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Karby P

PS Vita App Spotlight: Facebook, Skype, foursquare

Posted by: Karby P // Guest blogger

Category: Games > PlayStation Vita

Region: HK , MY , ID

Social network services. The PlayStation Vita was built with them in mind right from the very beginning - even back when the device was still referred to by its codename, "Next Generation Portable".


Social media is one of the main reasons why 3G is included in one model of the PS Vita (3G/WIFI). So that you may stay connected with your friends wherever you're playing.


By default, your PS Vita does not have any social media apps installed. Only the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) is supported fresh out of the box. This allows you to see what your friends are playing, go into party chat with and more.


But you can also connect with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks by downloading the corresponding apps from the PlayStation®Store for free.


Here's a look at three of the apps currently available - Facebook, Skype, and foursquare - and what you can do with them.


Facebook: Share with friends a snapshot of what you're playing


Facebook notification function has been available on the PS3 for a while now. If you look under your SEN account details, you'll find options to automatically share updates on Facebook every time you unlock new trophies or purchased something from the PlayStation®Store.


The Facebook app for PS Vita, however, takes that integration a step further. You will actually be able to check your news feed and see what your friends are up to in real-time - just like on the PC or your smartphone.


Personally, this has been extremely convenient for me since I tend to play games on the PS Vita on my bed at night; no need to climb out of bed and go on the PC just to see what my friends are talking about on Facebook. Commenting on your friends' status updates is also a breeze thanks to the incredibly sensitive on-screen keyboard.


Additionally, you can also post pictures on Facebook directly from your PS Vita - either photos you've taken with the Vita's cameras, or screenshots you've captured by hitting the Start and PS buttons simultaneously.


Skype: Turn your PS Vita into a bona fide phone


One of the hardware features I love on the PS Vita is its built-in microphone, which is great for doing party chats with your friends on SEN. You won't even need to wear a Bluetooth headset - just speak into the PS Vita directly!


That said, I have not used the party chat functionality as often as I would have liked to, simply because party chat only works between PS Vita users.


The Skype for PS Vita app, on the other hand, allows you to chat with friends even if they're on the PC or some other device.


If you've purchased Skype credits on your account, you'll be able to make calls to landlines and mobile numbers too.


Even when used on 3G, the sound quality is good enough to go on without needing earphones. Although obviously depending on the quality of your 3G connection, your mileage may vary.


When the Skype for PS Vita app is running in the background, you'll be able to receive calls in the middle of playing a game (*note: this will not work with games that disable the PS Vita's network connections while you're playing it). A pop-out notification appears whenever someone's calling you on Skype.


foursquare: The perfect primer to places you've never been


If you travel outdoors with your PS Vita very often, then this is the one app that you absolutely must download. It's the perfect complement to "near", the Vita's location-based app that helps you find other Vita users near you.


"near" lets you tell the world what games you've played, and simultaneously checks to see what games other PS Vita users near you have been playing and I look forward to finding people to play the game with through "near".


foursquare, like "near", is also location-based. Except instead of letting you see what nearby PS Vita gamers are playing, foursquare gives you an inside look at where people are hanging out, eating, or shopping at. It's the perfect primer to places you've never been.


Of course, most of you would already be familiar with foursquare - if you have a smartphone, chances are you've installed the app and used it at some point.


In that case you'll be pleased to know that the interface in the PS Vita foursquare app is remarkably similar to the original incarnation on smartphones. As far as I can tell, everything works exactly the same.


There is one big difference with the app here, however: if you thought food photos on foursquare looked scrumptious on your smartphone's screen, wait till you see it on the PS Vita's glorious 5" OLED display.


The Facebook, Skype, and foursquare apps for PS Vita are available for download on the PS Store now, for free.


Which PS Vita apps are your favourite, and why? Let us know in the comments below.


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