Five Reasons the PlayStation Vita Might Suck

Sony went gangbusters last week, showing off their flashy new handheld console to the masses. The PlayStation Vita is, as usual, a Sony-funded powerhouse, featuring a massive touchscreen and PS3-like graphics.

But is Sony onto a winner with it’s modestly price juggernaut? Or is it destined to fail? We caught up with technology expert Henry Rudyard who says there are certain factors that may lead to the Vita’s ultimate failure. Here are the top five reasons why the PlayStation Vita might suck.

Organic LEDs have a short lifespan

The Vita uses OLED technology to show vivid graphics and bright colours when compared to a conventional LCD, however Rudyard believes the technology is limited in lifespan. “A normal LCD, when being used for 8 hours a day, will last about 4 years,” Rudyard told us.

“OLEDs have been shown to last as low as 14,000 hours – or under 2 years. However, some advanced OLEDs have been shown to last a lot longer.”

It’s unknown at this point what type of OLED the Vita will use at this point, but a console that potentially lasts just under two years would not be a viable purchase for hardcore gamers.

OLED is not outdoor friendly

Our second fear for the PlayStation Vita again points directly to the OLED screen which, historically, has not shown a great love of the outdoors.

According to Rudyard, OLED screens may perform poorly outdoors, “The problem with OLEDs is that they have the tendency to reflect a lot of light. So when you take them outside, the screen may appear to be unreadable.”

This is due to a lack of backlight, he tells us. LCD screens, like those in the Nintendo 3DS, have a layer of lights behind the screen that produces the brightness. OLED technology actually converts electricity into light. This apparently causes issues in bright areas, like outdoors.

“There have been some advancements in this area,” Rudyard said, “E ink, used in the Kindle eReader used OLED technology and has shown reasonable performance in bright light.”

But there is another factor that makes the PlayStation Vita potentially scared of outdoors – it may be susceptible to sunburn.

“OLED displays can become damaged due to UV light” Rudyard warned, “most displays use a special filter to avoid this kind of damage, but prolonged exposure to UV light sources (especially without the filter) can render the OLED disabled.”

Don’t forget your sunblock!

Screen Burn-In

Our last issue we have with the OLED screen is the fact that they have an issue with the dreaded screen burn-in, commonly found mostly in plasma TV’s.

“OLEDs can suffer from image retention, particularly when a bright image is constantly displayed on the screen,” Rudyard told us, “pixels may be damaged from prolonged exposure”.

This is particularly an issue when it comes to video games – the very nature of which requires constantly displayed maps, health bars, ammo count, etc.

Questionable Battery Life

Sony have not yet released specifications on the PlayStation Vita’s battery life, but we have reason to question it’s lifespan.

OLED screens actually have the advantage over LCD screens when it comes to power efficiency, however other factors may drain the battery life even more. The device uses two touch screens, a rumored multi-core processor and a graphics processor that rivals the PlayStation 3.

This is before we start talking about a constantly connected 3G signal, GPS and bluetooth. If the battery does not hold up, it may just add another con to the growing pile.

It’s not very portable

The Vita’s dual analogue sticks are a great idea for gameplay, but they could prove to be annoying when it comes to ripping the device out of one’s pocket. This action may even lead to broken analogue sticks.

Sure, we might be nit picking at this point, but when you factor in the size of the console you start to wonder if it will even fit into your pocket in the first place. Coming in at a whopping 7.1 inches long, the PSV is no lightweight.

Once we change our wardrobe back to the late 90’s cargo pants, we then worry about scratches on the screen from keys and loose change due to the lack of protection – at least the Nintendo 3DS has a lid. The size of the device may prove to be troublesome to younger players – who usually make up the bulk of the handheld gaming community.

Sure, there are still some unanswered questions surrounding the successor to the PSP, and we’re far from counting it out of the race yet. But once you get past the flashy graphics and god-like power, the potential downfalls of the PlayStation Vita start to appear.

What do you think about the PSV, judging by what you’ve seen to date? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • taylor

    As for the 1st 3 problems I’m sure Sony has taken those aspects to mind so not worried bout that, as for the last 2 that sounds about right the battery and size could be a problem

  • Sceptic

    (Quote) “A normal LCD, when being used for 8 hours a day, will last about 4 years,” Rudyard told us.
    “OLEDs have been shown to last as low as 14,000 hours – or under 2 years. However, some advanced OLEDs have been shown to last a lot longer.”

    ehhhh… if you play the vita for 8 hours a day with an OLED screen that lasts 14,000 hours then it will last 1,750 days which is roughly 4.8 years (correct me if i’m wrong), not under 2 years as you say? And as for the keys and loose change scratching the screen comment, that’s why we put screen protectors on the screen in the first place is it not? Battery life too might be ok seeing as there are no moving components like the umd drive and laser from the original psp’s.

