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New PS Vita Hands-on: Are we falling out of love or just getting warmed up? (TGS)

September 19, 2013 Written by Heath Hindman

new-vita-colors

I got to try the new Vita model at TGS, and while it’s far from perfect, I’m a little more impressed than I thought I’d be.

Beneath the Vita 2000 lies a micro USB charging outlet, meaning it won’t need the proprietary charger that the original Vita requires. That’s a good thing for people like me, who have 800 of those friggin’ cables but only one Vita charger; I’m always losing my Vita charger! I’m terrible.

There are very minor cosmetic differences like the more rounded buttons and slightly smaller rear touch pad, but overall, you’d have to look closely to tell the two Vitas apart.

The biggest point of discussion on the new model is the screen. Honestly, playing Soul Sacrifice Delta and Gundam Breaker on a Vita 2000 didn’t set off any alarm bells in my head. At the same time, however, at no point did I take a timeout and just go “Wow” at the gorgeous visuals. Was this because I’ve seen them before, or because they were on an inferior screen this time? I’ve played Soul Sacrifice and Gundam SEED Battle Destiny on the regular Vita, so you’d think if there were a huge difference, I’d notice it right away, but no. The only differences that I noticed were, of course, differences between the actual games themselves. Different spells in Soul Sacrifice, different suits in the two Gundam games…among lots of other things, but you get the point.

Then again, Soul Sacrifice isn’t exactly the most colorful game out there….The point does remain, however, that when the two models are next to each other, the difference becomes noticeable. One of the Vita’s strengths, to me, was how often the visuals would just put me on the damn floor. With the LCD screen, things might be good enough, but would I be losing out on those special moments?

According to pundits and commentators alike, both LCD and OLED have their advantages and disadvantages. For most people, the LCD will quite frankly be good enough, in spite of #teamoled’s disdain. And really, that’s who this product is made for: most people. “Most people,” is, we must admit, not us. The people who read gaming websites and blogs are a great many, but definitely in the minority overall.

So the new Vita is more friendly to the general customer with its lighter weight, slimmer build, USB charging, and inclusion of built-in memory. It’s also more friendly to Sony by making each Vita slightly less expensive to produce. But is this a step in the right direction? It’s something, but is it something good? While the LCD might satisfy most people most of the time, will “satisfaction” be enough to build a bigger base of loyal, returning customers? It will be interesting to see how that goes, when Sony launches its new Vita in Japan this October, and (I’m assuming) next year worldwide.

Check back all this weekend and possibly next week too (depending on how much I can type), for more Tokyo Game Show updates.