December 19, 2011, 8:37 AM — While those of us in most of the world have to wait unti February to pick up a Playstation Vita, in Japan Sony's latest handheld gaming system launched this past Saturday.
So how'd it do? We don't have any official word yet, and press coverage seems divided. VentureBeat says "Sony launches the PlayStation Vita in Japan to big crowds" and in its coverage, the Associated Press claims "thousands of game enthusiasts lined up early" to get their Vita.
Gaming blog Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft (who is located in Tokyo) offers a more subdued view of the launch, saying some stores had long lines and others had almost none. He does say one store had 600 people in line; I suppose it only takes 1,400 more punters in all of Japan to say "thousands" lined up!
Here in the US, the Vita continues to face early controversy because of its limitation on supporting more than one PSN account. It turns out you have to do a factory reset to switch accounts. Not only is this a major issue in families that might want to share a single Vita, it's also an issue for those of us who maintain both a domestic and a Japanese PSN account. Wired has the full story and we can only hope that Sony addresses this limitation via a firmware update or something. It just seems like such a bad idea, binding a single PSN account so tightly to a device; you have to wonder what they were thinking when they made this decision.
In the meantime, Sony has released an online version of the manual for the US Vita, if you're interested. ShackNews points out that moving save files from a PSP to the Vita is going to involve jumping through some hoops (since the Vita won't show up as a storage device when you connect it to a PC, so you can't just drag and drop saves). Oh, and if you've got some PSP games languishing on your PS3, you can install them on the Vita, but only if you haven't already installed them to the PSP. Again, this is just an inconvenience — it means deleting the game from the PS3 and downloading a fresh copy from the Playstation Store, and then installing that to your Vita — but you have to wonder why things are set up this way.
Sensing a trend here? The Sony PSP had major piracy issues and it seems like Sony is doing everything it can to 'lock-down' the Vita and prevent a recurrence. But in doing so, they seem to be making the experience for legitimate users a lot more cumbersome than it needs to be.
If you aren't completely discouraged yet, here's a video (in Japanese) showing a Vita unboxing and some gameplay from Dynasty Warriors.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.