Vita is here but is Vita vital?
Sony’s new hand held game player, the PlayStation Vita, will officially be available for sale on February 22 but the embargo on reviews has been lifted. CNET thinks the unit looks great, has a very nice screen, lightweight, the games are fun and challenging. But there are some frustrations: there’s a lot of proprietary software on it that gets kind of clunky in running the thing and it is EXPENSIVE. $250 for the unit but then a lot of the games require additional memory:
While the starting price is $250, in order to play, say, Uncharted, you'll need to spend at a minimum of $320. That's $250 (Vita) + $50 (Uncharted) + $20 (cheapest Memory Card). Sony has made somewhat of an effort to improve awareness about the Memory Card requirement since the Japanese release, adding signage on the Vita retail box and on the cover of Vita games.
The Vita Memory Cards also seem overpriced. Starting at $20 for a 4GB card, Vita owners can spend up to $100 for 32GB. It's an expensive pricing model you won't find anywhere else. Just to make a quick comparison, a 4GB SD card goes for around $4 online, and you can find a 32GB SD card for around $35.
At the end of the day, the Vita feels very much like an enthusiast device, or maybe something you get your kids — if you’re trying to put off that moment when they ask for a smartphone so they can text their friends. It feels like the last of its kind: a powerful gaming device from an age when the phone you carried with you didn’t do pretty much everything. Including play really good games.
In my mind, this is the confounding thing about Vita: it’s like the best steam locomotive in the world. Is there really a market for a handheld gamer that you can’t use as a PDA, a text message and email tool, and a web browser?