E3 2011: Sony PlayStation Vita: Inside and Out

Get all the details behind the PlayStation Vita, Sony's upcoming handheld console.

At E3 2011, Sony's Next Generation Portable (NGP) finally got a name: Vita. Sony revealed a number of other important details. However, the handheld still has no official release date outside of a holiday 2011 release window. A Wi-Fi-only version will cost $249, and a Wi-Fi/3G model will retail for $299. US-based 3G service will be provided by AT&T, but Sony didn't reveal any pricing for the data plans or whether they would be contractual or monthly. European pricing for the console will be €249(Wi-Fi) and €299 (Wi-Fi/3G), while Japanese pricing will be ¥24,980 (Wi-Fi) and ¥29,980 (Wi-Fi/3G).

The Hardware Specifications

The Vita moves the bar forward in just about every single aspect for a gaming handheld: graphics, communications, and controls. The GPU and CPU are state of the art for the handheld and mobile industry; it will be the first handheld console ever to feature 3G cellular communications. Much to the delight of gamers, the Vita will also have two analog sticks in addition to a slew of secondary controls that include a multi-touch capacitive touch screen and a multi-touch rear touchpad. The Vita will also feature motion controls and GPS functionality. Games will ship on small flash memory-based cards, effectively pushing Sony's UMD format out of the picture. The Vita will be able to play PSP games from the PlayStation Store.

Front Side Rotated Shoulders Angled Underside Left Side

The basic hardware stats for the handheld remain unchanged since they were revealed back in January. Previously unannounced stats for the Vita pertain to the cameras, which didn't have any specific resolutions attached to them, and a full port list. Both cameras appear to be capable of recording video at 120 frames per second at a resolution of 320x240, and 60 frames per second at 640x480. The maximum resolution for both pictures and video appears to be 640x480.

Based on ARM's publicly provided Cortex A9 CPU specs, the chip can be configured in single, dual, and quad-core varieties. Based on its spec sheets, the dual-core variant comes in two flavors, optimized for either power or performance. The power-optimized chip lowers the clock speed to 800MHz, which results in 4,000 DMIPS (Dhrystone millions of instructions per second) of computational power and .5W of power consumption. The performance-optimized version bumps the speed up to 2GHz, and the computational power jumps to 10,000 DMIPS with 1.9W of power consumption. Assuming a linear scaling of performance, the ARM Cortex A9 with four cores could perform anywhere between 8,000 and 20,000 DMIPS. By comparison, the iPad, which is based off of the 1GHz Cortex A8, has roughly 2,000 DMIPS of computational power.

Imagination Technologies makes the PowerVR SGX543MP4+. However, we can only find information on the PowerVR SGX543MP. The normal nomenclature model for the PowerVR SGX543MP contains additional numbers following the MP that indicate the number of cores onboard. Imagine Technologies can configure the GPU to have 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 cores. Sony opted to use the SGX543MP4+, which indicates that the chip has four cores. We have no details on what the "+" indicates.

Imagine Technologies states:
"At 200MHz core frequency an SGX543MP4 (four cores) will deliver 133 million polygons per second and fill rates in excess of 4Gpixels/sec. Higher frequencies or a larger number of cores each deliver more performance. At 400MHz core frequency an SGX543MP8 (eight cores) will deliver 532 million polygons per second and fill rates in excess of 16Gpixels/sec."

Assuming the chip hasn't been highly modified from the PowerVR SGX543MP4, a 200MHz PowerVR SGX543MP4+ could live up to the PlayStation 3's 4.4Gpixel/s fill rate spec. We also have to add that raw fill rate numbers rarely translate into real-world performance.

CPU:
ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core)

GPU:
SGX543MP4+

Dimensions:
Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)

Screen:
Touch screen 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED, Multi-touch screen (capacitive type)

Rear touch pad:
Multi-touch pad (capacitive type)

Cameras:
Front camera, Rear camera
Frame rate : 120fps@320x240(QVGA), 60fps@640x480(VGA)
Resolution : Up to 640x480(VGA)

Sound:
Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone

Sensors:
Sixaxis motion-sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass

Location:
Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi location service support

Keys/Switches:
PS button, Power button, D-pad, Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons

Wireless communications:
Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1x1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad hoc mode), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

Ports:
PlayStation Vita card slot, Memory card slot, SIM card slot (3G/Wi-Fi model only), Multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC IN, Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In], Serial data communication), Headset jack (Stereo mini jack) (for Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In]), Accessory port

Supported formats:
Music -MP3 MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3, MP4 (MPEG-4 AAC), WAVE (Linear PCM)
Videos -MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC), H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Hi/Main/Baseline Profile (AAC)
Photos -JPEG (Exif 2.2.1), TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG

The PlayStation Vita's Operating System and Built-in Software

The Vita will sport a brand new user interface that replaces the old XMB. Welcome Park, a tutorial program, will help users figure out and experience all the new software that comes on the Vita. Elsewhere, new networking features called LiveArea and Near will allow NGP users to download games, view an "Activity" log with accomplishments from others playing the same game, and let them find out what nearby friends are playing or what they were playing recently. Additionally, Near will also let users gift virtual game items. Party will let users chat via voice and text during games and outside of them.

