Sogabe:The PlayStation® heritage is clear as soon as you see PS Vita, which reflects the basic stance we took in product design. But we also had to make a great first impression and unveil something fresh and new. This was quite a formidable task, though, for a product with strict usability, size, and screen requirements.
We began by considering a familiar rounded case, true to PSP styling. This time, the overall shape is a "super oval." Not quite a rectangle, not quite a regular oval, the shape is easy to hold and play games with. It's in the details where we thoroughly refined the unit, though. Our goal was the simplicity of a single panel that fits comfortably in your hands.
Insistence on a perfectly flat front surface led to the clear, ground panel covering this side. This also has the effect of making the 5-inch OLED display and body look seamlessly integrated. It looks quite different from PSP, which has a window set into the body that you see the display behind.
On the back, a ridge forms a convenient finger rest. You can sense the boundary of the rear touchpad by touch, and it provides a comfortable place for your fingers. For us, this killed two birds with one stone.
The controls were one thing we poured a lot of energy into. The layout you see is the result of in-depth usability studies by a network of game developers around the world. Still, it was hardly an easy matter to decide details such as how much the analog sticks should protrude, or exactly how to arrange the buttons. Choosing a distinctive, clustered layout for the analog sticks and buttons makes the controls more coherent and creates a nice contrast with the flatness of the display.
In fact, deliberately keeping the analog sticks out of this plane provides a design accent. Ordinarily this surface could be made flatter, and designers might be tempted to do it. But that would make the unit look no different from a smartphone or tablet computer. I think we succeeded in refining PS Vita design while accentuating the features that distinguish it as a portable game console.
Aoki:For everything from packaging to store displays, we sought a unified visual image to welcome you to the world of PS Vita. Coordinated packaging of game consoles and peripherals-and of points of purchase where packaging is on display-was an area where we could improve, and it seemed a good move from the standpoint of branding and visual identity.
To present a consistent image, we first had to decide on some facets of our key visual. One aspect of this is color. We chose two shades of blue to represent PS Vita, which are presented together, with each color gradually blending into the other. The key visual we created includes this blue gradation. These pieces come together in the game console and accessory packaging, as well as store fixtures and shelving. PS Vita makes a great impression, thanks to this.
Determining which colors should represent PS Vita involved many considerations. One of our requirements was that people should be able to distinguish this system's accessories from those of PS3 and PSP on store shelves. Our packaging design is the same worldwide, though, so we had to account for adjustments to suit various sales environments around the world.
Our key visual had to go well with PS Vita keyword-life-as well as the unit's GUI design. The image calls to mind icon qualities and the swaying motion, not to mention the unit's oval shape. Certainly not cold and mechanical, and not solid, liquid, or gaseous, either. We wanted the image to embody flowing, intangible properties in a straightforward way.
Kawai:We also revised the shape of the packaging. The narrow opening on PSP packaging to date may have been inconvenient when taking the units out. We thought that for PS Vita, we should create packaging that was more user-friendly and reflected our regard for customers.
On the new packaging, the front of the box provides a larger surface, for easier access. Visually, the first thing you notice after some subtle graphics is an inviting message: Welcome to the World of PlayStation®. This approach is new in the PlayStation® series. Relatively speaking, the series of actions from purchase to bringing PS Vita home to unboxing it and picking it up are over in a flash. Still, if we spice this experience up a bit, we can offer some pleasant surprises and make you more anxious to explore the unit. And if you've unboxed previous models in the past, we know you'll find it a fresh and exciting experience. We put some thought into how we could offer the world of PlayStation® and the entertainment in store for you anytime.
After you pick up the Quick Start Guide, you'll see PS Vita right away. You can turn it on and start playing immediately. Accessories are conveniently tucked away in a separate space, so that nothing distracts you from the "hands-on" thrill. That's how the packaging design reflects what we know about the unboxing experience.