ‘Near App’ that lets you connect with other Vita users in your surrounding area and exchange gaming history and in-game items.
However, as Sean Buckley of Engadget.com says “It is less intuitive then we would like … the app is interesting but far from straightforward we found ourselves thumbing through the programme unsure what to do with it.”
Couple that with the facts that the camera quality and shabby service on the web browser the Vita is far from the perfect machine.
But the big question on Sony’s mind is whether the Vita will draw in other customers who would have otherwise not bothered with a handheld console whilst trying to wrestle the Apple Tablet and Smartphone’s dominance in the market.
Nintendo were forced to slash the price of the 3DS by 40 per cent after its launch to entice buyers from the convenience and diversity of the Smartphone or Tablet to satisfy their gaming needs.
The Playstation Vita is released in the UK Wednesday 21st Feb in all good electronic stores.