Sony's newest handheld gaming system just got a little bit cooler. The Playstation Vita has added support for Skype, and it really went all out. The Vita app has full support for video calls through Wi-Fi (3G support hasn't been verified), and it can even be launched in the middle of a game.
The app is set to go live later today. It's a big week for Skype, which just launched its official Windows Phone app as well. Ironically, even though both Skype and Windows Phone are owned by Microsoft, the app hasn't gained a lot of praise and the Vita offering seems to be much more feature-rich.
The most important feature for the Vita app is that users can have their Skype account opened in the background, meaning they can receive calls while playing a game or watching a movie. It almost turns the Vita into a phone.
For the Vita, the addition of Skype is a necessary component for Sony to continue the message that the device can stand up to rivals like the iPhone or iPad.
It's an interesting environment now for handheld game systems. Consumers are now reluctant to carry anything else around with them if they feel they can accomplish the same thing with their phone.
Just a handful of years ago, the market of "all-in-one" phones was terrible. If a phone tried to do too much, there was usually a tag line of "instead of doing one thing well, it does a bunch of things poorly."
Of course, now, the iPhone and Android phones can do everything competently, so dedicated devices for things like music or gaming seem increasingly irrelevant. But if the Vita becomes more than a dedicated game device - if it can stream Netflix, act as a video calling platform, etc - then it might have a shot.
Photo Credit: Engadget