September 9, 2013
Sony Japan: New Vita Slim and PlayStation Vita t.v.
Last night Sony Japan held a press event to announce several things including the launch of the PlayStation 4 in Japan. If you are in Japan, you can get your hands on the PlayStation 4 on February 22nd, 2014. For waiting that long, three months after the European and North American launch, you do score a free digital copy of Knack. The console will run ¥39,980 or$401. Also from last night was the announcement for the Vita Slim, which will launch in Japan on October 10th. There are slight weight and thickness reductions, but the biggest differences is the switch from the OLED screen to a normal LCD and the battery life has increased by an hour. It is a curious question why they dropped the OLED, which gave the handheld beautiful color and resolution over its competition and went with the cheaper LED, which will not produce the same resolution or color depth. The added battery life could be a result of the screen swapping, though the Slim will launch at $199, the same price the OLED display Vita is sitting at. Two added bonuses to the slim’s credit, it comes with 1GB of on board memory, so a memory card is not required out of the box, and it comes in a variety of colors. There is no word on if this slimmer version of the Vita will hit internationally, it is just in Japan at the moment. Personally, I would rather ditch the extra hour of battery for the OLED screen. When I power up my Vita, I still can’t get over how great the screen looks. I don’t think I would trade that and the clarity, for an hour more of battery life.
One the heals of the Vita Slim, Sony announced PlayStation Vita T.V., a small standalone device that will do a multitude of things. The device includes a port for Vita games, a Vita Memory card slot, and HDMI port. The PS Vita T.V. will be able to play certain Vita games (ones that don’t require a touch screen/touch pad), digital PSP and PS1 titles; the device will also use services such as Hulu and the like for video streaming capabilities. The Vita T.V. will be able to pair with a DualShock 3 for your game playing needs. The PS Vita T.V. will also stream PS4 titles from a PS4 to a T.V. that is not in the same room, doing much what the Wii U does with its Gamepad. The PS Vita T.V. will launch in Japan on November 14th, and will retail for ¥9,480 or $95. There will be a bundle that will have the Vita T.V., an 8GB memory card, and a Dualshock 3 for ¥14,280 or $143. There is no sign of an international release, I have a feeling that there will be. I think Sony is waiting to see what the PS4 install base will look like after the holiday and what the recent price cut to Vita does for sales. I also expect them to go after other digital streams as well, such as Netflix, for a U.S. or European release. The Vita T.V., if it hits our shores could put devices like Roku and Apple T.V. in a world of hurt, as well as Android powered consoles like the Ouya. If cable stations start to have subscription services on devices and I can get NHL Center Ice and NFL Sunday ticket on this device, I will never own a cable box again. What is your opinion? Would you like this device outside of Japan? I know I would.
* Images credit – The Verge