What the Vita means for Sony.

#1thenoobdestroyePosted 10/11/2011 9:11:00 AM
"We may look back on 2011 as the year of Vita – 
the rumours, the reveal, the Japanese launch – but it’s a journey that Sony began some years earlier. “Since Kaz Hirai took over as Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO [in 2006], he instructed SCE’s hardware group to work closely with Worldwide Studios’ creative and tech talents to develop future PlayStation platforms,” says SCE Worldwide Studios (WWS) president Shuhei Yoshida. “PS Move was the first platform project developed in such a way, followed by PS Vita. Before PS Move and PS Vita, new platform development was exclusively driven by HW [hardware] group’s inspiration and innovation. Ever since early 2008, when the final CPU and GPU were being decided for PS Vita, WWS talents were deployed to give feedback, come up with ideas and concepts, prototypes and actual development 
of some parts of the PS Vita dev environment. It has been 
a close collaborative effort among SCEI HW group, 
SCE’s global R&D teams and WWS teams.”

With so many departments involved, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Vita includes such a broad array of features. Sony’s clearly picked up a few lessons since 
its previous handheld platform, PSP, made its debut in 2004. “The research which was done [for Vita],” says SCEE’s new president and CEO Jim Ryan, “was not by any means just looking backwards at the experiences we 
had on PSP and are currently enjoying on PS3; it was far more future facing, looking at current and prospective handheld entertainment trends.”

When you first switch on Vita, the influence of such trends is evident. Games are collected in bubbles (moveable, circular app icons), and you can hop in and out of titles with ease. Tired of biting the dust in Wipeout? Hop out and jump into something else instead. The dashboard also bears a striking similarity to the frontend of an iOS device. Has SCE decided to follow Apple’s lead, opening the gates to impulse-buy, super-low price apps, too? “I think there are lots of places for consumers to 
enjoy that sort of content; Vita is positioned at a slightly different market – the high-end gaming experience,” Ryan says. “Vita has been publicly positioned as the ultimate portable gaming experience. There are obviously going to be games on Vita which are going to reflect that quality level. Equally, at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve had success with PlayStation Minis across a variety of platforms – so [Vita will deliver] a little bit of everything.”

The phrase “a little bit of everything” could easily 
apply to the Vita hardware itself, with front touchscreen, rear trackpad, front- and rear-facing cameras and tilt controls all in the mix. Its rear trackpad remains the least known quantity, and Sony approached the feature with understandable caution, as Yoshida explains: “When SCEI’s HW group suggested that they could put a touchpad behind PS Vita’s screen, we were somewhat sceptical how it could be useful to games.” It was Bigbig Studios’ Little Deviants that swung the vote, but the trackpad was just one aspect of the endeavour that from the beginning, we’re told, had a $250 pricepoint in its sights. “There was always a desire to have a really aggressive pricepoint and not to have to launch the thing at four or five hundred dollars or euros,” Ryan reveals.
#2thenoobdestroye(Topic Creator)Posted 10/11/2011 9:12:18 AM
“$250 [£155], or 250 [£220], has always been 
our target price to hit for PS Vita, since the beginning of the development of the platform in 2008,” Yoshida asserts. “We did not price PS Vita to match 3DS. Consumers have to see the value to shell out their hard-earned money, so each product must have the right price to meet the consumers’ perception of the value proposition of each product. We believe 250 – 300 for the 3G/Wi-Fi model – is the right price for PS Vita.”

Competitive as the price is, with its heaving feature-set, is there a danger Vita will be a jack of all trades and a master of none? “I think that’s very much in the hands of developers and the publishing community,” Ryan says. “Based on the Vita applications I’ve seen thus far, that is not going to be the case.”
With a 3DS price drop (see p10) raising questions about Nintendo’s strategy in the handheld market (as Ryan coolly puts it: “I guess everybody has to look at [the 3DS price drop] and draw their own conclusions”), what is Vita’s primary selling point? “Ultimately it comes down to the games and how good they are, and that’s what we will sell it on,” Ryan says. And this time around, he maintains, SCE isn’t looking to flood its own market with ports and imitations of home console hits: “I think the key lesson we learned over time is differentiation – content really does need to be differentiated from what is available on alternate, TV-based consoles.”

http://www.next-gen.biz/features/what-vita-means-sony
#3GhetsisPosted 10/11/2011 9:20:03 AM
Cool, but you could've just left the link and not have to copypaste that wall of text.
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#4ShinigamigodXPosted 10/11/2011 9:31:22 AM
^

I second that. Link would have helped.
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#5thenoobdestroye(Topic Creator)Posted 10/11/2011 9:36:14 AM
Ghetsis posted...
Cool, but you could've just left the link and not have to copypaste that wall of text.

I'll be sure to do that next time.