updated 03:40 am EST, Sat December 17, 2011
PS Vita has strong start in Japan
Sony had an upbeat launch for the PlayStation Vita in its home country of Japan. The 7AM launch saw thousands in line with volumes closer to that of an Apple launch, including 600 at Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo's Akihabara district and 300 at Bic Camera in the Ikebukuro district. At the official event at Shibuya Tsutaya, where Sony executives including company president Kaz Hirai were hosts, the first buyer was an unidentified 33 year old northerner.
It's not known if the Vita has seen any device sellouts on launch day, although some games did.
A hands-on at Impress touched on the large and usually comfortable design we tried at E3 (see topmost link), but also elaborated on the experience with the new interface and non-gaming. They liked the six-app multitasking, including background music while playing games, and the the very high quality of the five-inch OLED screen for videos and multi-touch navigation through photos.
The Japanese publication saw Uncharted: Golden Abyss as a highlight game and positioned it as a foil to touchscreen gaming on platforms like the iPhone and Android. It was "proof touchscreen games can be serious," the testers said. The action-adventure played well through the combination of the screen, hardware buttons, and the motion sensor for fine-tuned aiming.
It remains to be seen if the positive reaction will translate to sustained lines and to high demand in the US when the Vita arrives in the West on February 22. Sony has been losing revenue share to Apple and Google in mobile gaming and has rarely been a major challenge to Nintendo. The company is leaning on the large screen and near PS3-level graphics to draw in gamers, but the iPhone and newer Android devices are getting closer in performance and have the advantages both of cheaper games and of convergence. [via Impress as well as AP and Kotaku]