The Western media at the recent Tokyo Games Show (AusGamers included) were disappointed with the level of access afforded to the PlayStation Vita lineup at the event, but a couple of interesting new factoids on Sony's upcoming portable have found their way online outside of the regular PR channels in the last few days.
Responding to a simple fan query on Twitter, Sony President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida
has confirmed that the device will be region free, meaning that games purchased from any global region can be played on the hardware from any other region. In a series of followup tweets however, he was quick to discourage western gamers from importing a Japanese console, citing "minor nuisances" as his reasoning.
"There are people who are interested in importing the Japanese version of PS Vita from outside Japan, but I personally do not recommend that."
"Sorry I'm not explaining well, but from my experience owning both US and J game consoles of everything, there tend to be minor nuisances."
"Like inconsistency between the use of x and o buttons between system software and games."
In other big news for the Vita, the long-awaited battery-life was also officially confirmed, along with a new spec sheet. Eurogamer reports
The PlayStation Vita's battery gives you between three and five hours of gameplay, Sony has announced.
That extends to five hours of video playback or nine hours of music playback, if in standby mode. It'll take approximately two hours and 40 minutes to charge from empty.
Considering the core-gaming focus and flexible control options of the Vita, there is concern among much of the target audience that 3-5 hours of battery may not cut it -- particularly as due to the addition of the rear touchpad, the Vita (unlike it's predecessor) won't have a removable battery.
In an interview with IGN
, Yoshida has also revealed that there are plans for an official Sony external battery pack add-on, but our guess is that it won't come cheap. With competition in the mobile space now in the form of smartphones and tablets that offer superior battery longevity, it's going to be interesting to see whether this will be a limiting factor for the Vita's success.