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Compelling PS Plus game collection and firmware headed to Vita

Sony surprises with a very Vitaful experience just before the start of the holiday season.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
The Vita, nearing its first birthday, gains an e-mail client (among many other features) soon. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Next week, Sony's PlayStation Vita gets a much-needed shot in the arm as the company has revealed a selection of games for PlayStation Plus subscribers and new firmware that adds some mildly exciting new features to the handheld gaming gizmo.

After months of teasing, the upcoming PlayStation Plus ($49 a year) game collection for the Vita arrives on November 19. The first set of PS Plus Vita games includes Uncharted: Golden Abyss; Jet Set Radio HD; WipEout 2048; Gravity Rush; Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack; and the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Many of those titles are top-tier gaming experiences and currently cost more than $30.

Aside from the addition of PlayStation Plus, the Vita also gains firmware 2.0, which adds a variety of useful enhancements such as 1080p video playback, wireless sync/transfer, a dedicated e-mail client, and a much faster Web browser (upgraded HTML5/JavaScript engine, utilizes more GPU).

The video below from the PlayStation Blog shows these new features in action, plus a few extra. On a side note, we spotted the European PlayStation Blog teasing some 20-percent-off action for a few Vita games when the updates drop, perhaps something worth looking out for in the States.