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Although news surrounding Sony’s PlayStation Vita continues to gain steam pending its upcoming U.S. launch date of February 22, not everyone is familiar with the aesthetics and functions surrounding Sony’s second portable video game system.
To help ease players into the Vita prior to its debut, Sony sponsored Vita Hill Social Clubs in various U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and New York City. In addition to these locations, a Vita Hill Social Club made its debut in Miami, Fla., near the beaches, where many eager video game players came out at 5:30 p.m. to test out the capabilities present in Sony’s second handheld.
Rey Gutierrez, who works for Sony’s PlayStation Blog, was there to greet eager video gamers gathered outside 749 Washington Avenue. The location served as the club’s grand debut and Gutierrez, along with the other employees, made sure that those who attended had the opportunity to obtain a hands-on experience with Sony’s newest system. This experience included a chance to play some of the Vita’s popular titles, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush, before they see proper release, while also spicing up the environment with free food, drinks and music.
Gian Morena, the store manager for this Social Club, noted that this popular atmosphere would help in creating a positive buzz for Sony’s new system.
“We hope that this place will serve as an excellent place for individuals to come in and try out Sony’s latest device before it releases in stores,” he said.
Morena also noted that the club would remain open even after the Vita’s February release. He also hoped that those present would translate their affirmative experiences into pre-orders, as doing so would allow for the system to ship directly to their home and for the customer to receive a $10 Vita voucher.
As the event progressed and more individuals filed in, Gutierrez expressed surprise at the sheer amount of people that made their presence known.
“I thought that this large presence was overwhelming in a good way,” he said while laughing.
The large amount of attendees made Gutierrez realize that picking Miami for this occasion was the correct choice; he viewed the area as a ‘key city’ due to its general familiarity with the masses. This was the same line of reasoning when it came to choosing other cities for the Vita Social Clubs. Cities like Atlanta and Chicago are places that are instantly familiar to people, which would make it that much easier for the affairs to draw a crowd.
Those who attended had the opportunity to not only experience the Vita and enjoy free food, but also win t-shirts designed by Gutierrez. Ned Wing, a 23 year old from nearby Miami, greatly enjoyed his time at the Social Club.
“I can’t wait to get the PlayStation Vita,” he said excitedly, “I already have mine preordered.”
Wing played Wipeout, Welcome Park and Reality Fighters at the event. While he was pleased at these games, he admitted to being the most excited for Gravity Rush, which he had not seen yet.
Alexandra Yparraguire, a 24 year old from Tampa, also expressed excitement at the opportunity to sample the Vita’s wares.
“One of my favorite games that I played with the Vita was Reality Fighters,” he said.
Although it is unknown if the Vita will enjoy a successful U.S. launch, especially considering the sales difficulties that it is facing abroad, the opinions of Wing and Yparraguire serve as an indication that U.S. gamers will be more than willing to give the system a fair shot.