If you’re planning to pick up a PlayStation Vita early next year that you’ll share with another person, be prepared to share your PlayStation Network account along with it. According to a catalog given out at a recent Vita event in Japan, a factory reset is required before being able to use a separate PSN account.
An FAQ section in the back of the catalog specifically addresses a question regarding the number of PSN accounts the system supports, according to a NeoGAF member. It’s stated the system must be formatted back to the factory-default settings before a separate account be used.
This wasn’t the case with PlayStation 3, where you could log in to multiple accounts, nor was it with PlayStation Portable. Not only does this prevent multiple people from sharing the same Vita and keeping track of their Trophies and friends independently of each other, it also means users can’t set up PSN accounts for regions other than their own (thereby cutting off access to foreign PlayStation Stores).
Neither of these issues may affect everyone, but they are annoying nonetheless. Coming on the heels of prices being announced for downloading your PSP UMD games and Vita’s memory cards — which range from $30 for a 4GB card up to $120 for a 32GB — it seems as if Sony is doing everything it can to test gamers’ patience after presenting a pleasant surprise in the form of a $250 price tag for the Wi-Fi-only version of the system.
The memory card situation is even worse than the prices alone indicate; with no internal storage, they are essentially required, as many retail games do need them for saving your progress. Other retail games do not and will never allow you to save to a memory card, just to ensure things are as confusing as possible. Downloadable content and digital games will have to be stored on the memory cards, which are of the proprietary variety partially because Sony hopes to prevent piracy by disallowing their use as a mass storage device, as revealed in a recent Impress Watch interview (translated by Andriasang).
There was quite the negative outcry following the Vita memory card pricing, with some saying that the cost of the card alone would make them think twice about picking up a Vita. Does this latest development — assuming things don’t change by the time the system comes to North America and Europe in February — affect your interest in the system?
A handful of accessories Nyko has in the works for PlayStation vita were revealed this week at the Consumer Electronic Show, the most noteworthy of which sounds like it could solve any battery life problems you might be worried about.
Sony announced in September that the Vita’s standard battery would provide between 3 and 5 hours while playing games, 5 hours while watching videos, and up to 9 hours while listening to music in standby mode. Those figures assume you’re wearing headphones and have the screen brightness at the default setting; they don’t take into account other features you might be using such as Bluetooth, 3G, or Wi-Fi.
As far as gaming goes, it’s a similar situation with the 3DS, which can only provide 3 to 5 hours of life on a single charge. Nyko was able to largely fix that with the release of the Power Pak+ last year, allowing 3DS owners to play for more than a few hours at a time without having to take a break or be tethered to a power cable. It even came with an optional charge base, similar to the dock the 3DS comes with.
The Power Grip for Vita pictured above may not appear to be the easiest thing on your eyes, but it will allegedly provide three times as much battery life as the Vita can on its own. Priced at $24.99, it’ll be available alongside the Vita at launch. Just as importantly, the handles can be adjusted or retracted behind the system for when you’re traveling, so there’s no need to worry about them impacting the system’s portability. The add-on clips onto the system to work in conjunction with the Vita’s built-in battery, rather than replace it, and it charges with the Vita’s standard power adapter.
Sony will also sell an extended battery for Vita, in addition to a fairly pricey portable charger and charging cradle.
Other accessories Nyko has coming for Vita, which launches in North America and Europe on February 22, include the Speaker Stand (a combo charging dock and speaker for $29.99), Power Armor Kit (a hard case, AC charger, car charger, USB cable, and cleaning cloth for $29.99), and Power Kit (a USB cable, car adapter, and AC adapter for $19.99). All three will be available at launch, as will the Game Case Pro, a compact, $4.99 case that can hold up to 10 Vita games and four memory cards. Pictures of all four can be seen on the next page.
The PlayStation Vita introduces support for a second analog stick to a catalogue of great PSP games. But how exactly do you use it? After scratching out heads for a few minutes to figure it out, Bob and I got together and recorded this guerrilla-style video to show you how. In it, we play Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker — a brilliant portable entry in the tactical espionage action series and one that benefits nicely from Vita’s added stick support.
Check out the video for more impressions and how tos, or head over to our Vita hub for everything you need to read on Sony’s new system.
By Jose Otero
Level-5 Vision Press Conference
Time: Friday, October 14, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
Location: Check out our live blog above.
Level-5 typically has a big presence at the Tokyo Game Show. That wasn’t the case this year; the prolific Japanese developer and publisher instead opted to host its own two-day event, Level-5 World, this weekend in Tokyo. Boss Akihiro Hino has stated there will be in the neighborhood of ten unreleased games on display and several new game announcements.
