During a press conference at the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Sony announced a few new features for their new handheld console, the Vita (watch our hands-on at E3 here). Among them were support for Foursquare and Skype. The references were made while talking about the 3G capabilities of the $300 model, but it wasn’t implied that a 3G connection would be required.
More powerful than most phones and sporting a large, bright touchscreen and dual cameras, the Vita should be able to handle these services perfectly well. There was no demonstration and no screenshots, though, so the UI is still a mystery.
It’s also unclear whether it will integrate with the Vita’s other, more system-wide social tools. Sony has a system-wide voice chat and friends list, and Twitter is already integrated to some extent, but these new services may also reach into games. Becoming the mayor of an in-game location could become a new source of points for check-in addicts.
In addition to these announcements, it was confirmed that all Vita games will be downloadable. It’s reassuring in a way, but it seems likely that users are going to run out of space, considering these are true AAA games, likely clocking in at a few gigs each — and solid-state storage fast enough to load assets isn’t cheap. But an unconditional promise of downloadability is a smart one to make, it’s very “next-gen.”
The Vita will be hitting the US market some time in early 2012, though it may be possible to import one from Japan for the holidays — if you’re filthy rich.
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis who were also the founders of the file sharing application Kazaa. Skype has also become popular for its additional...
Foursquare is a geographical location based social network that incorporates gaming elements. Users share their location with friends by “checking in” via a smartphone app or by text message. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues. Users can connect their Foursquare accounts to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which can update when a check in is registered. By checking in a certain number of times, or in different locations, users can collect virtual badges. In addition, users...