Is PS Vita alive in 2020? Overview of all versions.
This article is not about the life story and sudden death of the most innovative portable console from Sony, PS Vita, but about what it is capable of in 2020, what versions it had and whether it is worth buying it now..
After the PSP videos and articles, many people asked me to talk about the PS Vita. This topic also interested me a lot, since I had not had anything to do with Vitami before..
Yes, there were two, or rather, even two and a half. Let’s start with this.
PS Vita Fat (2011-2013)
If you expected to see something similar to the PSP, then in general it is, with the exception of the size. Vita is a very, very large console. This is how it looks next to the iPhone 11 Pro.
However, it is still a couple of centimeters shorter in length than the Lite version of the Nintendo Switch. Of course, this means that it also has a smaller screen – half an inch. But which one: a 5-inch OLED touchscreen with a resolution of 960 × 544 pixels, which gives us a pixel density of 220 ppi.
By the way, the aforementioned Nintendo has this figure of 236.
Almost all of the controls are similar to those of the PSP. The only exception is the presence of the aforementioned touchscreen, rear touchpad and second stick – all of which are used in games.
Fortunately, Vita’s sticks are different from those in the PSP, and have a full-fledged tilting motion. In its predecessor, the stick was smaller and walked only in the horizontal plane..
And Vita also acquired two VGA cameras at once, which are used in games with augmented reality. Yes, it was already available in 2011, but unlike any newfangled iPad Pro, “Vita” needed strange cards for this, which were included in the kit..
But what was, for some reason, unavailable at the end of 2011 was LTE. I am talking about this to the fact that for a surcharge, the Vita could be equipped not only with a Wi-Fi module, but also with 3G. Let me remind you that around the same time, Apple released the iPhone 5 with support for fourth-generation networks..
Sony hasn’t forgotten about Bluetooth either: Vita supports any wireless headphones, including AirPods Pro (yes, Nintendo Switch?). Among the PSPs, only the Go model could boast of Bluetooth, but, alas, it did not digest AirPods Pro, although it coped perfectly with ordinary AirPods.
Alas, this parameter was not without jambs either: the headphones periodically “fall off”. This can happen during a cutscene in the game or when the console is locked. Only a complete reconnection of the headphones saves from this.
Turning Bluetooth on / off from quick settings will have no effect.
What about wired headphones? At that time, of course, there was no fashion for getting rid of the mini-jack, so the connector was in place. Next to the mini-jack, you can see a proprietary connector for charging and connecting to a computer..
Fortunately, this misunderstanding was corrected in the updated “Vita”, replacing it with microUSB. On this note, let’s smoothly move on to the Slim version..
PS Vita Slim (2012-2019)
No, I didn’t make a typo. The updated Vita was actually released until February 2019 – at least in Japan..
Of course, it has become thinner and lighter than its predecessor, having thrown off 3 millimeters and an impressive 60 grams, thereby becoming a much more portable console..
As is usually the case with Sony, with the reduction came the simplification. The display no longer forms a single panel with the front part and visually separated from the body, turning into a photo frame with a simple glossy plastic on the sides.
At the rear, the area of the touchpad has been significantly reduced to increase the grip area of the console. I don’t know if this made a lot of sense, because personally, for example, I hardly touch either them or the touch panel itself on any of the console versions, but many users seem to have encountered false sensor responses.
What’s really nicer on the back of the case is the texture of the material. If earlier the back part, framing the touch panel, was made of ordinary matte plastic, in the Slim version, a pleasant soft-touch plastic was used. And so it turns out that a cheaper and simpler design model actually feels more expensive in hands..
The main technical change is the screen. It was OLED, but now it is IPS. Everything is for the sake of not only reducing the cost, but also solving the problem of matrix burnout in its predecessor. However, it is a nice bright screen with great viewing angles.
Resolution remained unchanged.
The light indication for switching on and charging the console has moved from the PlayStation button to the upper end, to the power button, so it will not blind you at night.
Perhaps the last significant change worth mentioning is the built-in one gigabyte of memory. The Fat version didn’t have it either. For everything else there is …
No, not Mastercard, but PS Vita card, but about them a little later.
What to play?
Really worthwhile projects were released only at the start of the console, after which Sony scored on the developers, and the developers on “Vita”. Nevertheless, there are not so few good games..
Here and the exclusive part of “Uncharted: Golden Abyss”, and Assassin’s Creeed III: Liberation with a female protagonist and cool mechanics with dressing up, and the ninth Mortal Kombat with a full set of add-ons, and a full Need For Speed: Most Wanted sample 2012, and more about a dozen good games.
But not so high-quality games are still released on PS Vita. For example, one of the latest toys came out in June this year. This means that the online store with PlayStation Store games for PS Vita is alive and well.
And it will be right, of course, to purchase games there. Moreover, there you can buy games even for the PSP, which can no longer be done on the PSP itself – such is the paradox.
Vita also acquired multitasking, although not very useful and in some ways even inferior to the PSP Go. This multitasking does not apply to several games: you can minimize one game, but to open another, the first one will already need to be closed.
In parallel with the game, you can open only applications, and that is not all: for example, a music player or a browser, but even a video player will already require you to close the game. But the old lady PSP Go allowed launching another game in parallel with one game – that was the level.
But back to PS Vita games: there are also game cards. It is now possible to buy them only on the secondary market. They look like SD cards and fit into a slot under a cover on the top of both consoles..
An entertaining fact: on the Fat version of “Vita” there is a connector to the right of the slot for games, the purpose of which is unknown to this day. The complete documentation indicates that it is needed for accessories, but not a single accessory has been released. Without any comment, Sony simply removed this connector from the updated version of the console..
If you need to download games to internal memory, then it’s time to talk about memory cards.
