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Sony Execs Discuss Vita Multimedia Support & More

Several members of Sony’s development community as well as Corporate Executives spoke with Impress Watch this week about the upcoming PlayStation Vita. Some of the big names involved in the interview include Senior VP of Sony Computer Entertainment Yoshio Matsumoto and Head of Software Development Muneki Shimada. They discussed the type of multimedia support we can expect from the Vita, the custom memory cards and PSP backwards compatibility.

Multimedia Support

Out of the box Vita will support 720P video playback. This might cause some videophiles to complain that they are not getting true 1080P playback. Unfortunately the Vita’s screen only supports a maximum of 544 vertical pixels, anything beyond that range would have to be down sized.

Unlike the PSP you can play your pre-loaded music tracks over a game’s audio. The game’s audio would also still be played, presumably at a lower audio, alongside your own music. According to the interview all games will support this feature since it is built right in to the devices firmware, requiring no extra work from developers.

PlayStation Portable Backwards Compatibility

Muneki Shimada revealed that PSP backwards compatibility isn’t accomplished simply through emulation. Without going into specific details he explained that Vita accomplished backwards compatibility using a combination of hardware and software. He explained that future firmware upgrades will add support for additional titles.

Proprietary Memory Cards

The PlayStation Vita will use proprietary memory cards that must be purchased separate from the handheld. Muneki Shimada explained that Sony made this decision for two reasons. The first was to ensure that all Vita users have the same experience. Since there are differing classes of SD cards, for example, it is possible that users of cheaper or lower class cards could have experienced lag while playing games. The second reason for the proprietary memory cards is to prevent piracy. The PS Vita will not read as a “removable storage device” on a Windows computer. Instead you will have to use software specifically designed by Sony to move files to and from the Vita. Most of this is in attempt to thwart piracy – something that had may have hurt the PSP significantly.