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Five Things We Learned at the Japan PS Vita Launch

James Gallagher's Avatar + Posted by James Gallagher on Dec 23, 2011 // Blog Manager, SCEE

As you may have seen from the photo story posted earlier in the week, I attended the Japanese launch of PlayStation Vita. It wasn’t all gaming and bento boxes: I used the time to catch up with as many senior colleagues and game developers as I could. You can look forward to full interviews in the run up to February 22nd’s North American Vita launch day, but in the meantime, here are five things that I didn’t know about PS Vita before, but do now.

  1. What’s included in the box
  2. PS Vita Unboxed

    Bear in mind that this is a Japanese model and the actual contents may vary, such as the North American model also including six AR Play Cards.

  3. PS Vita was designed by the same person as the original Walkman
  4. We had the chance to speak to Mr. Takashi Sogabe of the Sony Corporate Design Centre, the team responsible for the look and feel of PlayStation Vita, for what turned out to be an interesting hour. It turned out that Mr. Sogabe has 27 years of experience with the company and designed the original Walkman.

    He revealed that the team went through various designs, including one with a sliding back like PSPgo and a clamshell, before settling on the final model after discussion with developers. He also said that he originally wanted the exterior to be entirely metallic but that proved impossible due to the antennae required for the Wi-Fi and 3G connections.

    The biggest surprise came when he pulled three prototype machines from his bag (I wasn’t allowed to take any photos but I did try!) One of them featured touch pads in place of the dual analog sticks and Mr. Sogabe told me that the sticks were decided on in the end because they provided the most accurate controls.

    A full interview with Mr. Sogabe will be posted in the new year.

  5. PlayStation Vita is designed by game developers, for game developers
  6. We’ve heard developers say that PS Vita is a joy to make games for, but how is it different to other systems out there? Is it the hardware itself, the SDK, the support structure or something else entirely?

    President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida shed some light on this during our interview.

    Shuhei_pic1

    “When Kaz Hirai took over management of SCEI,” he explained, “he brought in the approach of fully integrating software and hardware development. Before that, we made brilliant hardware, no question of that, but our hardware team didn’t have such a good understanding of what game developers need or what features might be useful.”

    “[With PS Vita] we [Worldwide Studios] were there right at the beginning to express our thoughts and reactions to the hardware that was being proposed. We were there at every stage and with every prototype, and we developed game builds to prove and, sometimes, disprove how each new feature was going to make for a great game system.”

  7. Welcome Park is your introduction to all the key features and it includes trophies
  8. One of the first things you’re likely to play on your new PS Vita is Welcome Park. It has been designed by members of Japan Studio who also worked on Hot Shots Golf and, while its main purpose is to introduce features such as touch controls and the cameras, it does so through minigames that are surprisingly deep.

    They include Digit Chase, a front touch game where you have to tap number in sequence (tougher than it sounds); Snap + Slide, which generates tile sliding puzzles from photos you take; and Sound Loop, a simple but excellent synthesizer that lets you record sounds using the built-in microphone and loop them against a variety of pre-recorded beats.

    Welcome Park also has its own Trophies: one gold, one silver and 11 bronze.

  9. Gravity Rush has the same game director as Siren: Blood Curse
  10. We haven’t posted much about Gravity Rush, the cel-shaded action adventure coming exclusively to PlayStation Vita, but that’s going to change in the new year after I played it and found it to be one of the most interesting new titles on the handheld. I also spoke with the game’s director, Keiichiro Toyama, and discovered not only that he worked on PS3 horror Siren: Blood Curse, but that his greatest inspiration for Gravity Daze is the comics of Jean Giraud, AKA Moebius. Here’s a trailer.



//Add Your Own

68 Comments

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1

+ ThumbsOfSteel74 on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:08 am said:

They’re all #1. :P


2

+ RecoilX on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:10 am said:

When are we getting prices for 3g with AT&T for the PS Vita please?


3

+ WATERSTAND on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:18 am said:

Hey wait a minute! I DIDN’T GET THE WIPE ON MY BOX!!!


4

+ krae_man on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:19 am said:

Man, you just made me want another Siren game.


5

+ EmoSaga on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:23 am said:

@RecoilX they’ll use “time/GB Cards” for example: 1 Month/1 GB. Which ever comes first. This is how Japan does it, and this is how GameStop lists it as well for the NA version. I think its like $20 for 1 month/1 GB. They have a 2 GB Card too I think.

So you like… buy the card at a store, or online and use a code to give yourself online access.


6

+ KILLSON13 on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:27 am said:

What are the AR play cards for?


7

+ germix27 on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 am said:

Awesome cant wait to launch day!!


8

+ SolduNuts on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:41 am said:

EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot wait until Feb. so I can get my hands on what is sure to be the best handheld gaming device ever released. People can keep their cheap Android games, I will take Uncharted and Gravity Rush over them any day. I better start saving today so I can get a couple of games along with my PSV on release.

Sold.


