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First Impressions: Sony PlayStation Vita

So it’s a Sunday, and I am roaming around in Dilli Haat where the second edition of Comic Con India is being hosted, and I am hunting for a collectors edition of Superman #1, and the next thing I see is a FlipKart stall with a promotional unit of the PlayStation Vita, which hits Indian shores tomorrow. Of course, I ended up doing what I do best, analyzing consumer electronics, in this case being perhaps the most talked about gaming product of the year. Read on for my first impressions.

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Firstly, I played around with the Vita for just about 10 minutes, so this in no way an in-depth review, it’s just my first impressions of the device.  The device I got my crummy hands on was the Wi-Fi only version and it had a copy of Fifa 2012 running. Considering that I have had a heavy dose of Fifa 2012 on the PlayStation 3, there couldn’t have been a better game to try out. Perhaps the most prominent aspect of the Vita is its large 5-inch multi-touch OLED display, and boy it’s glorious. I will not go into the nitty-gritties of pixel density, but suffice to say it is right up there with the likes of the Super AMOLED HD displays donned by the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Nexus.

Coming to the graphical chops of the Vita, make no mistake; this is a PlayStation 3 in your pocket. The quality of the graphics on Fifa 2012 on the Vita comparable is to the experience on the PS3 albeit with a few missing features, but that’s it. For most this will be comfortably equate to a full Fifa experience, not a diluted one. The same can be expected of other games like Uncharted.

Even control scheme wise the game was very similar to its counterpart on the PlayStation 3. The controls on the whole felt pretty comfortable even for a person like me with small hands. Though I do believe there will be naysayers about the form factor as the controls do seem to be a tad too well spread out giving the PS Vita a pretty large footprint. Crucially for Sony, the Vita is not much larger than either the original PlayStation Portable or even the PSP Go, so the PSP faithful will be right at home.

Apart from this I did not get to test a lot, including the somewhat mysterious back track-pad, which has been shown in action in tandem with Uncharted.

On the whole, I was really very impressed with the Vita in the 10 minutes I spent with it, though Sony will really need to pull off an marketing miracle in India if it has to be success as firstly the Wi-Fi unit itself is going to priced in excess of Rs 19,000 – critically a price point higher than the PlayStation 3 and secondly with the increasing graphical capabilities of tablets and smartphones, there is a high possibility that the Vita’s firepower will be eclipsed sooner than later. Another critical aspect would be the availability of games, especially at a time when users get great games for iOS devices at under $10. For the PlayStation Vita, it will be at least two to four times higher.