Some of Level-5′s best-known work includes the Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven series, Dragon Quest VIII and IX, and Dark Cloud.
In addition to Level-5 World, the company will still be holding its annual Level-5 Vision press conference, which will open the show on Saturday morning in Japan. We’ll be in attendance to cover all of the news and happenings, so make sure to join us here on Friday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m. PDT for our liveblog of the conference.
By 1UP Staff
With the PlayStation Vita launching in just over a week, one might have expected the amount of advertising for it to have been greater than what we’ve seen in recent weeks, but that will soon chance. With Sony in a pretty rough situation financially, we know the handheld getting off to a strong start would be a major boon for the company. That’s likely part of the reason why Sony is making the marketing campaign for Vita its largest ever for a videogame system. And although Sony does not face all of the same problems as Nintendo did in marketing the 3DS at launch, it does undeniably have a challenge ahead.
You may have noticed the flood of Vita-related content both here at 1UP and elsewhere today. With the embargo lifted we’ve got a detailed breakdown of the system itself, a review of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and a look at many of Vita’s other launch day games, with more to come as the week continues. While Sony can be sure all of this will get Vita on the minds of many gamers (for better or worse), it will not necessarily reach as broad of an audience as Sony would like. That’s where ad dollars come into play.
Speaking with the New York Times, John Koller, the senior director for hardware marketing at Sony, revealed $50 million is being spent on the Vita’s marketing campaign, which is “the largest platform launch in terms of marketing investment we’ve ever had.” By now you may have seen the Taco Bell promotion where Vitas are being given away to lucky customers, but that is only one facet of all this. Television commercials, digital advertising, billboards, and retail partnerships are among the ways Sony is hoping to get the word out on Vita with its “Never Stop Playing” tagline. It will also try to harness the power of Twitter with promoted tweets and by pushing a hashtag, #gamechanger, in those advertisements, as seen in the image above.
Sony finds itself in a similar position to where Nintendo was a year ago. Nintendo had the challenge of trying to convey the concept of glasses-free 3D through non-3D advertising methods, which was no easy task. At the very least, the company could partially rely on people knowing 3DS was a system you would eventually be able to play games like Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 on. Sony doesn’t have that luxury, but it still has to deal with what Nintendo did: trying to market a new handheld to consumers who now have access to alternatives they did not when the PSP and DS debuted in 2004 and 2005, respectively. And now devices like the iPhone and iPad have had an additional year to penetrate the market, with Apple rumored to be preparing the iPad 3 — a product that will be competing for the same entertainment dollars as the Vita — for a March reveal and launch.
As much as some gamers like to be snobby about the games available on iOS or Android platforms, there is no denying a segment of people are now content playing games that are free or no more than $0.99, and this isn’t only true of people who would have never had any interest in a dedicated handheld gaming device. Last night I laid down in bed with my 3DS and ended up not using it because I got sidetracked playing Scramble With Friends on iPhone and PopCap’s new Facebook game, Solitaire Blitz, both of which are free.
Whereas Nintendo had to explain glasses-free 3D, Sony’s ads have to sell a system that is upwards of $80 more expensive than the 3DS and lacks the phone-calling features of an iPhone, plus the screen size and battery life of an iPad. What it does have going in its favor is the ability to offer a more console-like gaming experience than the competition, although the existence of a game like Infinity Blade II hurts Sony’s ability to rely heavily on the Vita’s graphical capabilities. That could ultimately be a blessing in disguise for Sony; graphical capabilities did not cause the technologically-superior PSP to outsell the DS, and it’s unlikely to be enough on its own to catapult the Vita to any significant degree of success. If Sony instead tries to push Vita’s social connectivity and the software, which seems to be quite strong for a system this early in its life, it could strike a chord with consumers that PSP was never able to.
What do you think of when you read or hear the phrase “casual games?” Long considered a dirty word amongst a vocal minority of “hardcore gamers,” casual games are undergoing a transformation thanks to new distribution models that make gaming on PC easier than plug & play consoles. A newly leaked list of games available on the upcoming “Consumer Preview” version of Windows 8 provides a glimpse into the future of casual games, and it’s a lot more “hardcore” than you’d expect.