9

+ WATERSTAND on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:43 am said:

Was I supposed to have a wipe on my PSVita??? I think the guys packaging it took it. Son of a guns.


10

+ remanutd5 on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:04 am said:

im loving all the vita posts lately but they are not enough , how about giving us some info on the 3G service ? why arent Motorstorm RC , Little Big Planet , Resistance Burning Skies and Ruin not listed as launch window games ? is there gonna be a youtube app ? how about giving us more info on Killzone vita ?


11

+ TANZEB123 on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:06 am said:

Hello! I have a question. Some people are saying that there are some games that wont work without the memory card. is this true? If so can you fix that problem? I also heard that this happens with some of the ps vita apps.


12

+ poodude on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:11 am said:

Cool, can’t wait to pick mine up February 15th.


13

+ LionsguardAgrias on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:30 am said:

Nice!
Are there going to be colors other than black? I love my carnival blue PSP.


14

+ derFunk on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 am said:

Did you learn anything about when PSOne classics will work? By US launch?


15

+ Nightmare142 on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 am said:

I can’t take it, there’s so many pics and videos about unboxing, i’m trying to hold myself back from importing this.


16

+ Hooligantuan on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:55 am said:

It’s just a handheld, dude.

Honestly, until they integrate handheld content with the PSN trophy system, I can’t take seriously the idea of them taking their handhelds seriously.

Kinda like how I couldn’t take the Motion Controller craze seriously when nobody has been able to make console gun games work since Duck Hunt.


17

+ zzamaro on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 am said:

Colors?


18

+ ItaChu on December 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 am said:

how about a free psn game for PS Plus members for Vita in February…. you know now that I think about that …. is the Vita gonna be included in the PS Plus program ….you know free games for it :) ????


19

+ Butters360 on December 23rd, 2011 at 10:21 am said:

The wait is becoming unbearable. Gravity Rush is looking like it will be a system seller.


20

+ ItaChu on December 23rd, 2011 at 10:31 am said:

oh wow that Gravity Rush trailer was intense …. might buy it someday


21

+ Ajanma on December 23rd, 2011 at 11:07 am said:

@Hooligantuan

Vita games have trophies. Hell, the hardware itself has trophies built-in for its feature tutorial. Did you even read the big bold words in #4?


22

+ Enigma777 on December 23rd, 2011 at 12:30 pm said:

Jesus Christ, Gravity Rush looks really awesome! I think it just became my most anticipated Vita game!


23

+ KazeEternal on December 23rd, 2011 at 12:38 pm said:

Is that a removable battery I see in that first picture. Please say yes, as this was a major concern for me with the Vita.


24

+ zombie9 on December 23rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm said:

does anyone know what a vita game looks like? Also I imagine most Vita Games will be ported to PS3!!!


25

+ Sparx88 on December 23rd, 2011 at 12:51 pm said:

I’m still debating as to whether I get this or the other available system (although I am leaning towards the Vita quite a bit). But really I don’t see a whole lot of launch titles that really interest me. They look good for what they are but just don’t seem to be my cup of tea. If anything the first year of Vita ownership might be just catching up on all the PSP titles I missed out on.


26

+ starBlinky01 on December 23rd, 2011 at 1:04 pm said:

Everytime I read this I always think.. MY GOD Kaz youare amazing. Joining the hardware team with software was a stroke of genius.

Great job.


27

+ Sukiru_xX on December 23rd, 2011 at 1:13 pm said:

@KazeEternal
It should be, since they might think of making an extended battery for longer game play or something similar, i don’t know though


28

+ apoco_483 on December 23rd, 2011 at 1:44 pm said:

No. I don’t think it’s a removable battery, as it is simply the AC Adapter. You know the kind that splits into three parts? The block in the middle, where you plug in the AC Wall Plug, and the PSVita connector split. Lol.


29

+ D-Squad3 on December 23rd, 2011 at 2:23 pm said:

@22 That’s the adapter, not a battery.

@15 Trophies are synced between PS3 and Vita, so they both add up together.

Sony, what about that $300 wifi bundle for the US?


30

+ KirAMinh on December 23rd, 2011 at 2:28 pm said:

Cant wait for next Friday – my Vita arrived from HK :(


31

+ D-Squad3 on December 23rd, 2011 at 2:35 pm said:

I want some Gravity Rush wallpapers!


32

+ YoGramGram on December 23rd, 2011 at 3:15 pm said:

What’s a AR Play Card?


33

+ hanajimasohma on December 23rd, 2011 at 3:47 pm said:

@31 an Augmented Reality card…like the ones for a 3ds.


34

+ Sgt_0951 on December 23rd, 2011 at 3:47 pm said:

As I mentioned before, the fact that you’re using AT&T is what’s preventing me from buying this, and a Wi-Fi only model is useless to me. Get someone other than AT&T to give me 3G service and you might finally convince me to buy a Playstation Portable device.


35

+ eddieMX07 on December 23rd, 2011 at 5:32 pm said:

I have a question…

With the Vita be able to play mp3′s and video files like the PSP?

