GDC Online: Sony Confirms Day-And-Date Downloads, Free-To-Play Support For Vita
At a GDC Online session, Sony's Chris Norden confirmed that all retail PlayStation Vita games will be available on PlayStation Network day and date with their launch on the platform.
PSN Releases on Vita -- Day and Date
In a talk aimed at developers, the SCEA senior staff developer support engineer told them that any retail game can be bought on launch day from the PSN Store. This is, in part, he said, so "you can just leave everything on the Vita -- it's a completely-self contained device."
While this has been stated before, it's been unclear at times whether it applied to every single retail-packaged Vita release; Norden confirmed that it does.
"PSN is supported from day one, right out of the box at launch," he noted. The PlayStation Network Store for Vita has a similar interface to the store on PlayStation 3, and has the same login info.
He also noted that unlike on the PS3, developed games do not have to be packaged in different file formats for PSN download -- all games are submitted to Sony in a single format for release by developers.
Free-to-Play on Vita?
He also confirmed, in response to a developer question, that the Vita will support the free-to-play business model.
"You are free to explore whatever business model you want. You'll have to talk to your account manager, and say, 'Here's my idea, and here's what I wanna do,' but yes, you're allowed to do that," Norden said.
One thing Norden refused to speak about was clock speed -- though he covered other technical aspects of the system in detail.
"Performance is not as good as PS3," he said. Vita is powerful, but that power is also optimized for battery life and power consumption.
While other mobile devices boast chips that run at 1.5 GHz clock speeds, he expressed criticism of that measurement. "We can tell you they don't run at that speed -- just for short times, like sub-second times. The reason is heat dissipation," Norden said. "All modern processors change the clock speed continuously depending on what you're doing... This happens at sub-second intervals."
"There's some pretty impressive stuff that looks kinda like PS3 if you look at it," he said, before demoing the Sony Bend-developed Uncharted Vita game to the audience.
Cross-Game Communication: Better Than PS3
He also confirmed that the Vita's PSN Party functionality is cross-game voice and text chat -- a feature not supported even on the PlayStation 3.
"We know everybody wants it on PS3 so we're doing it on Vita," he said.