The PlayStation Vita Name Revisited; It Isn’t so Bad After All

July 23, 2011 Written by Jonathan Leack

Sony’s follow-up to the seven-year old veteran PlayStation Portable is upon us, and with a name like Vita it has easily caught some attention. Many consumers couldn’t stand hearing the name when it was first announced in early June. However, it wasn’t always known as the Vita, and the discovery of a new Sony handheld dates back further than many might recall. Let’s rewind a little bit.

A successor to the PSP was rumored back as far as mid-2009 when developers and media began the hype engine after getting their hands on it for the first time. Initial details were vague, but included some basic specs, as well as some comparisons to give an idea of just how powerful Sony intended their next portable to be. Although many referred to it as the PSP2, a name that made sense, there was a feeling in the air that Sony were going to toss the PlayStation Portable name into the burner in hopes of establishing a brand new identity. We can’t blame them, the PSP was an outstanding device, but its reputation as being “just” a portable PlayStation preceded it, and was something that Sony struggled with for years.

After over a year of debate about the device, as well as plenty of mockups and fake images, Sony finally announced the beast on January 27th at a meeting in Japan. Originally, it was known as the Next Generation Portable (or NGP), a name that has still stuck for many. Although it was catchy, it was always referred to as a codename, and something that would be replaced before its release on store shelves.

Just before E3 2011, pieces of data across the net indicated that the official name for the device was Vita. Low and behold, during the Sony press conference at E3, Kaz Hirai proclaimed that what was once known as the PSP2 and the NGP would instead be called the PlayStation Vita, meaning PlayStation Life in Latin. Feedback was very rocky at first, and you couldn’t go to a gaming website, blog, or forum without seeing people talking about how lame the name is. Heck, I couldn’t find a single person at E3 who liked the name, and plenty of people struggled to pronounce it correctly. Vita as in vitamin, or Vita as in Vida Guerra? As you can imagine, it was the butt of a few jokes.

Now that the dust has settled, many appear to be embracing the Vita name without hostility. Sure, some people still call it the NGP, but Vita fits well with Sony’s other product lines such as Bravia TVs and VAIO laptops. It’s elegant, and perhaps a little sexy, something that sits perfectly with the handheld’s sleek style, round curves, and 3DS-eclipsing hardware and feature sets.

I’m sure you can tell how I feel about the name, but I raise the question to the community at large: what do you think of the PlayStation Vita name now that a couple of months have passed? Should Sony have stuck with NGP? Share your response below.