Monday, September 09, 2013

New PS Vita hardware announced by Sony, including the game-streaming PS Vita TV

Announced on Monday, the news makes perfect sense considering that just weeks ago Sony cut pricing on its PS Vita handheld gaming console by some $50. Sony announced a second generation of its successor to the PSP on Sunday (via Engadget).

To be clear, the recent price drop occurred in Europe and the U.S. Japanese gamers were treated to a price cut in February.

The PlayStation Vita PCH-2000 is 15 percent lighter and 20 percent thinner than the original model; the new device will also have longer battery life, about one hour. Reversing the PS4 retail launch, the new (wi-fi-only) Vita will hit Japan first, on Oct, 10 priced at 18,980 yen (or about $190 at current exchange rates).

Other hardware changes include an LCD screen instead of the original's OLED display, a microUSB charging port, 1GB of onboard storage and pink, black, blue, grey, lime green, and yellow color options.

While Sony said that the wi-fi-only original PS Vita model will eventually be discontinued, the 3G/wi-fi OLED version will continue to be available and will find its way into discount bundles in the future, such as the already announced "Play!" Game Pack, which comes with pre-installed games and a memory card, as well as 90 days of PS Plus, free.

Another piece of PS Vita hardware was unveiled, as well. Sony announced the PS Vita TV, which is a 6.4 cm x 10.5 cm console and set-top box that connects to a -- what else -- television. Gamers can use the PS3′s Dual Shock 3 controller to play games.

PS Vita TV will launch in Japan on Nov. 14; Sony did elaborate on availability in other regions. At $95 the price seems reasonable, but it doesn't include the required PS3 Dual Shock controller, and thus is somewhat misleading.

Sony said that the PS Vita TV will play many -- not all -- of the games that have been released so far for the PS Vita platform. It can't play all of them, as many use the touchscreen, motion sensors, camera and other inputs that are only available on the handheld.

Despite that, Sony said that the device will play about 1,300 games, at launch, That’s because it can also play all of the PSP and PSone games that are currently available to download via the PlayStation Network digital games service.

The PS Vita can also be used for streaming. In fact, a “future system update” will allow users to use Vita TV to stream PlayStation 4 games.

A slideshow is available here.

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