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PlayStation Vita Rear Touch Panel Idea Initially Rejected

Sony development head Shuhei Yoshida discusses development of new portable system.

Uncharted was one of the best looking Vita games at E3.

Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio head Shuhei Yoshida is featured in a big Weekly Famitsu interview this week. The main topic of the conversation is, as one would expect, PlayStation Vita. Sokuho@Hokanko has summed up the finer points of the interview.

Reiterating comments made with the international press during E3, Yoshida said that Sony's target from the start of Vita's development was a price tag of within 25,000 yen.

Development on the hardware started in Spring 2009. The development staff attempted to avoid the creation method of putting everything they want into the hardware regardless of how expensive it gets. Instead, they aimed for both a good price and high quality.

One feature that almost didn't make the cut is the system's rear touch pad. This idea was originally rejected because of potential costs and doubts over it offering an enjoyable experience. After trying the rear touch pad out, though, they immediately decided to use it.

On the software development front, Yoshida noted that with many current platforms, development starts first with the creation of an engine. This is something they feel is wasteful, so with Vita, they aimed to offer a development environment that would allow for developers to immediately get games running. This way, developers could spend most of their time on making their games enjoyable.

Yoshida is impressed with the quality third party developers have been able to get out of the Vita so early on. He said that he can't wait to see how things evolve when these developers are working on their second or third generation titles.

Surprisingly, development on the Vita hardware itself may not actually be finalized. While the system we saw at E3 was basically the final version, Yoshida said that it's possible there could still be small changes made to the system.

The button layout is probably something that won't be changing, though. Yoshida noted that the current layout is something that was determined with input from third party developers.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly wrote that Sony is currently seeking third party opinions on Vita button positioning. In the interview, Yoshida says that Sony sought (past tense) developer input for the button positioning. (Thanks, nanasisan!)

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