Even if the company has stated that it’s fine with the Vita’s sales numbers, no one can deny it’s underperforming compared to the Nintendo 3DS. Despite better specs and a wide range of games, the 3DS has managed to outsell it. Whether or not the Vita has a price that is too expensive is still a mystery, but we should find out very soon if it’s the lack of a solid IP that’s keeping the PS Vita from selling. This convention revealed many different things about Sony, and most of them reflected positively on the company—which might be just what it needs to save the Vita from living in the shadow of its competitor.
A wide range of games were announced at Sony’s press conference for its two major consoles, and quite a few were on display at demo booths. The four major titles at the con were Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, Killzone Mercenary, and—the most unique title of the bunch—a new IP called Tearaway. The first three games all have huge fanbases that could very well get a system just to play those games. On the other hand, Tearaway is a new IP, even if it is produced by the creators of LittleBigPlanet, it could have some problems. It’s one of the few (if not, the only) Vita games that utilize every single feature of the Vita. The back touch screen lets you interact with your fingers, the front moves objects on the screen, and the camera and microphone are all utilized in a way that doesn’t seem kitschy. Hopefully this IP is what attracts casual gamers to the IP—since the other entries in its library haven’t seemed to help sales so far.
Another interesting announcement that leads me to believe the Vita will increase its sales in the near future is the combination of Cross-Play and Cross-Buy. We’ve known about Cross-Play since the Vita was announced—you can play a compatible game on your console and then switch to the PS Vita when you have to go somewhere. It seems convenient, but it’s only possible if the game is compatible and you own both games—something Cross-Buy is attempting to eliminate. Cross-Buy will be open to all publishers, and allows you to buy a free download for your PS Vita whenever you purchase a PS3 game. It won’t be available on all games (after all, it’s up to the publisher to include the feature), but it does encourage publishers to port their games easily to the Vita. This means more games for both the PS3 and the Vita—and hopefully means many of the high-quality PS3 games we saw at E3 and Gamescom this year will be available on the Vita when they’re finally released.
There were plenty of negative parts to the presentation. Call of Duty didn’t look nearly as good as its regular installments, and we still have no idea what team is developing it (a different team might account for its drop in quality). Cross-Buy is mainly aimed at PS3 users who also own a Vita, rather than just Vita users. The price still hasn’t budged since its February launch. But overall, the Vita did outshine its competitors at Gamescom 2012—even if none of the other companies decided to turn up.