Aside from the explosion of online gaming, patches and DLC, one other thing that faster internet has brought to this generation of console gaming is the firmware upgrade. In days gone by your console played games, and it didn’t change its functionality from the day you bought it to whenever you either binned it, sold it or hiked it into your attic. Nowadays it seems every few weeks we need to download an upgrade to the firmware of our console, mobile phone or PC, and we love it. Don’t we?
Anyway, that rambling introduction is due to the first major firmware update to hit Japan, one which it seems likely will be pre-installed in our lovely shiny western Vita units come February 22nd. Sadly for Sony Japan, upgrade 1.6 doesn’t include a built in Monster Hunter game, but instead adds some new map functions and a video recorder.
Extra features added to the Vita’s map include the ability to search your local area for restaurants, ATM machines etc although it isn’t known whether this will need the 3G version of the console to work, or just the GPS built-in to all the consoles. Presumably if you are near a Wi-Fi hotspot it would work regardless. The video capture function speaks for itself really, it was sorely lacking in the original release of the Vita and at the very least adds one more thing to this list of stuff it can do. Of course the camera on the machine is pretty poor so you wont be recording anything in HD.
Going off on a tangent a little here, although a nice extra the “extra” features added once again highlight a slight issue I have with the Vita. It seems that everything that is being touted as being an ‘extra feature’ is something that you can already do, and probably much better, on your mobile phone. Give us some more gaming related apps Sony, and remember that very few of us will be tweeting, facebooking, GPS’ing or videoing from our Vita. Not when Uncharted or Ninja Gaiden are inserted into the card slot anyway.