Finally, exactly four months after it was released in Japan, the redesigned PS Vita model, commonly referred to as the Vita Slim, is coming to North America. On February 7, it was made available in Europe, and it seemed inconceivable that Sony would pass over its largest consumer base, the United States.
And now, the slimmer, lighter Vita will be going on sale in the spring of this year. Although details of the standalone model have not been released, Sony announced that a bundle including the Vita version of Borderlands 2 (with six of the DLC packs) and an 8 GB memory card will be $199.
The Vita Slim, along with being lighter and more portable, also replaces the OLED screen of the original model with an LCD screen, which exchanges image quality for battery life. The original’s battery life is notoriously bad, so this is a significant improvement for a product that is meant to be portable. It also includes 1GB of internal storage, whereas the launch Vita has none.
The design changes of the Vita Slim are probably not significant enough to drastically improve sales of the console, which have been struggling. However, it greatly decreases manufacturing costs and makes it a little more economically feasible for potential consumers. Considering the Vita’s compatibility with the PS4, the handheld may see at least a slight increase in sales over the coming months.
Anything that can get the handheld into more people’s hands is welcome, because it would motivate Sony to invest more in software. Already, there are hundreds of amazing games on the Vita, but many are small indie titles that generally fly under the radar. Hopefully, this redesign will spark the development of several larger games.
Now that Borderlands 2 is on the platform, perhaps 2K will fulfill Ken Levine’s pre-Vita launch promise and finally bring Bioshock to the Vita. At least we can always hope.