Although we knew there would be a Japanese PlayStation press conference today, we had kind of figured it would just contain the confirmation of the PS4 release date on its home turf, along with maybe a couple of new game announcements. Surprising everyone however, Sony came right out and announced a brand new Vita model, along with a micro console, and some new handheld games!
First, the new console. Although it was always likely that a cheaper model of the Vita would be released at some point, most expected it to be around summer next year, after the Vita had been on the shelves for at least two years. Instead however, an all-new version of the system has been confirmed today, and will be heading out to Japanese gamers on October 10th for 18,900 Yen (around $190). There is no news yet on whether the new device will make it to Western shores, but it seems more than likely, and could accompany a further price cut, making the handheld even more attractive. It will be available in black, white, and a variety of brighter colors as well.
Compared to the difference between, say an original PSP model, and the PSP Go, there isn’t a ton of changes between the two Vita systems. The new model is 20% thinner and 15% lighter, which is always good news, and advances in battery technology will give an additional 1 hour to your gaming time. Unfortunately however, the one selling point that has been excised from the original device was the wonderful OLED screen, with a new 5” LCD one taking its place. On the plus side however, 1GB of storage memory will be built into the device, meaning that gamers can save games and install modest game updates without having to shell out for a memory card, something that really should have been part of the Vita from day one.
Talking of memory cards, Sony also announced a brand new 64GB capacity card that will be released for the Vita very soon, accompanying a price cut of the memory cards that are already available.
While the new Vita model was certainly a surprise, more was to come with the additional announcement of the PS Vita TV. If that name brings to mind Apple TV, then you will be thinking along the right lines.This new device allows you to stream video to your television using already existing apps like Hulu, as well as having a slot to play Vita games as well, using a DualShock 3 controller.
Once again no launch details were shared for Western territories, however in Japan the PS Vita TV will cost around $95, and launch on November 14th. A bundle containing the device as well as a stylish white DualShock 3 controller will also be available for around $150.
If the announcement of two new pieces of hardware wasn’t enough for you, Sony also announced some new handheld games for their revitalized system. Soul Sacrifice Delta is the follow-up to the well received action RPG of earlier this year. It will be released exclusively on Vita next March, at least in Japan. Phantasy Star Nova meanwhile, is the latest in a long line of mainly online RPG’s, although this particular game will be offline only.
Whether or not these games and devices see a release outside of Japan is currently unknown, but you would expect at the bare minimum that the new version of the Vita will see a Western release, and hopefully its lower price and built-in memory will entice even more gamers to join the Vita club. In the meantime, it is hoped that both the new Vita and the PS Vita TV will be making an appearance at the Tokyo Games Show in less that two weeks. If that is the case, you can expect a full hands-on preview, along with any exciting Vita games that catch our eye – when we aren’t being distracted by Killzone: Shadow Fall on the PS4 that is.