5 Ways the PS Vita Is What Gamers Wanted in the First Place

Why the PS Vita Is the PSP you were looking for

The PSP was a pretty amazing device when it first came out, but it could have been better. There were certain things gamers wanted right from the very beginning, and most of those have been incorporated into the PS Vita. Along with the huge boost in processing power (something that would not have been possible when the PSP first came out), these new features make the PS Vita the powerhouse gaming handheld and multimedia device the PSP was meant to be.

01
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Dual Analog Sticks

PS Vita
PS Vita. Sony

The one thing that most gamers complained about right from the PSP's first beginnings was its lone analog stick. First-person shooters are almost impossible (or at best, very awkward) without two sticks, and just about any game could benefit from a second stick to control the camera. Every time Sony announced an updated PSP model, gamers crossed their fingers and hoped for another analog nub, but once the basic PSP design was out there was no going back. Now, not only has a second stick been added, but the design has been improved, making them feel much more like real analog sticks.

02
of 05

Touch Screen

PS Vita
PS Vita. Sony

One of the reasons Nintendo DS fans sometimes give for choosing the DS over Sony's PSP is the DS's touchscreen. And these days, just about every cellphone and tablet has a touch-sensitive screen, so why not the PSP--or rather, the PSP's successor? Ages ago, a homebrew developer announced plans to produce a touchscreen that could be retrofitted to the PSP, but it never materialized. With the ubiquity of touchscreen devices these days, it would have been silly to leave it off the PS Vita, but Sony went one step farther: not only does the PS Vita have a touchscreen for its main display, but it also has a touchpad on the back to add even more interesting possibilities.

03
of 05

Camera

PS Vita
PS Vita. Sony

Some time ago, I speculated that since everything has a camera on it these days, it was kind of silly to want one on a PSP, too. Yet gamers did seem to want a PSP camera, enough so that Sony actually made an add-on one. It took a long time to see release in North America, but it did arrive eventually. It turns out I wasn't thinking broadly enough--the PSP camera isn't just yet another way to take snapshots of your friends doing silly things. It can also be a way to add another dimension to games, like with augmented reality titles like InviZimals. Again, Sony didn't just add one camera, it gave the PS Vita two: one rear-facing and one front-facing.

04
of 05

Motion Sensing

PS Vita
PS Vita. Sony

Motion sensing, or motion control, wasn't as big a concern among gamers as some of the other items on this list, but it was a popular enough idea that Datel produced their Tilt FX add-on to bring motion control to the PSP. It was an awkward solution, since it occupied the headphone jack and didn't have a pass-through for actual headphones, and it required the user to load software in order to make compatible games actually work with the device. But the PS Vita will have plenty of built-in motion-sensing, making it as good (or maybe even better) that the PS3's Sixaxis and Dualshock 3 controllers.

05
of 05

Real PS3 Integration

PSP and PS3
PSP and PS3. Sony

I've written a whole article on the subject, and it's not certain yet exactly how PS Vita-PS3 integration will actually play out, but it's a good bet it'll be better than PSP-PS3 integration. There was a lot of promise for ways the PSP could interact with the PS3, but most of it simply failed to materialize. It's possible the same thing could happen with the PS Vita, but developer support for the idea is already far better than it ever was for the PSP.