The Vita includes things we take for granted: GPS (3G only), accelerometer, motion sensor, front and rear camera. All these are ubiquitous today but they are still new to the portable gaming community, especially GPS.
Dennis Crowley envisioned a check-in game, but recently Foursquare has had to look for a business model, slowly moving it away from gamification and into local advertising. This is where an actual game could be different. Gamers are of a different variety, and will spend their days building up characters or points, just to watch numbers go up on the screen.
A clever game developer could make something like Geocaching meets Foursquare. If executed correctly, gamers would eat that up. Developers could charge for the game, and possibly some DLC. In game form, the check in already has a business model: sell the game. This enables developers to take the idea beyond local advertising, and gives gamers something new and innovative to play. Imagine the leaderboards.
Sony has also ditched the highly underwhelming UMD in favor of storing games on a memory card. The Vita has slots enough for two, but it only takes the new proprietary Vita memory card. No surprise there, as Sony has been pushing proprietary memory cards for as long as they've been lagging in the portable electronics space post Walkman. The most annoying thing about this is how much it jacks up the price of the device. $250 for the basic wifi model, and the most ardent of us will want to fill it up with 32gb, so tack on another $100. Maybe Sony thinks they are combating piracy by selling their own memory cards, or maybe they just love skimming off the top.
Boring memory cards aside, Sony has some other innovative stuff going on with the Vita. The touchscreen is joined by a touchpad on the back of the device. This helps keep your fingers from covering the screen during crucial gaming moments. It's not something that caught on with smartphones, but Sony appears to be trying something new and people seem interested. It will be interesting to see where game developers go with this new control.
And maybe Foursquare is already developing a game for the PS Vita. One can only hope.
Dev/Code/Hack is a technology and business blog by me, Par Trivedi. I'm a software engineer and I've been writing code and managing teams for over a decade. This blog serves as a way to share thoughts and ideas about the tech/startup community, and also to educate newcomers to software development.