The PlayStation Vita will feature at launch a cross-game voice chat via its Party system. You can think of Party as a built-in mini-social network that allows you to create and host voice chat rooms, invite friends, and allow everyone in your party to see what you are playing and hop into your online game.
We had a demo on the last day of E3 immediately following a hands-on WipEout 2048 experience. Ramana Prakash, manager of Sony Computer Entertainment America’s online technology group, explained that Party allows you to chat with anyone in your group no matter what game you are playing. This has long been a demand of PlayStation 3 gamers, and after seeing how remarkably well it works on Vita, it seems logical the feature will makes its way to Sony’s console.
When asked when we’ll see Party on the PS3, Prakash quickly made it clear that “we are only announcing it for the Vita.” However, quickly after that comment, another rep from Sony, who asked to be anonymous, hinted that we’ll likely see this feature make its way to the PS3.
Beyond the anonymous comment, it would make a lot of sense that Party will eventually come to the PS3 because of Vita’s ability to seamlessly network with the PS3. For instance, our demo of WipEout 2048 put three of us together competing through the PlayStation Network. Two of us played on Vitas and one played on the PS3. This ability is unique, and best of all, it works like a charm. We experienced no lag and we can’t wait to see what other creative things Sony will do with this ability.
The actual Party system is remarkable in person. It’s fast, the voice chat is smooth, and the ability to join a friend in game happens in seconds. Prakash showed how someone invited him to a room to chat, then his friend started to play WipEout 2048, which he could see through a little logo below that friend’s name. At the touch of the screen on the Vita he joined his friend and was ready to compete.
Expect to hear more about Vita’s Party system and with any luck, PS3 fans will get their own party chat feature—and maybe it will connect with the Vita service as well.