Wish I had the money to go to Japan and buy one of this things…


36

+ hopevita on December 23rd, 2011 at 6:22 pm said:

1. $249.99 for PSVita wifi model & $299.99 for PSVita 3G/Wifi model. Well if PSVita is packing Hard Drive then i am in but if its not packing Hard Drive i am not in. Why?

2. One you don’t get no built in memory or memory to save your games unless you pay extra cash for one. Now if their change the price here in USA to be the same old price as when the PSP was then i am in.

3. $169.99 for wifi PSVita is fair deal & $199.99 for 3G PSVita is greater deal. Why? You need to buy memory card sony made for it & PSVita is not worth the price it is.


37

+ hopevita on December 23rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm said:

4. And doing it will help PSVita sell more faster here in USA then at Japan. Even if their don’t decrease the price i am still looking into getting one. Why? This is PSVita & its awesome no matter what anyone says but me. ;)

5. Joking at side; Sony is high price company and i can see why their cost that much for anything. And i learn one thing from sony over the years that it is easy taking candy from baby by making sure we make them pay more then its true cost. >.< O_o

Five Things We Learned about Sony Candy Launch is: 1: taking candy from baby, 2: make them pay more for it so we make the $, 3:Sony is so green for $, 4: Sony brand is not all that great, 5: we are stupid for buying it in the first place.

PS: This is something that is true if you think i am wrong or what ever you may say i am still right no matter what you think of it.


38

+ bigz512 on December 23rd, 2011 at 8:43 pm said:

I didnt have intentions on even using welcome park, but noow that I knnow it has trophies, I might as well turn that one before I get to playing Uncharted or Little Deviants lol. Also, Gravity Daze is the best looking PSVita game. I think in terms of visuals, it even passes Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Thank god I dont have to wait too long


39

+ etur0 on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:14 pm said:

@ KazeEternal that is just the ac adapter and I believe it doesn’t have a removable battery but there will be a portable charger for it just search for ps vita portable charger


40

+ Rata_Morena on December 23rd, 2011 at 10:45 pm said:

weres killzone and call of duty for vita I’m a shooter just uncharted for launch


41

+ Terminator_TX3 on December 23rd, 2011 at 10:57 pm said:

With digital down loads, are users able to re-download a game that was deleted on the memory stick because the PlayStation 3 doesn’t allow that even though the game is contained / attached to the online profile?


42

+ paper92 on December 24th, 2011 at 1:45 am said:

All you guys would have to do is throw in a 2 GB memory card, and I seriously would have nothing to complain about. The average consumer isn’t going to be fully aware they pretty much need a memory card in order to use the Vita. Even a 1 GB one would be grand, just something to get the first few games up and running. Probably too late to change this now, but a very overlooked item indeed =(

Regardless, I’m buying the HELL outta this when it comes stateside.


43

+ dokoganryu on December 24th, 2011 at 7:12 am said:

Keiichiro Toyama, of course, also created Silent HIll. Top designer.


44

+ BalramRules on December 24th, 2011 at 7:16 am said:

I personally cannot WAIT until the PS Vita is released over here, and besides, this looks like a promising device, that I can tell will be successful here in the West, though, hopefully Sony will be making a profit from this device sooner than later (as I hear it, they’re making a loss, just as they did with the PS3, at its early stages), and so the prices will decrease over time, gathering an even larger fanbase than ever before, coz I’m certainly interested in this (Cross-Game Chatting, FINALLY!) :D
Good Luck Sony!


45

+ Aedon2 on December 24th, 2011 at 9:14 am said:

I can’t wait for the 3g one to come to Canada. As for games I’m liking the new Katamari game. It’s always so much fun to run around with your katamari full of junk :D


46

+ El_Pollo_CA on December 24th, 2011 at 10:26 am said:

I have a quick, if not possibly dumb question…So you log into the Vita with your psn account and attain trophies which will then list along with your PS3 trophies? Or will they be separate in some way? Say if you check your trophies on the PS3, will the Vita trophies have Vita next to them or something more like DLC trophies??

Is there a post somewhere that explains how trophies work on the Vita.. In a nutshell!

Thank you and Merry Christmas one and all. Happy Gaming


47

+ k3rrar1 on December 24th, 2011 at 2:13 pm said:

this game is so cold but i wish the name was difference


48

+ Hooligantuan on December 24th, 2011 at 4:39 pm said:

@20 Ajanma

What number 4? You show me a 4 up there. I dare you.


49

+ Hooligantuan on December 24th, 2011 at 4:42 pm said:

(And this doesn’t change that they had the opportunity to implement trophies for the previous handhelds and did nothing. The UMD was a flop. The Go was poorly supported. I have no reason to expect them to do anything more with the Vita than sell hyped hardware. This is the age of smartphones and Sony doesn’t get it.)


50

+ Twolf1470 on December 24th, 2011 at 6:49 pm said:

That.LOOKS.#1AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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