PlayStation Vita to be released February 2012

The question of when gamers will be able to finally get their hands on the PlayStation Vita has been answered.

PlayStation chief Jack Tretton confirmed this evening at the Web 2.0 summit that Sony's upcoming powerhouse handheld gaming device will go on sale in the U.S, Canada, Latin America, and Europe on February 22, 2012.

Until this evening, the PS Vita's release date has been a mystery. However, the release timeframe of the Vita misses the critical holiday season and confirms a previous report that the device wouldn't arrive until early 2012. … Read more

SideBySide: Interacting handheld projectors

What's cooler than a pair of handheld projectors? A pair of handheld projectors that interact with each other. SideBySide is a prototype handheld projector system from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University. Aim two of the devices at adjacent spots on a surface, and the projected images react to one another.

In one application, a pair of cartoon boxers square off. When the characters are close to each other, fists fly. In another, a giant ape and a jet fighter do battle. There's also potential for engineering and productivity applications. (See the video below.)

The images interact because the devices project invisible infrared control signals along with the visible projections. Infrared cameras in the handheld units detect the control projections. This makes each unit aware of its own projections and those of other units. When the projections are close to each other or overlap, the animations change.… Read more

Star Fox 64 3D on the 3DS: No system-seller

The Nintendo 3DS is in a state of crisis. You could argue that's the case for all of Nintendo, too, especially this holiday season.

Handheld games are no longer a domain dominated by Nintendo, not with phones offering so many alternatives for less. The 3DS needs top-notch software to help it prove its worth, and while other games are no doubt on the way, titles like Star Fox 64 3D, Nintendo's latest franchise rerelease, just don't do enough for a software-starved 3DS holiday lineup.

Scott: Nintendo fans will rejoice: much like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, released earlier this summer, Star Fox 64 3D is a pitch-perfect and graphically remastered version of a beloved N64 console game. The only problem with Star Fox is that a rails-based shooter has less to offer than a well-developed adventure game like Zelda. I loved Star Fox on my N64; its 3D graphics were unprecedented for a Nintendo console, and the sci-fi effects were a kick. Now, games like Galaxy on Fire for the iPhone can offer many of the same thrills for a few bucks.

Newly added gyro controls add motion control to the classic Star Fox, using the 3DS' internal gyroscope to tilt-steer. Unless you turn off 3D, don't bother, as 3D effects are bound to break up due to line-of-sight shifts when continually tilting. It only took one try to convince me to turn gyro off for good. You can have 3D or motion, but not both.… Read more

Game of Phones: Why Xperia Play suggests the Vita will be Sony's true PlayStation phone

Sony, you baffle me. I'm sitting down with an Xperia Play, the PlayStationesque Android phone released earlier this year. The one I had been awaiting, for a year, the so-called "PlayStation phone." CNET's already reviewed the Xperia Play, but I was sent the unit to play with a little for myself, at long last. After this year's E3, the Xperia Play sits in my hands like an afterthought. I'm underwhelmed, unexcited, bored. Partially, it's the software: a depressing suite of PlayStation 1 games and choppy frame rate Android titles. Partially, it's the hardware: the Xperia Play has its own buttons, the build quality is impressive, and the device feels good to hold, yet it lacks physical analog sticks.

Yet, what bothers me most of all, strangely, is the branding.

Related links • CNET's Xperia Play review • Hands-on with PS Vita and its games • This wasn't the PSP phone I was looking for

The Xperia Play doesn't say "PlayStation" anywhere on it. A small square with square, triangle, X and circle icons on the lower-left corner of the control pad are the only indication of any PlayStation relationship. "Sony Ericsson" and "Xperia" appear once each, and "Verizon" appears twice.

Even in the software menus or apps I could find, not once did the "PlayStation" word or logo appear. It's a branding white-out.

Does that matter?

Not really. But it's a critical statement. I can't help but be reminded of the MotoRokr E1 phone. The first phone to play well with iTunes, it predated the iPhone as a music phone by two years. However, the device lacked any clear Apple branding or iDevice labeling, or even a look that matched the iPod. The MotoRokr died a quiet death in the shadow of the iPod Nano, a precursor to all that happened after with the iPhone.

I wonder if the same story is inevitably true for the Xperia Play.… Read more

E3 2011: Will Nintendo 3DS' new games be enough?

LOS ANGELES--While Nintendo created a splash with the Wii U, its 3DS handheld remains in an awkward state of affairs after being upstaged by the PlayStation Vita debut the day before.

The 3DS has only been on store shelves in the U.S. since March, but the system faces an uphill challenge against a competitor in the Vita that has the same price and arguably more-robust technical specs, along with an impressive assortment of games.

Good games are what the 3DS particularly lacks a strong supply of, but Nintendo's press conference focused largely on firing off big-ticket franchise names … Read more

E3 2011: Hands-on with PlayStation Vita and its games

Editors' note, June 7, 2011, 6:33 a.m.: Updated with hands-on impressions of Vita games.

LOS ANGELES--Sony's revamped take on the PSP has impressive graphics, a slick screen, tons of controls, and an aggressive $249/$299 price, but all that's nothing without games. At Sony's E3 2011 press conference, a variety of Vita games--some known, some new--were announced, and many were made available afterward for hands-on demos on the floor.

A number of Vita units were available to play with at demo stations. They were tethered "development kit" units, but I still got to … Read more

Our Nintendo 3DS wish list for 2011

At last year's E3, the Nintendo 3DS was arguably the headlining tech of the whole show, if for nothing more than its successful use of glasses-free 3D in a handheld game system.

Nevertheless, since the launch of the 3DS this March--just a few short months ago--the system's been luffing in a dying breeze. While the 3DS' capabilities show promise, the actual games, price, and battery life (or lack thereof) have soured the equation. Add to that the fact that the 3DS still doesn't have its Web browser, online e-shop, or last year's promised Netflix streaming … Read more

Nintendo DS Lite drops to $99

Today Nintendo announced that its DS Lite handheld, originally released in 2006, has had its retail price reduced to $99. This comes a week before the annual E3 expo in Los Angeles, and a week after the Nintendo Wii dropped its price to $150.

The DS Lite was always a well-received handheld, and was the last Nintendo portable to support Game Boy Advance cartridges, but it's currently two generations behind. The Nintendo DSi, released in 2009, still sells for $150, and the Nintendo 3DS, released earlier this year, sells for $250.

It's not surprising to see price drops … Read more

Report: Panasonic axes Jungle handheld

If you were hoping to get your hands on the Panasonic Jungle, you'll need to settle for something else.

Panasonic has chosen to discontinue its efforts on the portable-gaming device, Reuters reported today. The company apparently announced it had "decided to suspend further development due to changes in the market and in our own strategic direction," Reuters reported.

The Jungle handheld was first revealed late last year. The device was slated to compete with the Nintendo DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable. However, Panasonic had a somewhat different idea with the Jungle. Rather than allow developers to … Read more

The Sony NGP/PSP2: What we still don't know

Last night's Tokyo announcement of the PSP2, now known as the Sony Next Generation Portable, revealed details that had been previously mentioned in a variety of rumors. To a large extent, those rumors proved correct: no UMD drive, but a 5-inch high-resolution OLED screen, 3G capabilities, front and rear touch capabilities, and--yes--dual analog sticks are all part of the NGP's design.

However, much as with the first announcement of the Nintendo 3DS, a lot of key details are still undefined.

Battery life This takes the forefront, considering the disappointing life of the PSP and PSP Go. The Nintendo … Read more