Similar to the Mac and Google Chrome app stores, Windows 8 will offer its own software portal for easy to install applications. Called the Window’s Store, it will carry the following 10 games during the preview period:
- Hydro Thunder (presumably a port of Hydro Thunder: Hurricane)
- Toy Soldiers
- Reckless Racing
- Angry Birds
- Rocket Riot
- Full House Poker
- Crash Course
- Ms. Splosion Man
Yes, I saw Angry Birds, but I also noticed Toy Soldiers and Ms. Splosion Man, two titles that you’d be hard pressed to call casual with a straight face. The Window’s Store’s (and all other app store’s) ability to provide players with easy access to games — thanks to low prices, easy installation, and providing a centralized location for nearly all software — means that those that stick to Angry Birds and Tiny Wings might also give Ilomilo a shot if they ran across it.
I’m not suggesting that my mother is going to abandon Peggle for Modern Warfare 3, but if she came across Ms. Splosion Man in an app store, she might try it out if the copy or screenshots sold her on it. By providing a central location for all software on a device, Apple and Microsoft ensure that casual gamers will encounter “hardcore games” alongside lighter fare. While XBLA and PSN technically provide the same service, is your mother or father going to seek out Rocket Riot on XBLA? But that same game might appeal to them if they saw it listed amongst the top apps for their device of choice, be it phone, tablet, or laptop.
Within three years, the “app” will become the main distribution model for video games. You and I, along with millions of others, will still enjoy our AAA disc-based console titles, but millions more will be playing games bought from an app store. Simply placing quality “hardcore” titles alongside the casual fare will help expand the audience for these games. The approach won’t work for everything, I don’t think Alan Wake would make much of a splash amongst the Cut the Rope set, but titles that feature engaging repeatable gameplay with minimal narrative elements, like Ms. Splosion Man, might do quite well.
This could create some major problems — Microsoft for example, doesn’t want to see their Window’s Store become a wasteland of $.99 software — but it will put deeper and more complex games in front of a willing audience, something that the industry desperately needs if it’s to avoid the fate of comic books, a medium that serves only an existing and shrinking fan base despite countless clumsy attempts to attract new readers.
As if there weren’t already enough fun-looking Vita games to keep on your radar, XSEED Games has announced plans to bring Sumioni: Demon Arts to North America this spring.
Sumioni looks a lot like an evolved take on Kirby: Canvas Curse, one of the first DS games to really catch on because of its use of the system’s touchscreen. Sumioni likewise takes advantage of not just Vita’s touchscreen, but its rear touchpad, too.
You play as an ink demon (that being the literal translation of Sumioni from Japanese to English) in this platformer where you’re able to draw on the screen to create platforms for your character to use. You still control the character yourself and can draw more than just platforms, including brushstrokes that set objects or enemies on fire, cause lighting to strike, or summon allies. The rear touchpad comes into play as you run out of ink; drawing consumes your ink which is recharged by rubbing the touchpad. There are 30 stages in all and multiple endings to be discovered.
The game is being developed by Acquire, the Japanese developer responsible for Tenchu, Way of the Samurai, and both What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? games. XSEED previously published Acquire’s Wizardy: Labyrinth of Lost Souls in North America; it has also brought a wide variety of Japanese titles to the west including Retro Game Challenge, Little King’s Story, and Half-Minute Hero.
Sumioni will be available on Vita sometime during spring 2012 in North America. Vita itself is set to go on sale here and in Europe on February 22.
Two weeks after revealing that Vita owners outside of Japan will not be able to convert their PSP UMD game collection into digital versions playable on Sony’s new handheld, the company has provided an explanation for why it made that decision. It isn’t particularly unreasonable, though it probably won’t be of much consolation to those with extensive UMD collections who want access to those games on their shiny new Vita.
Sony’s head of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, said he was sorry the United States would not see the program in an interview with Wired. Noting he is not the one who could make the decision one way or the other, he outlined two reasons why Sony is keeping the UMD Passport program Japan-only: demand and price.
“When you look at the release schedule of new titles there are still lots of PSP games being released in Japan and being announced for release,” he said. “Lots of people who are interested in trying Vita are also interested in playing PSP games that they might purchase before Vita comes out, and will not necessarily choose the digital version. So there is a lot more demand… to introduce a program like that.
“The other point is that when you look at PSP titles sold digitally in the States or Europe, games are sold for a really reasonable price. You can buy Final Fantasy Tactics for $10. That’s a great price. There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price. Because people in Japan are not getting the digital copy for free, because it costs us money to develop and maintain the system so we are asking people to pay somewhere between $5 and $10 to receive the digital copy in addition to what they have on the UMD. When you compare that to the price of games here, PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy. But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system. The combination of the new titles available, or the lack of, and the price difference, the company decided to do that.”
