It’s Vita Week… sort of
Perhaps you’re the type of person who just has to have the latest gadgets as soon as possible. Or maybe you just have more money than brains. Or you write for a semi-popular video gaming website. (None of these are mutually exclusive, by the way.) If this is you, then you probably already have the PlayStation Vita in your hot little hands by now. Sure, it’s not available to the general public until next week (Wednesday, February 22nd), but fancy people like myself who decided to pre-order and pay fifty bucks extra for a case, game, 4 GB memory card, and a one week head start on the common folk (also known as the First Edition Bundle) are sitting pretty with their new toy. Well, sitting anyways. It’s a weird marketing move by Sony that could really still go either way. Games are already in stores, but the system isn’t generally available, so they sit there, tantalizing, and perhaps infuriating people who decide to wait. As an early adopter though, I do appreciate having a choice of games to play for my new system (Little Deviants which came with the bundle, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss which I got through a promotion).
The First Edition bundle itself is decent value, I suppose (especially the Canadian one, which doesn’t force the 3G unit on you and thus goes for a more palatable $300). Little Deviants retails for $30, and the 4 GB card goes for $20, so the case and early access are the gravy. That assumes, of course, that Little Deviants is worth $30. That’s debatable, since right now it feels more like a tech demo than a full game, albeit one with a decent amount of content. I probably wouldn’t pick it up on its own upon a first play, but as part of a forced bundle, I can swallow it.
Also, Uncharted is pretty much what you would expect it to be. I do feel a bit of a shoehorning going on with the touchscreen controls in certain places, but the combination of using the second analog stick for general aiming and then gyro controls for added precision is quickly growing on me.
An idea for PS3/Vita integration
Sony are touting the PS3/Vita Cross Play thing, as well they should. We finally have a handheld that can approach a home console experience, and the thought of taking my game save on the road is very appealing. Sony are taking a good promotional first step by offering free downloads for certain PS3 versions of games for the Vita and/or vice versa. The titles are currently limited, and you know this free thing won’t be a habit, but I think there’s an opportunity for customer value here that Sony should consider.
As more games come out for both systems with Cross Play capability, Sony should consider bundles that package the PS3 and Vita versions together (with a suitable discount, of course, say $5-10 more than the PS3 version), not unlike those Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs you see a lot of these days. Sure, free would be even better, and Sony are welcome to do that, but for games that feature Cross Play, I could see paying an extra five to ten bucks for the convenience of being able to continue playing some of my favourite games if I have to travel. It would certainly be a nice peace offering considering that whole “proprietary memory card” business.
Australia finally gets its R18+
Quick shout out and congratulations to our friends Down Under, who are finally going to get the R18+ rating they’ve been wanting for years. This should put an end to those effective game bans that occurred when a game was deemed not suitable for the MA15+ rating and there was no other alternative. The change will come into effect next year. Sure, most of the games we follow won’t be affected by this, but there is certainly a place for more mature fare (especially after the kids are in bed), and we’re not big on censorship, whether it be implicit or explicit. This is a great day for Australian gamers, and one that was long overdue.