Ahead of PlayStation Vita's Western launch on February 22nd, many consumer outlets posted their reviews and thoughts on the new handheld today, expressing wildly varied opinions over its potential.
With the review embargo imposed on Western journalists now lifted, publications are sharing the first thorough examinations of the PS Vita that many U.S. consumers will be exposed to, as they decide whether to purchase the $249 (or the $299 3G model) system when it releases.
Several mainstream sites like Forbes are excited about the PS Vita as a "gamers gaming machine" that "reaches out to a customer base that is not being served at the moment" by other platforms like smartphones, which have stolen much of portable gaming's thunder in recent years.
Time agrees that the handheld fills a void for gamers: "Why buy a Vita in what’s quickly become a smartphone/tablet world? Because you want to play serious, console-style games (with console-style controls) on the go. That's the Vita's exclusive promise at launch, anyway."
Gizmodo published an especially negative review, in which it compares the system's usefulness and features to smartphones. It advises consumers to not buy the handheld, and declares, "The whole notion of the Vita feels strangely antique."
The gadget site site adds, "With both phones and laptops creeping up on the traditional turf of the computer, the Vita feels uncomfortably without a place that makes sense, falling short of either side — it's not out-phoning your phone or out-consoling your console."
Other concerns brought up by reviewers include its "obtuse interface," "ridiculously expensive" memory cards, and worries over the software lineup failing to deliver any hits after the launch and Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken in late March.
Tech site The Verge comments, "We're not saying there are no games coming. But things are uncharacteristically murky, especially for Sony, who have made the PlayStation platform the 'Home of the Exclusive' for years now. ... The PSP demonstrated that Sony needs a steady stream of portable-friendly, platform-specific releases."
Many have blamed PS Vita's lacking catalog for the handheld's poor performance in Japan, where it launched in December. The system has struggled to match the sales of Nintendo's 3DS and oftentimes the PSP there, as many wait for must-have titles to release for PS Vita.