TAMPA - On Tuesday, my co-worker Kyle Speicher spotlighted some web game reviews for the new PlayStation Vita.
You can read his article here: www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/entertainment/video_games/review-roundup--playstation-vita .
That's great information if you know you are going to buy the $250 handheld gaming device. But if you are not a hardcore gamer, should you run out and buy the new Sony system?
USA Today says the Vita is a "gaming beast." The paper believes Sony learned important lessons when a pitiful lineup of games following the 2005 release of their PlayStation Portable (PSP).
The reviewer finds everything that was a poor design on the PSP has been corrected for the Vita, including a second thumbstick.
However, USA Today doesn't believe casual gamers will want to fork over hundreds of dollars when they already have a portable gaming device -- their smart phone.
Read USA Today's full review here: content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2012/02/review-playstation-vita-a-handheld-gaming-beast/1 .
Crave Online is craving the Vita's games. The lifestyle website loves the visuals on Vita release titles and notes they will only get better as developers learn what is all possible to do with the system's computing power.
Reviewer Joey Davidson likes the Vita's user interface and says the notification bubble is its best feature.
However, they're not impressed with the 1.3 megapixel cameras which produce photos too fuzzy to use other than for an in-game function.
Read Crave Online's full review here: www.craveonline.com/gaming/reviews/183363-review-ps-vita?start=1 .
Technology website Cnet believes the technology in the Vita is amazing but notes there are hidden costs to be aware of.
Cnet's editors say the touchscreen's graphics are nearly as good as the PlayStation 3 and like the easy ability to download games from the PlayStation Network.
However, reviewer Jeff Bakalar warns Sony has some tricks up their sleeves to squeeze some more money out of consumers.
Most Vita games require a separate memory card that costs extra.
A Vita 8 gigabyte memory card currently sells for $35 while a 32 GB card will run you $100. As the memory cards are proprietary to the Vita, memory cards made by secondary manufacturers have yet to hit the market.
Read Cnet's full review here: reviews.cnet.com/consoles/sony-playstation-vita-wi/4505-10109_7-34834815.html .
PC Magazine says the Vita is a powerful device, but just like Cnet, is concerned about its proprietary features.
Reviewer Will Greenwald is impressed with the Vita's screen and its two analog thumbsticks.
He feels the device offers nearly the power of a PlayStation 3 game in the power of your hands.
However, Greenwald wishes the Vita had a better battery life and a web browser that supports Flash.
Its drawbacks, he writes, are just enough to keep it primarily as a gaming device and not the full-on media device Sony would like it to be.
Read PC Magazine's full review here: www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400345,00.asp
The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com says the Vita is so much better than its predecessor, the PSP.
Reviewer Damon Sims says the Vita's front features like its OLED touchscreen, dual analog thumbsticks and camera are definite upgrades.
However, Sims is worried hardcore gamers will not be pleased with the device's battery life. After being used for 3 to 5 hours, Sony says it will take more than 2 hours to fully charge.
With a monthly data plan, memory cards and two games, the Vita can run you $400, something Sims says is only worth paying if you plan on using all of its functions.
Read The Plain Dealer's full review here: www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2012/02/ playstation_vita_lets_players.html.
So overall, the majority of these websites agree the Vita is an impressive gaming device. But based on the reviews, I believe it is not necessary for non-hardcore gamers to buy a Vita -- right now.
Will the PlayStation Vita be a success? The device certainly is powerful enough to succeed. Only time will tell if Sony has created a machine the masses want.