PS Vita Developers Talk About Multimedia and More

Vita User Interface

The PlayStation Vita. It may seem like just another PSP, but it is certainly not. From supporting heavy duty 720p video capabilities to telling your Twitter followers that you’ve finished yet another hair-raising level of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Vita allows you to do more than you ever have with a mobile gaming platform. Heck, it could even trump the iPhone or Android in terms of social and multimedia capabilities while playing hardcore games.

In an interview with Munechika Nishida at Impress Watch, SCE Senior VP Yoshio Matsumoto, Product Division Chief Hiromi Wakai, and Division 2 Software Development Head Muneki Shimada shared some details on Vita’s impressive multimedia features.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the main points discussed by these Vita developers.
- PSP Backwards Compatability

With both software and hardware, there will be a very large amount of backwards compatibility available right off the bat with the Vita. There will be numerous assist functions on the hardware and with future firmware updates, the compatibility can only be further increased Shimada said without disclosing any further details.
- Custom Music

You can now play your own custom music tracks while playing games with Vita. It will be very similar to the feature already available on the Xbox 360 — it will allow for the game’s effects to be overlaid directly on the custom music without the games having to do anything different. The feature is said to work with all games.
- No Mac Compatibility

There will be no Mac OS X compatibility right out of the box, but a PC sync utility will be released prior to the system’s launch. In the meantime, Mac users must use a separate utility device such as the PS3, which has Vita compatibility as of firmware update 4.00.
- Video Support

Vita will fully support 720p resolution video with a possible update for 1080p in the future. 544p vertical resolution is as much as the Vita display can support, so anything above this would be scaled down anyways. 720p sure will be a welcome addition after the extremely low quality of displays from the PSP and DS lines.
- Flash Support

Since Adobe has officially announced the discontinuation of its Mobile Flash Player, it appears that Vita will not have Flash support in its mobile browser. HTML5 is still a possibility for a future firmware update, but Sony is still in negotiations with Adobe in an attempt to get the popular Flash player on Vita.
- No In-Game Web Browser

Speaking on the topic of web browsers, there will not initially be the capability for in-game web browsing — so you’ll have to find another way of looking up cheat codes or FAQs while playing your favorite Vita games. When you press the PS (or home) button, the Vita UI appears and you can browse your friends list, post to Twitter, message your PSN friends, and more. However, the web browser will be unavailable until a future firmware update comes to save the day. Yes, Sony has worded the lack of the feature as follows: “Initially, the Vita will not be able to run the browser simultaneously with a game.” Initially, huh? Sounds like an update may be on the horizon to add this much yearned for feature.

These are just a few among Vita’s massive amount of multimedia options and capabilities. The system launches December 17 in Japan and February 22 across North America and Europe.