Front Side Profile Left Side Profile Right Top Profile Bottom Profile

At E3 2011, Sony demonstrated that the Vita will have robust interactivity with the PlayStation 3. While demonstrating a game called Ruin, the presenters showed off its cross-platform capabilities. During the demo, the presenters started a gaming session on the Vita and then picked up right where they left off on the PlayStation 3 moments later. The PlayStation Network's cloud save abilities help make this feature a reality.

With ModNation Racers, demonstrators showed how the Vita will have access to all the user-generated content that's been made on the PlayStation 3. Similarly, an upcoming version of Little Big Planet will be able to do the same.

Games

Sony hasn't announced a launch lineup for the Vita yet, but it has revealed a number of titles that are currently in development.

Announced Titles in Development
Call of Duty
Dungeon Defenders
Dynasty Warriors
Everybody's Golf
F1 2011
Gravity Daze
Hot Shots Golf
Hustle Kings
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Little Big Planet
Little Deviants
ModNation Racers
Reality Fighters
Sound Shapes
Street Fighter X Tekken
Super Stardust Delta
Voltron
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
Killzone
Metal Gear Solid
WipEout 2048
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Yakuza

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Discussion

252 comments
jch123
jch123

This is really making me want to lose my sony virginity. But im gonna wait to see if a better 3ds comes to the market just to be sure. anyways i feel i would have to buy a ps3 and catch up on all the franchises if i were to make a switch. Plus i want some backwards compatibility with my mario. im sorry but mario is just way to effing addicting and an upgraded 3ds thats slimmer, maybe another analog and basically everything the vita could do would be awesome.

Agent-M
Agent-M

Waiting for the Vita to be release makes me feel like excited and anxious, like its Christmas Eve and I'm 8 years old waiting to unwrap my Christmas presents ! My Birthday is in November! Vita, Wohoo! It would be nice if you could purchase a year worth of 3g for a super cheap deal.

pinicolaroxa
pinicolaroxa

Why sony news has so many people talking about nintendo?? Are fanboys jealous?

Raxyman
Raxyman

Finally someone's going to remove Nintendo from it's handheld monopoly, in fact, only Nintendo fanboys can say that 3DGIMMICKY is better than Vita...

Nero119
Nero119

PSV > 3DS I can't wait to get my hands on one of these beauties

MrCoolGuy420
MrCoolGuy420

`the playstation vita is going to sell like hot cakes you will definitely have to preorder yours if you want to get yours hands on this system because they will be completely sold out im definitely getting mine

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

Buying just for Uncharted. I loved Uncharted even before 2 came out and it became super huge. I psychologically cannot function correctly if there is an Uncharted game available to the public and I haven't played it yet.

A_Belmont
A_Belmont

A lot of commentary from the industry shows a bit of concern for gaming portables, but I think the controls are so much better for games than a smartphone or tablet that the Vita will succeed.

adeloye
adeloye

i am itching to get this as soon as possible but i know sony....they will decide to upgrade it at least 3-6 months after bt i might still get it early though.bt trust me ...am not sure if going to wait!

cristovar
cristovar

i am the only one that is gonna get a psv and a 3ds?

DemonsWrath11
DemonsWrath11

Looks great. The only thing I have to say is please gamespot; tell sony to trash the crappy glossy plastic. Looks good functions like crap. You get smudges on it from touching the buttons which then migrate their way onto the screen and blur it so seeing the screen is harder. This will be even more so with the touch screen feature. Also if they don't already have it sony needs to add the extra features the psp go had in it's PS menu. That stuff was after all the only thing good about the psp go.

ronxfighter
ronxfighter

PSVITA ... common get out as soon as possible WII U ... nobody is waiting for u so take ur time :P

jericho_s83
jericho_s83

talking about cheap stake i cant wait to buy this used at game stop it sucks that i haft to deal with my psp in till that happens well, i guess I am not cheap i just rather keep the wife happy

galduke
galduke

Gotta say, the only reason I'm not selling my 3DS right now is because of it's announced/planned games from Atlus and (obviously) Nintendo. I just wish more games/franchises were announced for this thing rather than it's current offering. The some of the most anticipated games are ports of PS3 titles I never really cared for. Guess I'll go with Street Fighter X Tekken and Dragon's Crown for now.

risseer23
risseer23

@kenshin001 Theirs a huge gap between em,it's like comparing a Ps2 with shaders ops to a first Gen Ps3.Most of the 3ds games have muddy textures while Vita has Textures closer to Ps3/Xbox360.Not even comparing Vita to Ps3/360 we know it's not close but i think it's great when a handheld is really close to console's.The ability to be able to play with Ps3 gamers is awesome.

