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Sony's Vita Developers On Multimedia, Flash, and PSP Backwards Compatibility


From video and audio playback to web browsing, PlayStation Vita is packed with multimedia features. Sony's Vita development staff shared a few details about these features in an interview with Munechika Nishida that was posted today at Impress Watch for the latest installment of Nishida's Random Tracking column.

Here's a bit of what Sony Computer Entertainment Senior VP Yoshio Matsumoto, Division 2 Software Development Head Muneki Shimada, and Product Division Chief Hiromi Wakai had to say about the system's multimedia capabilities.

Flash Support

Adobe has announced that it won't be continuing further development on its Mobile Flash Player. What does this mean for Flash support on Vita? Shimada said that they're continuing negotiations with Adobe and have not given up.

Video Support

Vita will support 720p video. It won't support 1080p, but Shimada stressed that this is just at present. It's possible that future updates could bring updated functionality, said Shimada. However, he noted that the Vita display only supports 544 pixels vertical resolution, so anything above that will be scaled down anyway, so 720p is a reasonable value.

Remote Play

This appears to be with regards to a future feature, but Shimada said that the system's Remote Play will upconvert video to higher resolution. They're able to do this because the Vita supports a higher spec wireless LAN compared to PSP (802.11n or g as opposed to PSP's b). He noted, however, that the video encoding for remote play is done on the PS3 end, so it all depends on what they can do on the PS3.

Wakai added when using Remote Play on the PS3's XMB or the Torne DVR player, you'll get the experience in high resolution.

Custom Soundtracks

When using the system's Media Player to play music, and you switch back to a game, the music playback can be kept playing in the background. While there are some limitations, the game's sound effects should be able to overlay directly over the custom sound. All this is done without the game doing anything special, and the feature should work with all games.

PSP Backwards Compatibility

PSP backwards compatibility is achieved through a combination of both software and hardware. There are some assist functions on the hardware, Shimada explained without sharing details.

The system has an extremely high level of backwards compatibility with PSP software, Shimada said, adding that with future firmware updates the compatibility can be made even better.

On Custom Memory Cards

Explained Shimada, The reason Sony didn't use general memory cards like SD Cards and instead opted for a custom memory card is because they wanted to make sure they could have something with an equal condition for everyone. Additionally, they were concerned with security.

Shimada also drew distinction about describing the cards as merely a device for saving games. They're "storage" for the Vita, and are used for patches, game data, download content and more.

No Mac Support Initially

Vita will not be recognized as a mass storage device on your computer. You'll need to use a separate utility device. PS3 already has this utility built in as of the latest firmware update. A PC utility will be released before the system's release date.

Wakai promised a Mac version of the utility in the not-so-distant feature. She noted that the it's easy make the utility compatible with a variety of devices, as the UI and actual management is done on the Vita's side. You can do data transfers without even looking at your PC or PS3.

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