Thanks to Monster Hunter in particular, PSP has been wildly successful in Japan — far more so than in places like the U.S. and Europe. Knowing that, and looking at recent and future PSP game releases both here and in Japan, it stands to reason that there would be more demand for the Passport program in Japan. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are plenty of people outside of Japan who want to enjoy their PSP games on Vita without having to purchase them all over again.
It’s not as if there is a shortage of quality PSP games worth playing, and we know they can look a whole lot nicer on the Vita’s gorgeous OLED screen. Yoshida may point to Final Fantasy Tactics for $10 — a fine price indeed — but that is not the case with every game. Purchasing a digital version is also not a choice for every PSP game Vita owners may want to play; there are numerous games missing from the Vita’s PlayStation Store.
Many gamers are sure to be cynical about this, and perhaps rightly so. Rather than provide gamers with a cheap way to upgrade their UMDs to digital versions (which, while not ideal, is better than having to buy the full-priced digital version outright), Sony will potentially make more money by selling those full-priced digital versions to existing owners of PSP games and those who might otherwise purchase a cheap UMD to pay the upgrade fee for a digital version. This is sure to be compared with what happened to backwards compatibility on PlayStation 3 (with PlayStation 2 games) and, to a lesser extent, on Xbox 360 (with Xbox games). Sony saved money by stripping backwards compatibility out of post-launch models of PS3 and began selling PS2 games through the PlayStation Store, something that is more profitable than letting people play their old games. Now here the company is again leaving something out which owners of the previous system would appreciate in favor of a scheme that could make more money but does nothing for those existing fans.
Now that PlayStation Vita is readily available to anyone who wants one in North America and Europe, we can see whether the lack of a UMD conversion program has any real effect on people’s interest in the system. If you didn’t decide to pick one up today, was this at all to blame? Let us know in the comments below.
We recently visited Sony for a Vita press event where their goal wasn’t to reveal information, but to allow media to spend more time with many of the same builds that were at last month’s Tokyo Game Show. So after we each spent a couple hours of hands-on time — spread across Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Resistance: Burning Skies, Wipeout 2048, Hot Shots Golf, Gravity Rush, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Reality Fighters, and Little Deviants — we sat down and had a chat about what we liked and disliked.
Jose Otero: I’m kind of torn on my favorite game from the event. I dug Gravity Rush because it’s a fresh concept that utilizes a really cool-looking floating mechanic to maneuver the main character around — it’s an action game, sure, but it also uses mechanics I don’t think I’ve seen before. On the other hand, I liked UMvC3 because it’s a known quantity for me and I find that genre really appealing. So I’m stuck between the game I recognize and another that looks cool, but I don’t really know enough about.
Mike Nelson: I liked Hot Shots Golf, but I’m a fan of that series… It does show up on every Sony platform — it’s almost like Ridge Racer in a way. Still, I liked what I played. Call me simple, but I like that on any kind of hardware.
JO: Well in some ways you and I are both sticking to something we know. What about you, Matt?
Matt Leone: Gravity Rush was certainly my favorite of this batch. I like the creativity and that art style, and a lot of the other games at the event gave me exactly what I expected, whereas Gravity Rush and some of the others we didn’t see today like Escape Plan and Sound Shapes are more experimental. So I really like that part of it. I’m a little skeptical of the controls, like when you’re trying to fight the boss at the end of the demo they showed, and it’s kind of awkward to get in there and hit it properly, but the game looks great.
I’m actually kind of surprised none of us picked Uncharted — I figured that was the safest bet on Vita, given the license and developer. I was a little thrown by the aiming in its demo — moving the reticule felt a lot looser than it does in the PS3 games. I’m guessing the developers will tighten that up before release, but that made this demo a little less enjoyable than I was expecting.
MN: I didn’t pick it because I didn’t get the chance to play it, just to be clear. If I were to get a Vita, I’d be getting Uncharted. Hands down. You guys are better to speak on it right now, though.
JO: I agree with Matt’s issues with the aiming. The controls did feel very loose and it was harder to line up shots than I’m used to. But I think the other reason I didn’t pick it as a favorite game of this Vita showcase is that Uncharted 3 is coming out, and I’m much more excited for that game. I can appreciate the amount of effort I see Sony Bend putting into the Vita version of Uncharted, but Sony choosing to put that game out the same year as its console sibling doesn’t make sense to me. I see Uncharted 3 as the bigger game and therefore I’m more inclined to play that one.
ML: Well technically it’s not coming out the same year — Golden Abyss is 2012.
