Today I had a chance to play with the new Sony gaming system, Playstation Vita. It is a portable gaming system, which is a more powerful version of the old Playstation Portable. Of course it has all sorts of the latest technology in it, such as quad-core processor, OLED display, touchsceen, touch panel on the back and two cameras; one on front and one on the back.  Sony says that it is the most advanced portable gaming system ever created. I think that it is a true statement, especially since besides Nintendo and Sony no one else is interested in producing portable gaming systems; Apple does not call iPods, iPhones or iPads gaming systems, even though it seems that they might have the biggest part of this market.

I played a couple games on Vita. I was truly amazed by the system. The screen was really good even though its resolution is lower than iPhone’s Retina display; Vita has a 5 inch screen and iPhone about 3.2 inches. I read before that graphics is more comparable with Playstation3 rather than Playstation2. I can agree with that statement, it is really impressive.

However, after couple minutes of playing I started asking myself a question, what could be a good reason to buy this system. I have an iPhone, where I can get hundreds of games for free; games for Vita are about $40 for the box version. I also have a PS3 so I do not really need anything that can display graphics almost like PS3. Of course the main point of Vita is the fact that it is portable, but is 3 hours of battery life a really good result? I would more call it semi-portable since the battery life won’t let me play during even half of the flight to Europe. In this aspect, my iPhone is much better. For a second I thought that maybe because of cameras, microphones and all this cool technology it could be a good device to play educational games to learn foreign languages, that gives you immediate feedback on how you did based on your accent and facial expressions; something like the U.S. Army is using to train soldiers. However, I realized that iPad could do the same job probably even better because you have more screen space and better battery life.

Now I think that in the age of smartphones and tablets, portable gaming systems such as 3DS and PS Vita do not have a lot of chance for success. Why would you buy an extra device that can only be used to play video games, when you have in your pocket a phone that can do that and you do not have to buy games for it. People can argue that serious players would buy it because there are serious games for these platforms, but I think that serious players play on the big systems such as Xbox360 and PS3. Anyways, which serious player can be done playing after 3 hours of battery life?

What portable gaming systems do you think are still going to be developed or is it the last generation of them?

Apple and education

Today I have read that Apple has sent out invitations for one of their events. The company slogan for the event is “Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple”. It will be hosted at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. There are rumors that the event will mostly be about textbooks and their digital distribution. The New York Times reporters claim that there will be no new hardware announcements.

It seems to me that we will soon have access to most of the textbooks through iPads. I think it can be  great information because  it will help to reduce the cost of textbooks, which are very high. I would prefer to pay more money for an iPad, a one time cost, and then save money on the textbooks. Also it can increase the chance that more people see the iPad as a device that can combine gaming and educational functions. This will definitely lead to developing more educational games and software not only for the iPad but also other mobile devices.

What is more, it could be a great solution for all the students who have troubles getting their textbooks at the local bookstore. Can you imagine a better way of getting a textbook you need to do your first homework than just downloading it on your iPad straight from the Apple Store? Well, I can’t, and that’s why I am excited to see what Apple will show on January 19.


World of Goo: App Store Case Study

Have you ever wondered why some games “work” on consoles, but not other platforms? How do developers decide how to price their games? What drives sales on the App store? 2D Boy, the crew behind the marvelous indie game World of Goo, have written an insightful and revealing blog post that explores all of these issues. Must-read for anyone thinking about creating their own games for iPhone, iPad, or other “app store” driven gaming platforms.