PlayStation Vita is a gaming system first according to SCEE executive Jim Ryan.

According to the executive, Sony's first attempt at capturing the handheld market tried to do too much, and confused consumers as a result. The PlayStation Vita, reckons Ryan, will not make that same mistake.

“I think with PSP we tried to position it as a rather broad multimedia device. We talked a lot in the early days of PSP about its video playback functionality its use as a music device and a host of other multimedia functionality that it had," Ryan told Official PlayStation Magazine.

“I think this time we’ve realised that perhaps ended up confusing consumers, and they weren’t quite sure what the device was really all about. So this time the Vita does all of that stuff that we talked about on PSP, and it does it a lot better.”

But while PlayStation Vita will certainly include improved versions of all of the PSP's multimedia functions, Ryan believes the device is a gaming system first — as evidenced by its dual-analogue sticks.

“We’ve been a lot more single minded and much more focused in our positioning of Vita. We’re saying that this is primarily a gaming device. It has been developed from the ground up as a gaming device. What it does best is play games.”

But Ryan's keen to point out that while the Vita's capable of traditional gaming experiences, Sony's committed to providing the system with a stream of original, purpose-built content.

“The other thing would be that we learned that what consumers didn’t really appreciate was, in many cases, getting ports of PS2 and then PS3 games for their PSP," he continued.

"They said if that’s what you’re going to do, I’ll just play the game on PS2 or PS3. We’re helped here by the nature of the interfaces that are available on the Vita. What we learned is that the gaming experiences need to be unique and differentiated for gamers to be able to get into them.”

Having got our hands on the handheld ourselves this week — look out for a metric ton of previews over the coming weeks — we think Sony's really got the balance of content right, particularly from a first-party stance anyway. There's traditional games, there's mini-games and there's everything in between. But what's important is that every experience has its own unique PS Vita spin. Both ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet benefit from the system's advanced control options, while Little Deviants and Frobisher Says would be impossible elsewhere.

Sony's definitely learnt its lesson, and subsequently the PS Vita seems to understand its audience much better than the PSP ever did outside of Japan.

[Thanks Official PlayStation Magazine]