JO: What was your least favorite game there Matt?
ML: Reality Fighters. Man, that game is weird.
MN: That’s my pick as well.
ML: It’s one of those things that you would expect to see in a research and development lab at Sony somewhere, but you would never want them to charge a lot of money for. I don’t know if it’s going to be a retail or downloadable game or how much it might cost, so for all I know Reality Fighters could be a free piece of software, but…
JO: You’re right, I mean this could be the equivalent of Face Raiders on 3DS — a pack in game that uses a few system features.
By 1UP Staff
Sony has detailed the list of launch day games coming to Vita in the United States and Canada on February 22, and has also priced the accessories that will be available alongside the system. Most notably, the proprietary memory cards that have been a contentious issue aren’t quite as pricey as first reported.
Listings on GameStop’s website last month revealed what we believed to be the pricing of the memory cards. With the prices falling in line with those we saw in Japan and Sony not saying any differently, this sparked somewhat of an outrage as the prices were far greater than they would be if you tried to purchase an SD card of the same size. The 4GB card’s price was set at $29.99, 8GB at $44.99, 16GB at $69.99, and 32GB at $119.99. Suddenly the surprisingly low $250 price for the Wi-Fi-only model didn’t seem so great.
Whether the backlash caused Sony to rethink the pricing, GameStop was wrong, or it simply will sell the cards at higher prices, the official MSRP is lower for all four. A 4GB card will cost $19.99, 8GB $29.99, 16GB $59.99, and 32GB $99.99. $100 for that much storage may still be a lot, but at least it’s a move in the right direction. All four card sizes will be available at launch, as will a starter kit that includes a 4GB memory card, protective film for the screen, card case, headphones, cleaning cloth, and a pocket pouch for $39.99.
A charging cradle will also be sold at launch for $19.99, which may help to mitigate the system’s relatively short battery life. (Sony has said it will last between 3 and 5 hours when playing a game, about on par with what the 3DS offers.) A portable charger will be available for $49.99, but that won’t be out until sometime in the spring.
As far as software, there will be 25 games in total available at launch including retail and download-only games. Another ten games are slated as “launch window titles,” but there’s no telling how far out that window will extend. There aren’t really any surprises, though that isn’t to say there aren’t any good games — Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048, Super Stardust Delta, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will all be out on launch day.
One important note about the software is that it will range in price from $9.99 up to $49.99. That’s a $10 premium over what has generally been the high-end for portable games, though it is how much Capcom will be charging for Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS in February.
The full list of launch day and launch window titles, as well as accessory pricing and release dates, follows below, courtesy of the PlayStation Blog.
Vita Gaunch Day Games:
- Escape Plan (PSN Only)
- Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
- Hustle Kings (PSN Only)
- Little Deviants
- ModNation Racers: Road Trip
- Super StarDust Delta (PSN only)
- UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss
- wipEout 2048
- Army Corps of Hell
- Asphalt Injection
- BEN10 GALACTIC RACING
- Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTEND
- Dungeon Hunter Alliance
- Dynasty Warriors Next
- F1 2011
- EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer
- Lumines Electronic Symphony
- Michael Jackson The Experience
- Plants vs. Zombies (PSN Only)
- Rayman Origins
- Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
- Tales of Space: Mutant Blobs (PSN Only)
- Touch My Katamari
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
- Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition
Launch Window Games:
- Gravity Rush
- MLB 12 The Show
- Reality Fighters
- Unit 13
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
- NINJA GAIDEN Sigma PLUS
- Ridge Racer
- Silent Hill Book of Memories
- Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted
Accessory Dates and Pricing:
- Product Name – Release Date - MSRP
- 4 GB Memory Card – February 15, 2012 – $19.99
- 8 GB Memory Card – February 15, 2012 – $29.99
- 16 GB Memory Card – February 15, 2012 – $59.99
- 32 GB Memory Card – February 15, 2012 – $99.99
- Starter Kit with Memory Card – February 15, 2012 – $39.99
- In-Ear Headset – February 15, 2012 – $19.99
- Carrying Case – February 15, 2012 – $19.99
- Travel Pouch – February 15, 2012 – $19.99
- Protective Film (2 pack) – February 15, 2012 – $9.99
- Card Case – February 15, 2012 – $5.99
- Cradle – February 15, 2012 – $19.99
- Portable Charger – Spring 2012 – $49.99
- AC Adaptor – February 15, 2012 – $14.99
- Car Adaptor – Spring 2012 – $14.99
- USB Cable – February 15, 2012 – $14.99