It's almost laughable how many graphics comparisons I've seen for the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita. The image above is completely meaningless despite what some websites and blogs might think. Nintendo and Sony are two different companies entirely. Nintendo has always focused on surprising us with new and intriguing ideas, and Sony, more for the hardcore and technical gaming audience. So in this article the two handhelds will recieve a proper and fair comparison. Game line-ups, features, design, potential, and overall value are what will make or break these two systems, so that's what this article will use to compare.
There's no arguing that the current 3DS lineup leaves a little to be desired. As of the day of writing this article, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time released on the 3DS and is officially the first current game for the platform getting great reviews. Super Street Fighter 4 is a great game, but has been one of the only titles to receive above average critical reception. So it's safe to say the 3DS has had a rather poor lauch line-up. Nobody for sure knows what the Vita's launch lineup will be, but theres a good chance Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Little Big Planet will be there. Those alone are enough to beat the 3DS' launch titles.
The future is what matters most though. By time of the Vita's release the 3DS will have had numerous high name releases. Resident Evil: Revalations, Mario Kart 3DS, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Super Mario 3DS, and Kid Icarus will have all released by the end of 2011 (most likely) which makes this section tough to judge. Chances are that Vita will have Modnation Racers, Gravity (one I'm rather pumped for), Ruin, and Wipeout at launch or very soon after. The thing that makes this section so hard to award a winner to, is that there are two sides here. The 3DS will have a slightly more impressive and star filled game line-up by Vita's launch, but most of the games are remakes. The Vita's launch setup is MUCH better than the 3DS' but certainly won't have as many great titles currently available. To be fair, the only way this can go is to judge based on what 3DS will have by Vita's release and to most gamers, thats a clear victory.
This is one area the Nintendo handhelds need to get a grip on. It's nearly the end of the Mayan calander and you still have to hack the Nintendo portables to have a decent media player. The 3DS can play MP3 and AAC files, and thats pretty much it. There's no excuse for having virtually no media capabilities what-so-ever. The only video you can watch on a 3DS is an OKGO music video that downloaded to the system in a very recent update. Unacceptable. The Playstation Vita will no doubt come with the great multimedia playback of the PSP as well as social networking, multimedia streaming, and the PSN's huge selection of video and music content.
The 3DS of course has 3D gaming with no glasses, which I have seen and must say is pretty awesome. Regardless, the Playstation Vita
has many intuitive and useful features that pretty much put it on par with that one major feature of the 3DS. Both Sony and Nintendo have a great
back catalogue of retro games to download, so that's a win for both. As for design, personally I'm a fan of a laptop-like design considering what a freak I am about
screen scratches. The Vita still wins this one though as it also has both front and back cameras, and the big finisher, two analogue sticks. Battery life will be similar with both systems getting around
3 to 5 hours depending on the game being played. That's not a good thing when you consider one has nearly the power of a Playstation 3 and the other only somewhat better than a Gamecube.
The great thing about current-gen systems and handhelds is that the features are never set and stone. Xbox 360 is a great example of how just a simple update can completely change the functionality of a game system. The 3DS currently has 3D movie recording and downloading supposedly in the works, and who knows what the Vita will add to it's feature set through firmware updates. So the potential for both is completely unknown. We just have to wait and see where they go. As for value, this is a biggie. I can say with upmost certainty that sometime before the Playstation Vita releases, Nintendo will lower the price of the 3DS. There's simply too much of a difference in performance and features for 3DS to survive at the same price as the Vita. Nintendo has actually commented on this and seems relatively unconcerned, but I really do believe they'll still lower the price to at the very most $199 or $179 if we're lucky. As of the moment though, the price remains $250 for both. This makes the winner of this section very clear.
If there is one thing we've learned about gaming over the years, it's that things change fast. Tomorrow Nintendo could announce an amazing new feature coming to the 3DS that completely changes the game up, same for Sony's Vita. As of the time of this comparison though, both systems cost the same with a clear difference in value. Making the Vita the overall winner. It all comes down to personal preference. One person might have less interest in scaling mountains in PS3 quality visuals, and more in reliving his childhood favorite games in a whole new way. The other may have no interest in those games, and thus, makes the Vita his clear choice. The only real winner in the end is the gamer who gets a system that caters to his individual interests. This generation of handhelds, more than ever, gives us those choices.