The PlayStation Vita, for those of you that have been living under a rock for the last year and half, is Sony's successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and its second entry into the handheld games market. It was released in December 2011 in Japan and February 2012 in Europe and the Americas.
The iPhone, for those of you who must have been living on another planet for the last five years, is Apple's smartphone, first introduced in 2007 and having five iterations with the most recent, the iPhone 4S, being released in October 2011.
Both devices have touchscreens, wi-fi, bluetooth, accelerometers, tilt controls, GPS receivers, digital compasses and two cameras. Both devices also have games available for them, and that's the point of this article.
When the first iPhone model launched you got a smattering of applications alongside the mobile phone and camera functionality and that was it. However, after the hacking community developed a downloadable application marketplace, Apple decided that it could do better and so it developed the App Store.
This was probably the single biggest revolution in handheld gaming since the launch of the Game Boy.
Since these Apps initially weren't as big and fully featured as proper applications their pricing would be similarly modest. Games were released as cheaply as 59p (later 69p), many were free, setting the public's perception of prices for mobile games at a very low level.
This is the world into which Sony has launched the Vita; it is a very different place from when the PSP launched. Vita games are on sale for a wide range of prices, but none of them are as cheap as 69p. There are a few Minis priced at 99p, but most games are over £1.99.
So, is the Vita able to hold its own in an App Store world? Is there enough of a differentiation for you to pick up a Vita? Are Vita games worth the extra money? The answers to those questions depend on what the Vita can offer over the iPhone and what you are looking for.