The Playstation Vita is Sony’s second outing into the handheld realm. While their first handheld, the PSP came out shortly before the PS3’s release, it was more of an alternative to the PS2, as portable hardware tends to be a generation or so behind the times. However over the course of its life the PSP began to outperform the PS2 not only in the visuals department but also in terms of multimedia features it had to offer. And so, we come to the Vita, ambitiously seeking to rival the 7th generation powerhouse, the PS3, and I have compiled a list of ways in which the Vita not only matches the PS3 but outperforms or surpasses it.
With Microsoft bundling kinect with Xbox Ones, Sony selling their Playstation Eye as an extra for the home Playstation consoles, and with every single smartphone or laptop featuring a camera- you can see how essential it is for any modern piece of technology to have a camera. It is great that Sony had the decency to fit cameras onto the front and the back of the Vita for your social needs or even to enhance the experience of games like Invizimals and Mortal Kombat. No extra peripherals are needed, you can begin snapping shots right out of the box. Although it must be said that the quality is a little bit…rubbish.
2. Backwards Compatibility
Sony dropped PS3’s backwards compatibility early on in its life cycle to the dismay of many gamers that still wanted to continue playing their favourite PS2 games. Well, with the Vita you can play every one of its predecessor’s games that are available on the store- which still is not perfect as there were tons of retail UMD releases that were never digitalized. Nonetheless, there are still hundreds of PSP games available along with hundreds of Playstation One games. Plus, with the Vita’s dual-analog stick layout, PSP games are more playable than ever before.
- Custom Background Music
Something that Xbox 360 had from day one, which PS3 never got, and oddly, even Xbox One doesn’t have now. The ability to listen to your own music while playing a game or multi-tasking is something that has a lot of consumer demand and support but it is one of the most overlooked features on the Vita. The only trouble in paradise is that not all vita games support this, but there are a multitude of games that do enable this feature and many apps as well. Furthermore, if you subscribe to Music Unlimited, that can be used too!
- Party Chat
To this very day, PS3 lacks such a fundamental and integral feature of online gaming. Being able to chat to your friends, in a private chatroom regardless of whether they are playing a different game to you or not, is always a useful, powerful tool to have. Party chat is available on both Xbox One and Playstation 4 but at what cost? You must be prepared to pay around £5-£6 every month, and yet on the Vita, no subscription is necessary. You can chat all day and all night to your friends while playing independently or together, free of charge!
Granted, these are now standard for Playstation consoles, but let us not forget it wasn’t until 3 years after PS3 originally launched, before the feature was implemented, leaving around 200 of its games trophy-less! Whereas on the Vita it was there from day one, meaning no matter what game you are playing, you can rest assured that it has trophies. Go get some platinums!
- OLED screen
This one only really applies to owners of the original (1000) model but I felt it warranted a mention. Tv’s with OLED screens are expensive and harder to come by than your standard LED and LCD screens, and yet the modestly-priced Vita proudly exhibits its gorgeous visuals on a stunning 5” OLED display. I hope you will pardon my assumption that most Playstation 3 gamers do not have an OLED tv or phone or any other device. Therefore, playing on a Vita is a spectacular experience.
- Social Media/Apps
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Skype, Flickr…basically all the most important social media apps you can think of are here on Sony’s little handheld. Most, if not all of these were either unavailable or crippled on the PS3, so it is great to have them available on Vita. Although frankly, in this smartphone generation, it would have been a crime if these were not implemented. Skype in particular is an important one for a gaming device, as Skype has become a backup solution for many PC gamers who run into problems with their primary chatting service. Plus, video chat is always a welcome feature!
This is arguably the least interesting category but bear with me. The Playstation 3 had Six-Axis (aka: waggle) feature built into the controller (allowing motion control) and the Playstation 4 has a little touchpad on the controller. Ps Vita has the best of both worlds; it has the six-axis built in and not only a large rear touchpad, but even the front screen has multi-touch as well! I’m not one to praise gimmicks, but it goes to show how much option the Vita gives developers and gamers.
- Voice Messaging
That’s right- without starting a massive conversation; you can quickly just record and send a 15 second message to your friend or a random individual online. You can tell them with your squeaky, pre-pubescent voice what you did to their mother or to tell them to fight you in real life-without having to hear a response from them. You get all the fun of badmouthing but without the consequences. Or you can be nice and spread some words of affection…however you want to use it, the choice is yours. It’s a handy, convenient feature that was sorely missed on the PS3.
Okay, the last one. Neither last-gen consoles featured screen-capturing capabilities, but it has become a fairly recent phenomenon for gamers on PS4 and Xbox One (whereas PC gamers have been doing it for years). I’d say Vita is doing well to keep up with the current generation. You can take screenshots of your favourite, most awesome moments in games…in all vita titles aside from a couple like Resistance and Call of Duty, which don’t allow it (oddly, both by Nihilistic Software, what have they got to hide?) In fact if it was not for that feature, there would be next to no images on this post. So praise Sony for making the Vita into the beastly 8th gen handheld that it is.
If you are still gaming on a PS3 primarily, and haven’t made the move to 8th gen. You should definitely consider taking the next step, adopting a Vita and becoming a part of the Vita Master Race.