These cards have their own format and are worth fabulous money even now, including on the secondary market. Sony is such a Sony.
In addition, the cards are quite picky: if the card is pulled out while the console is running, the Vita will restart. If the card is inserted during operation, the console will also restart. Thus, you need to wait twice for a restart for the procedure to eject and reinstall the card..
And the memory card is also rigidly tied to the PlayStation Network account, so when you install it on Vita with another PSN, it will require data formatting.
Multiply this by the fact that AAA games on PS Vita weigh 3 GB or more, and cards were not released with a volume of more than 64 GB. There is a feeling that something needs to be done with this, isn’t it? And there is a solution, but for this you need to flash the console.
The firmware opens the way to the use of SD2Vita – an adapter for ordinary microSD cards, which is inserted into the slot for game cartridges.
There are two versions: black and white. The first is called 3.0 and is suitable for thick “Vita”, and the second – 5.0 and is suitable for thin. They are available for purchase for pennies and anywhere.
And why are they useful to us??
Let’s not be honest, because we all understand why we are here – yes, the firmware allows you to install images of games from the Internet for free, and the adapter will provide enough memory for this, but of course, I am not calling you to anything.
You can download games both through a computer and directly on the console itself via Wi-Fi using the PKGj program – a kind of online store where everything is free. Only the download speed this way leaves much to be desired, because Vita does not “see” 5 GHz networks.
In games uploaded in this way, it even works online. Users with stitched “Vit” are not banned – everything is ok. The problem is different – finding people online these days, of course, is difficult..
The hacking process itself does not require any special knowledge, but it does require a Windows computer. There are also ways of flashing on macOS, but I found a clear instruction only with the active use of the “Terminal”. It turned out to be easier to go to my mother and do everything on her computer..
And, of course, I highly recommend flashing the console yourself, because the firmware is strictly tied to your account. “Vitu” with someone else’s account can be banned by the previous owner from PSN through Sony technical support, and you will also not be able to connect the portable to your PS4 in Remote Play mode, because both devices must be under the same account. Therefore, do not be lazy, flash and make sure that Vita is clean when buying.
At the moment, absolutely all versions of the Vita software are being flashed, the last of which – 3.73 – was released in October 2019. But such firmware will be flashed.
If you want to get a non-flying version that will not “fall off” with every complete reboot, then you will have to roll back to 3.65 – especially if you plan to run PSP games on your “Vita”.
PSP inside PS Vita.
This item is called that, because literally it is. By launching the Adrenaline program, you also launch a full-fledged flashed PSP right inside your PS Vita with the ability to install free images of games, themes, programs and everything else.
By the way, you can install PSP games through the aforementioned PKGj. After installation, the game will immediately appear inside Adrenaline. But this method has a couple of drawbacks..
Firstly, if the game was not originally translated into Russian, then in Russian it can no longer be downloaded, while on third-party sites you can find assemblies with amateur translation. And secondly, while downloading a PSP game, the loading screen, for some reason, cannot be left. But if you download a game for PS Vita from the same place, then this can be done already in the background.
It is also strange that the very version of the PSP firmware for “Vita” was not chosen the most sophisticated. I mean, it’s not from the PSP Go, which allowed the game to be minimized. Immediately it is impossible.
This is compensated by a completely killer function that allows you to save any action taking place on the Adrenaline screen. That is, you can save the game anywhere you want. There are as many as 31 slots available for this..
Also, Adrenaline allows you to change, for example, image settings or select a memory card that the emulator will use to store data..
Thus, you can store games from Vita on microSD, and games from PSP – on your own Vita card. Fortunately, for PSP, four gigabytes is already enough for at least something, and, say, sixteen – for the eyes in general.
There is also a program called AutoPlugin that allows you to install various plugins, including those for the PSP. For example, there is a whole bunch of plugins to support in many games the right stick “Vita”, which was not on the PSP. All other PSP games only support the left stick..
Vita can also emulate a bunch of retro consoles, including
Sega, SNES, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color and PlayStation 1. However, the PlayStation 2, alas, cannot.
This is partially solved by HD-remasters of games from the second “curling iron”, such as God of War Collection with the first two full-fledged parts, the presence of which personally makes me very happy.
Vita can remotely play games from the PlayStation 3 or 4, and in the latter case also play the role of an additional screen in games that support it, as well as the role of a second gamepad.
This only requires the latest version of the software, but the hackers foresaw this too, allowing the fake version of the firmware to be specified in the settings..
We enter 3.73 (at the time of this writing) and thereby calmly broadcast games from the PlayStation 4 or go online.
Which one to choose?
As in the case of the PSP, there is no significant difference, but the slim version is still a little better..
It is thinner and lighter, it has a more reliable screen, as well as a normal microUSB instead of a proprietary connector, which, according to reviews, loves to break, and the bundled cable is frayed..
But when choosing a Slim version, rely on the fact that you can roll back to firmware 3.65 only on those models that were not produced with a newer software version than this one..
This means that you need to choose a model released no later than October 2017.
The month and year of manufacture is indicated on a sticker at the bottom of the case.
I almost forgot! At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that there were two and a half versions of “Vita”. By half I mean PlayStation TV.
The filling is completely Vita, only without cameras and touch panels. It was driven by the third or fourth “Dualshok”. I think very few people will be interested in it, but it was necessary to mention.
Still, is it worth buying a PS Vita in 2020? I think everyone will make a conclusion for himself on the basis of this text. The question is in the price and in your desires.
If you want to try games released specifically for Vita, then you have no options, and the ability to emulate other consoles will be a nice bonus. But if you want to mostly buy a console for PSP games, then buying the PSP itself will be cheaper and more pleasant purely nostalgic.