Sony today launches the PlayStation Vita in the UK.
The Japanese electronics giant hopes its portable gaming console will push sales of games for dedicated gaming devices, and stop the loss of gamers to mobile devices and online games. The Vita launches today: Wednesday 22 February.
The PlayStation Vita costs £230 for the Wi-Fi only version, and £299 for the 3G and Wi-Fi model. It has a large touchscreen and a touch-sensitive back panel. Portable gaming thus becomes a more all-round experience, utlilising all hands.
How well the complimentary front and rear touch interfaces function depends on which game you're playing; as an example, while playing the twin-stick shooter Super StarDust Delta you can tap and drag your finger along the rear touchpad to place gravity wells, or tap the front touchscreen to target your missiles. If you don't like the touchscreen controls, you can always use physical buttons instead.
The Vita also allows for web browsing and social networking, but it is as a gaming device that it will succeed or fail.
The Vita is undeniably impressive as a piece of technology, but it isn't cheap, and it will require compelling games to convince mass-market consumers to take the plunge and eschew casual games.
In our review of the PlayStation Vita, Alex Wawro said: "As with any new gaming platform, the key to success for the PlayStation Vita is the development of sufficient great games, but we like the design and build of the Vita."