Let me make something clear: I love my Vita. I first picked up the system at launch along with a handful of games to get me started, and was immediately impressed by the handheld’s features and potential. Unfortunately, the Vita still has yet to truly live up to that potential, and though Sony has declared sales to be “acceptable,” that statement doesn’t scream “successful.” I’ve been a Sony fan for as long as I can remember, but the company has really dropped the ball with their latest portable gaming console, and the future of the system seems bleak. If Sony wants to turn sales around for the Vita, it needs to do a few things, and do it quick.
The first issues is the incredible lack of games for the system. While the Vita had a promising launch line-up, with Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 serving as the biggest titles, games stopped coming altogether. Sure, MLB 12: The Show was released and sold well. Gravity Rush finally game out and proved that the system has something to offer. We still have yet to see LittleBigPlanet. So far, there are a couple of games that justify purchasing the Vita, but with almost no premium titles on the horizon, there isn’t enough to make gamers interested in spending $250 to play three games in a year. Luckily, the recent announcements of Black Ops: Declassified and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation are making Vita owners excited, and making non-owners interested in the system once again.
Games, however, aren’t going to be enough. Sony had promised that the Vita would see a lot of cross-play support, but as of yet, the feature is barely used. MLB 12: The Show has done a great job of providing cross-play features, and the recent release of Sound Shapes is another step in the right direction. Both games allows you to save your game on your PS3, and continue it on the go, and Sound Shapes even gave you both versions of the game for the price of one. Sony needs to focus on bringing more cross-play compatible titles to the Vita, or at least start offering a Vita version of new PSN titles at no extra cost. Not only would it increase sales of the system, knowing that you can play PSN titles anywhere, it would boost sales on the PlayStation Store. The one promising upcoming game that is utilizing the cross-play feature is All-Stars Battle Royale, which will allow players to play on both the PS3 and Vita. Players will be able to take the game with them anywhere, and still compete in online matches against players on PS3.
Remote Play has also seen a lot of criticism. Initially, Sony implied that every game would be compatible with remote play, but as users quickly found out, that was far from the truth. To this day, there are only a handful of titles that support the feature, which is a disappointment considering how useful it can be. Plus, those titles that do support it rarely run well unless you are connected via a private network in your home. Forget about trying to use the feature over a 3G connection. Sony needs to work on improving Remote Play capabilities to give players more options when on the go.
Whether or not Sony can make the Vita a truly successful handheld remains to be seen. The system is very powerful, and after playing several games on it, it’s easy to see how the Vita could become the number one portable gaming experience. Sony just has a lot of work to do before it can ever reach that status.