CaptainAhab13
CaptainAhab13

I've never purchased a handheld before...never really been interested...even the 3DS didn't sway me... .... ...BUT I NEED THIS THING!

calebcop
calebcop

ahhh i am sooo excited about this!!!!!!

godmann
godmann

@HaloPimp978 i remember it was announces that it is region free :D

spitfire2010
spitfire2010

Would the PS Vita + PS3 = Wii U gameplay?

BlackLense
BlackLense

I think Nintendo will lower 3DS price when this thing come out .

luisramirez1234
luisramirez1234

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

james0718
james0718

I am sooooooo buying this, Monster Hunters portable 3rd is going to be released on this...I NEEEEEEEEEEEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LitterBoxHero
LitterBoxHero

Dear Sony, I have concluded that I can no longer live without the Vita. What can I sacrifice to the gods of gaming to make this thing come out faster? Besides money, that is. I'm already getting the WiFi only version of the thing for the sole reason that I'm that much of a cheapskate :P

at950
at950

it`s wonder full. ps vita is a grate design. game`s word is an action game.and SONY is the best warrior of this word. PS3 / PS VITA / PSP / PS2 /PS one. say more?

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

I think what Sony is doing, regarding both PS3 and PSVita is revolutionary in that you really won't differentiate between "console gaming" and "hand held gaming" anymore after the Vita is launched. If the Vita analog sticks offer decent sensitivity then most games should be designed to be on par with any console counterpart overall. The main problem Sony has been dealing with are 3rd party developers not actually giving a damn about the consumers and not giving 100% dedication to creating games worthy of these advanced HD platforms. If Sony gets strong 3rd party Japanese support to begin with once again, then they'd easily regain the PS2 type glory days once again.

Cretosdx
Cretosdx

PSVITA+ PS3 > Wii u.....though this is just based on current information about the wii u specs which is 0

eduardomatus
eduardomatus

All I can say is i NEED IT!! gonna buy this the moment it comes out... The games and features sound great! I can't believe how people think the wiiU was such a big deal! this baby can do that and even more, for instance u can leave the livingroom.

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

lol just watched CNET's video rap up of E3, they claim Nintendo invented the iPad, and when they got to the PS Vita all she said was it's "pedestrian" then they quickly skipped over it entirely lol. How lame, they didn't mention it had the most impressive graphics and inventive games on any handheld to date, actual games running, not like the Link Zelda lighting demo that was completely unplayable.

jangjoo
jangjoo

960 X 544 in 5 inch is not very good .altough i will buy NGP oh sorry VITA

neo351
neo351

Vita sounds like something you eat. I'll just call it the PSV. I am a long time PSP user, can't wait.

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

It's just painful that's the launch is so far away, but it will be a good way to start the New Year of gaming. I'm wondering if they bumped up the PSP Resident Evil title that's apparently never going to materialize, and moved it to the PS Vita. Some of the best times i've had recently was replaying all the first 3 RE games on PSPGO.

CC_Ricers
CC_Ricers

Like the PSP, I'm gonna buy one as soon as it launches. I think Sony learned from the PS3 not to keep their launch library dry. The OLED screen is awesome too...LCD is already starting to look outdated. I hope it is protected with Gorilla Glass...buying screen protectors shouldn't be necessary anymore.

BlackLense
BlackLense

Glad it have sim card slot . (3G only) Would be cool if I can use my broadband simcard . = )

fireycheeseball
fireycheeseball

Hmmm.... Get a 3DS and have a stellar variety of first party games or Get a Vita and have ridiculously advanced hardware for a handheld. OR Get a 3DS and have my eyes bleed or Get a Vita and have my hands burn off because of how ridiculously hot that battery will be with all that processing powe.

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

Sandisk will more than likely be a super cheap alternative, but i've owned 3 of their older PSP sticks and all but one has died and been tossed in the trash. For a quick fix, Sandisk is ok, but they are pretty much disposable and last about 3 years of hard use, almost 5 years if barely used. My last working Sandisk is a 2 GB and it auto unmounts which is the first sign of it dying.

grbolivar
grbolivar

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

I suppose I'll have to buy new flash memory for PSN based downloads, but most flash is fairly cheap now so Sony's brand should be roughly $70 or less? for 16GB i hope. The games will come on the new proprietary flash cards and i plan on getting Uncharted Golden Abyss and Hot Shots Golf for launch games. I'd also love to see CAPCOM do a Operation Raccoon City tie in for Vita.

grbolivar
grbolivar

@exodusalpha haha keep dreaming fanboy, their 3DS sales are not doing well for being a new console, just check around at vgchatrz and see for yourself, they are selling 85,000 3DS worldwide per week (at the time of this writing) way below all other consoles like the PSP and even their own old DS.