Sony has spent the month touring across Japan, previewing the PlayStation Vita to anyone who wants to see it.
The campaign has moved to new locations every weekend throughout the country, ending its final round of previews in Tokyo.
Booths were erected in major shopping districts from late in the morning, allowing potential customers to test out the new console. There were several PlayStation Vita devices running different launch titles, from Uncharted: Golden Abyss to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
The demos were set to a timer of 10--15 minutes depending on the title they had chosen. The booth also featured a display copy of the Vita for customers to check out, and advertisements previewing other launch titles.
They were also handing out information packs that covered the technical specs of the Vita, along with the games themselves. I held on to one of these packs, but my limited reading of Japanese hampered my enjoyment of it.
Unfortunately, there was a strict no cameras policy, so I was unable to get an images from inside the booth.
One of the major draws of the Vita is the touch-screen capability adapted for the gaming experience. My companions and I all agreed that some of the launch titles showed this off better than others.
Uncharted, for example, allowed you to navigate obstacles with the touch screen. It also used six-axis control for aiming, allowing the player to literally 'aim' by tilting the console.
I personally found some of these additions a little jarring and unnatural, but that may be because I'm not adjusted to it, having never been much of a smartphone gamer. I got the impression that the Vita had been designed with the smartphone generation in mind.
Other titles are ported directly from the PlayStation 3 without much integration of the new gimmicks.
The most interesting title I had a chance to play was Gravity Daze. Incorporating a unique gravity based gaming mechanic, it highlighted some of the innovations that could come about on the console.
As a seasoned PlayStation PSP player, it was a little strange to try a console that seemed very familiar but very strange all at the same time.
The official launch is this coming weekend on the 17-18th in Tokyo. Many retailers are anticipating large queues to contend with in the coming days, with the console being made available just in time for Christmas.