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Uncompromised: PlayStation Vita launches in the UK

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 03:34 GMT By Alex Donaldson

Alex Donaldson wasn’t the first man in the UK to buy a Vita, but he did talk to him. Get all the buzz and photos of the high street launch without the queueing and the cold.

Vita UK Launch: February 22, 2012

WiFi only model: £229

3G-enabled model: £279 – includes Wipeout 2048

Games priced at around £40, although some downloadable titles are significantly cheaper.

Backed by Sony UK’s largest advertising campaign to date.

Midnight launch host GAME has not stocked Ubisoft or Tecmo Koei titles.

“No sleep,” Zohaib Ali, a 21-year-old student from Uxbridge enthuses as he waits outside in the biting February cold, bouncing on his toes. “I’ve stayed awake all last night – I’ve been here since Sunday!”

He looks like he should be dead on his feet, but he isn’t – he’s got two massive things to look forward to that are making him incredibly excited. “Tonight I’m just going to play Vita all night,” he swears – and he’s doubly happy because Sony have kindly guaranteed him all first party games free for the rest of the year – not a bad deal for waiting in the cold for a bit.

“I’ve already played it – it’s good, it’s really good!” he continues, so excited that I barely need to ask anything. “I love games, I love technology – I just want my Vita!”

He’s just one of many waiting outside GAME Oxford Street, one of a handful of stores opening at midnight to celebrate the launch of Sony’s new handheld – and the air both inside and outside the store is one of excitement from company reps and gamers who can’t wait to get their hands on the machine. “Not long to go!” one man shouts down the queue, cheering up the others in the cold.

I, thankfully, got to go inside to speak to some of the folks behind the launch.

“The strongest launch line-up”

Almost as excited as Zohaib was Michael Denny, the Senior Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios Europe – quite the title. “Personally I think in terms of launches it’s possibly the strongest launch line-up we’ve had.”

“Not just in terms of quantity – we have announced 50 titles which is fantastic in itself – but in terms of quality and the mix of the big franchises that have almost been reinvented for Vita mixed with innovative, new, exciting IPs as well. I think we’ve really something for everybody – it’s really strong, really exciting.”

Something for everybody is part of Vita’s big marketing push, including ‘Vita Rooms,’ a store space that allows the public to go hands-on with the device from hardcore offerings like Uncharted to as-yet unreleased titles like LittleBigPlanet – and folks who’d picked up their Vita could head to the space for a drink and relax after midnight if they fancied.

Everyone isn’t the core demographic for Vita at launch, though, as Denny was keen to explain.

“The PlayStation DNA at its core is that we’re all about games. PlayStation Vita has games at its heart – people that love games will want a PlayStation Vita. We are going for a core demographic at launch and we have the games to appeal to them.”

“The PlayStation DNA at its core is that we’re all about games,” he told me “PlayStation Vita has games at its heart – people that love games will want a PlayStation Vita. We are going for a core demographic at launch and we have the games to appeal to them.”

“People who love the experience of Uncharted already will absolutely love the experience of Uncharted on a portable. The reason for that is that it is an uncompromised gaming device – it has a beautiful 5-inch OLED screen, it has uncompromised controls – it has addition controls to the TV version as well.”

“There’s no question for me that if you love the experience of Uncharted on your TV you’ll absolutely love it on your portable as well.”

That’s something with which SCEE PR Manager Hugo Bustillos was also keen to point out. “We’re offering your triple-A games, your home console experiences – Uncharted, WipEout,” he said. “We’re essentially giving you a PlayStation 3 in your pocket.”

“The third parties have done an amazing job too; I think FIFA’s incredible – I’ve been playing that a lot – Marvel vs. Capcom looks stunning, and I think for the first time is a way to play an actual beat-em-up on a portable console and it’s very similar to what you get at home.”

Beyond that there’s also a plan for Vita’s portfolio to expand past the hardcore with roots in the machine that stretch down channels that lead to social experiences and casual games. Boasting features like downloadable social media apps and a better ability to handle bite-sized downloadable games, there’s a hope that at launch and beyond more casual gamers will find something in the Vita.

“Titles like Escape Plan, Reality Fighters, Motorstorm RC help us to appeal to a broader range of people even if we are hardcore-focused at launch,” Bustillos explained.

Denny went deeper on that, elaborating in a basic way on the company’s intentions for the future. “Vita is a very connected device, a very socially connected device. With its multiple interfaces such as front and rear touch, there’s no question that we can expand that market to be broader.”

“What we’ve seen with the proliferation of gaming on the go as it were with more casual devices is that alongside our core games we believe we can ‘graduate’ or ‘upgrade’ some of the more casual users that have entered the gaming market up to PlayStation Vita.”

“You look at the catalogue we have and there are some titles that are broader-based that can appeal to more casual gamers even at launch. There’s lots of unannounced games to come, and we’re happy with the launch line up in terms of how broad it is, but yes, we’ll be adding to that catalogue and I’m sure the demographic will be broadening very quickly.”

21 year old Zohaib Ali queued for hours
to be the first to own a Vita.

Even with Ubisoft and Tecmo Koei titles absent from the store due to GAME’s recent money woes the Vita launch line-up was still notably plentiful in the store, with customers rushing in on a first-come-first-served basis to grab limited items like cases and memory cards.

Everyone who bought a Vita left with a bag replete with Vita swag including items like a t-shirt, LittleBigPlanet mug and Nathan Drake Sackboy, whilst members of the WipEout 2048 development team were on hand to sign copies of the game and the Vita to give midnight buyers a collectable edge.