    I felt that your entire review seemed biased to be honest and then the “at least the Nintendo 3DS has a lid” bit just confirmed it. You make some good points but i really hope you are wrong because i’m really looking forward getting the PSV.

  • 240Zestways

    What a biased article…

    “A normal LCD, when being used for 8 hours a day, will last about 4 years,” Rudyard told us.
    “OLEDs have been shown to last as low as 14,000 hours – or under 2 years. However, some advanced OLEDs have been shown to last a lot longer.”

    So you compare how long a LCD screen would last when you use it for 8 hours a day to how long the OLED screen will last if you use it for 24 hours day? Of course it would die in “under 2 years” if you left the screen on 24/7. Like skeptic said 14,000 hours comes out to 4.8 years if you use it for 8 hours a day and that’s actually really good.

  • #1Lakerfan

    his avatar says it all…
    Like i always tell em, Sir, Go suck a stylus

    PS Vita is the bomb, Pre ordered mines at Bestbuy 6/11/11 (3G/wifi)

  • Jacob

    Yeah the calculations are a bit wrong, I think the comparison they were trying to make is 40000 hours for LCD vs 14000 hours for OLED. I don’t like the analog sticks either they seem to jut out

  • Annonymous

    Funnily enough I questioned battery life. At first Sony said it was the same as PSP but then they retracted it and said “its undecided”. I think the reason they haven’t announced a battery life is because they are trying to get it up to speed but what will come of it who knows?

    I also pointed out the screen protection. My PSP has scratches on the screen just by rubbing against its protective case. I do take care of it sorry about that guys.

    Although there was another factor that came up on several forums. The price of the system is appealing but what about the price of the games? I see an awful lot of chanting about 3DS being doomed but I knew there would be factors that come up.

    And this about OLED failure rates is quite interesting. This could potentially lead to the biggest type of hypocrisy in Playstation fanboyism. They ridicule the 360 for having high failure rates so I would like to see what goes down if Vita lasts a maximum of 2 years. Not trying to create a fanboy flame war here. Just its an interesting point. I never knew this about OLED’s.

    Thanks for the great read Tynan. I’ll watch how this plays out until I pick mine up.

  • Simon

    I think you are reading too much into the devices even before they are into the market…Do you think sony would have not considered all these disadvantages…I agree with you about the battery life being less… But apart from that the other things are too much which cannot be predicted now!!

  • Another Gamer

    I agree with a few of the commenters on here – this article is quite biased. In my opinion, this site overall is quite biased towards Nintendo (basing my thoughts on the articles and reviews).

    Although, I must commend Ty for creating an article that has sirred up a little emotion in his reader base.

  • Veeto

    I don’t think it was biased… Speculative maybe not biased. They’re saying “might” suck afterall. I hate image retention so hopefully Sony fix this

  • Barry Young

    I am afraid the article commenting on OLEDs shows more ignorance than bias. Ten years ago lifetime of passive matrix OLED displays was an issue and 5,000 to 10,000 hours was the performance. Now we have active matrix displays and the lifetimes are over 50,000 hours. Some of the material makers claim over 1m hours. Blue is the least efficient with lifetimes at ~40,000 for 1,000 cd/m2. Look at the luminace specs and it will probably show < 500 cd/m2, so the lifetime would go from 40,000 hrs @ 1,000 cd/m2 to 160,000 hrs @ 500 cd/m2.

    Regarding high ambient lighting conditions, AMOLEDs had a problem that was primarily due to the touch capability that was added to the display. This problem was solved by using an on-cell touch which integrates the touch directly onto the display. It is generally conceded that the Super AMOLED (with integrated touch) out performs LCDs in high ambient light conditions. As to image sticking, any emissive display will suffer from this problem, but it has also been solved. First the longer the lifetime the less impact caused by image sticking; second there are compensation approaches built into the active matrix that solve the problem. As to another comment in the article "There have been some advancements in this area,” Rudyard said, “E ink, used in the Kindle eReader used OLED technology and has shown reasonable performance in bright light.” This makes absolutely no sense; E ink and OLEDs are different technologies and there are no examples of the Kindle eReaders using E ink and OLEDs. Finally OLEDs are not damaged by UV light and have a circular polarizer to move ambient light away from the device. Other than that I thought the comments on displays was spot on!!!

  • Matt

    Barry I really hope you’re right and Sony does actually implement the highest quality OLED screen in their product so the gaming community does not have to deal with these issues.

    However, I’m not going to count on it. Best bet is that there will be some sort of issue with the screen. This is why I wait a bit after new technology is released to purchase in order to see the problems other people have with the device (e.g. high contrast cross-talk on 3ds wasn’t mentioned on any reviews of the console I’ve read).

    Depending on the length of the warranty, screen problems could be used as an underhand tactic by Sony to get you to buy the more updated version as well. But I don’t want to think about it that way, I’d rather believe that Sony is not an evil money-hungry company.