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.