I grabbed GAME Group Marketing Director Anna-Marie Mason to see how she felt the launch – vital for the struggling company – was proceeding. “We’re partners in this launch with Sony – we’ve been behind this product all the way,” she told me amidst the throngs of customers.

“This is an important launch for the industry, and we’ve got really healthy pre-orders and deposits for this product. Judging by tonight’s turn-out I think we’re set to have a really great week.”

One thing is significantly different at this launch, though – the number of stores open at midnight. The 3DS Launch had some 482 GAME Group stores open at midnight whilst even Gran Turismo 5 got 93 – the Vita, meanwhile, had just two stores open last night. Mason explained that she sees it as a matter of picking the correct approach, though.

“It’s not about less – it’s more about doing the right thing,” she clarified. “This is absolutely the right platform for Vita – we’ve also got our Gamestation store in New Street open this evening – it’s a brilliant store, and they’ll have a great turn-out just like we have here. We’re also opening our stores early tomorrow – from 8 o’clock – so we know customers will be in early and pick up their machines.”

All parties involved – Sony, GAME and the third parties – will obviously be hoping that Vita has a bumper launch. Past all the marketing speak and grandstanding the stand-out from last night was just how excited Zohaib, first in line, was. Based on his reaction it’s quite clear that – ignoring sales for a moment – Sony have done something very right.

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14 Comments

  1. Dragon246

    I wish vita the best but its success depends on games, sony should keep pumping AAA titles for vita to keep it alive.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Len

    Mines en route, will turn up tom afternoon. V excited… :)

    #2 3 years ago
  3. FeaturePreacher

    You brits are lucky. We would never be allowed to have a pair of tits like that in our American retail stores.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    I am honestly excited by Vita. Strongest console concept for ages. I feels genuinely new, and the games are brilliant. Thank fuck, quite frankly. I just hope people buy it.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Mike

    I don’t do handhelds, but Vita really does look like a decent machine. It makes me want although I’d never play on it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    Good piece! That kid is the queue is the most excited person of all time. Good luck to you, sir.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    @5 – It’s different. Console quality. I’ve never been this interested in a “handheld” before. Completely different experience to something like a phone or 3DS.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Dragon246

    @7 ,exactly, people say handheld dont need console games but I am a student who just does not have much time to start playing on ps3 but I certainly do want to play uncharted . This is where vita fills the bill perfectly and that is why I have preordered it.I hope others understand it too and vita has phenomenal sales.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Johnny Cullen

    With Pat on this one. Vita’s probably the first handheld I’ve been genuinely excited for. I got a 3DS mainly to “follow the herd” and I don’t think I’ve touched it more than 30 times (and even that might not be the right number). Where as Vita, the games literally actually excite me from day one already. Uncharted and Wipeout, obviously, but also stuff like Gravity Rush, Motorstorm RC and Resistance (and this is before a yet to be officially announced Killzone game).

    So yeah, Vita will do well, I reckon.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Da Man

    So yeah, completely identical experience to Psp, but even more of a pocket console.

    I might get the 3ds for that Vagrant Story – like game and the Resi if it gets a couple more of games like those, but I just don’t have any use for handhelds.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. silkvg247

    I really, really don’t see what the hype is about. :/

    For one thing I feel handhelds have pretty much had their day anyway – I rarely get out my DS or my PSP. For another, I can’t think of one groundbreaking or exciting thing the Vita actually does, to warrant it’s price tag.

    I mean yay, current gen graphics (which are over 5 years old, sigh) in the palm of my hand. But hold on a sec.. I spend all of my time at work, asleep or at home in my living room. If I’m in my room.. I have a 47″ tv. Why would I use a handheld.

    I guess their sole market is the long journey train/tube commuter then, can’t think why else you’d want one. I wonder if the “exclusive launch titles” will be released on the ps3 at some point? I wonder how long until you basically get vita ports of PS3 games and original content runs dry as it’s too costly to dev for one platform? By which time you’ld be sat on your couch playing a Vita agame thinking.. hang on, why didn’t I just get it on the PS3.. why did I buy this thing?

    And as moaned about previously, I’ll be damned if I’ll pay more to get less! No UDM pass, but larger RRP, stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Why can’t people boycott blatant and unfair rip-offs like this so we can actually get things changed?

    #11 3 years ago
  12. absolutezero

    “I spend all of my time at work, asleep or at home in my living room.”

    :(

    #12 3 years ago
  13. silkvg247

    @12 It wasn’t supposed to sound depressing, I’m a dedicated gamer, happy to spend most of my “free” time gaming. I don’t do the social thing, I’ve never been happier since I stopped drinking either. Though I do have mates around for.. you guesed it.. gaming nights (with optional films and tabletop RPGs)!

    #13 3 years ago
  14. KAP

    @13

    What I got from your comments is that the Vita isn’t catered for you.

    Ok?!

    Hmmm, tabletop RPGs.. each there own right?

    #14 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    With Heists coming to GTA Online next week, Rockstar has released one of the shortest teaser videos we’ve seen in ages. Hopefully you didn’t blink. Heists, along with Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode, arrive next week on March 10. The PC version of Heists will arrive on April 14 when the PC version of the […]

  • The Division rumors claim Dark Zones support up to 100 players – video

    With the recent leak of older, pre-alpha footage of the The Division, rumors over the game’s contents have been swirling, and today we have a video for you discussing said rumors. Once of the rumors pertain to the game is that it contains 50-100 Player Dark Zones, which are PvP areas. Supposedly, these areas also […]

  • Here’s a look at MGS5: The Phantom Pain emblem creation, limited edition bionic arm

    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]