Are you considering buying into the more expensive 3G Vita model when it releases tomorrow? Sony Worldwide Studios chief Shuhei Yoshida believes that you'll be making "an investment," but reminds us that the 3G functionality will be better suited for social connectivity (via Near and Party) and asynchronous challenge-based multiplayer rather than traditional online gaming.
Yoshida reminded us about the 3G version's potential - and potential limitations - during an interview with IndustryGamers.
So if you want to send your friend something or check to see if your score is being beaten, it's immediate, and beyond the social connectivity there's also asynchronous gameplay that lots of social games on Facebook do so well. We're integrating in-game many of these features.
For example, MotorStorm is being released at launch in the U.S. and Europe, and when you complete each event in the game, you can send your challenge to your friend. When you receive your challenge through 3G, you can immediately play with just one press of a button, to get started and play the same event [as your friend]. And yes, this is doable over Wi-Fi if you're connected, but Wi-Fi isn't available everywhere.
3G is not good for real-time, heavy online play, but for these social and asynchronous features, it's quite capable.
Various apps will also leverage the 3G (on top of the GPS) functionality, and we'll be interested to see where it leads. For now, though, we'd advise you to save some money by buying the Wi-Fi version - and urge you not to expect too much from the service in terms of traditional online multiplayer.