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How the Sony PS Vita Will Work


Wireless Capabilities
The action adventure title "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" is one of the first games available for the PS Vita.
The action adventure title "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" is one of the first games available for the PS Vita.
©2011 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

The PlayStation Network represents a crucial part of Sony's video game strategy. The online store offers downloads ranging from full release games and demos to smaller, cheaper download-only titles. PSP users can even download original PlayStation games -- dubbed PSOne Classics -- and play 90s games once designed for the TV on a portable system. Sony plans to expand its PSN strategy with the PS Vita: One of its initiatives is called the PlayStation Suite, a new online storefront built for the PS Vita and Android devices alike [source: Engadget]. The rise of iOS and Android has dramatically shifted the downloadable game market towards cheap, bite-size experiences like "Angry Birds," which surpassed 100 million downloads in March 2011 [source: Joystiq].

Sony has obviously taken another concept from smart phones: 3G connectivity. 3G provides a data connection anywhere there's cellular coverage. This connection option makes online multiplayer gaming more accessible while providing constant access to the PlayStation Network. The catch, of course, is that 3G connectivity typically requires a data plan with a cellular carrier. Sony will likely ship the PS Vita in a WiFi only configuration, but a partnership with AT&T or Verizon could be in the cards for the PS Vita.

The PS Vita's last two wireless features, GPS and Bluetooth, will offer the functionalities both protocols are known for. Bluetooth primarily connects one mobile device to another, and gamers will able to sync their PS Vita to a pair of wireless headphones or another device to stream music. With GPS service, Sony could offer a GPS navigation app on the PS Vita or tie geolocation into a multiplayer gaming or chat service. GPS and 3G, like the quad-core processor powering the PS Vita, represent Sony's philosophy with its next handheld: Load the system with all the features of a modern multipurpose mobile device to make it the most powerful thing on the market.

Is that the right strategy to take on the Nintendo 3DS?