How Sony Can Save the Vita

2 min

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.

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  1. A guide to spot signs of radical Playstation fanboism as a person or a site :

    1. Listing both current and upcoming games that only matter to him/her/it, only to give an illusion of megaton list, just like $ony combined ps2&ps3 sales numbers. Using the ‘We’ word as if he/she/it represents the world.

    2. NPD or Narcisstic Personality Disorder, a self-glorious stranger who thinks he/she/it’s the most important jackass on the net. Telling a personal opinion as an absolute fact.

    3. Sales-induced comments/articles, spamming readers like selling snake oils. (eg: 10 earth-shattering ps3 games you must own, my vita can heal my backpains, i’m getting a second vita so it’s well worth your money too, etc.)

    4. Anger or Mad Disorder sign shows up in comments that lead to cursing at others. Some will cover it using smiley happy symbols or Lol stuffs, but in reality they’re suffering from insomnia scratching butts like crazy, waiting desperately to see miracles on playstation sales and twist bad news in forums/articles. Even Kevin Butler is paid to cheer up for Sony.

    5. Using ‘trolling!’ or ‘shut up!’ or ‘fan haters!’ or similar terms as final defense when the fanboy cannot openly accept real facts crushing his fanboyish opinions and mental issues.

    6. Spewing hatred at any other brand that’s more succesful in terms of innovation, reviews, and sales. It screams anti-competition or monopolistic mentality. Sadly, they’ve been brainwashed and outsmarted by their own puppeteer – Sony.

    7. Can’t stand constructive critics anymore. To them, Sony can’t commit sins or wrong decisions. Everything made by Sony is so f*ng holy. Speaking of super taboo “sheeps” or “tools”.

    8. Exclusive Attention Deprived Disorder. Almost the same like #2, but they need exclusive treatments in the form of exclusive games. Pretty much like drug dealer and drug abuser relationship. They’re more than happy to lose dimes for the master just for the exclusive fix.

    9. Judging others of being ‘jealous’ because they don’t have as many exclusives, yet those exclusive games cannot bring their beloved console up to the #1 sales spot globally.

    10. Double-standard or Bi-Polar Disorder. They will blame MS or Nintendo for propriety HD, but suddenly support Sony for Vita’s propriety flash memory. Milking Grand Turismo franchise is totally fine, but milking Halo franchise is a huge No. It’s OK for Sony to trick sales (newer SKUs every x year), but not so for Activision (newer CODs every y year).

    1. fanboyism
      The collective outlook and behavior of a group of people concerning a subject (movies, games, hardware, comic book characters, etc.) which when challenged results in an antagonistic, passionate, and unreasoned response.
      Rampant Fanboyism can be found on most internet message boards when such hot button subjects are discussed. You know a fanboy when you see one.
      If that’s the case about “Playstation Fanboyism”, aren’t you also being another console fanboy due to the fact that you have written an antagonistic/unreasoned response?

      1. My response was neither antagonistic nor unreasoned. I was unsure as to how your comment related to my post. If it is to accuse me of being a Fanboy, then I would like to point out that yes, I am a huge fan of Sony. That being said, this article is about how Sony really screwed up with the Vita, making promises that never became reality. As much as I love my Vita, there are issues that really need to be fixed if the system is ever going to survive. This is far from fanboyism.

  2. Why didn’t Sony make the Vita 100% compatible with PS3? Base it on Cell and PS3 structure so it is a fast and easy port. Imagine all the great games coming out for PS3 also being available on the Vita. Right now there are only a 3-4 really interesting titles and the rest are Android/iOS like mini games. People are not going to spend $250 for that meh experience.

    Sony, again, screwed up with the Vita as they did with the PS3. Vita is going nowhere without software and no developer is going to spend the money to port AAA titles or make even new IPs with just 8 people who bought the Vita.

  3. I can’t understand how anyone that truly loves gaming can look at the Vita and not get excited. I don’t care who it’s made by Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo the thing looks sweet. It does have a bunch of great games already and is definitely getting more. It has been a little slower then most would of liked with new releases but isn’t that always the case with every new console that’s ever been released. Sony has proven naysayers wrong over the long haul with PSP and PS3. The Vita will be no different.

    1. PS3 was a disaster for Sony buddy. They had total market dominance with PS2 and blew that whole lead and goodwill with the PS3. I have a PS3 now because of 1) price drops 2) great exclusive titles 3) non inferior 3rd party titles at least for 95% of the time. But at launch all three points were in reverse: 1) ridiculous crazy price 2) few exclusives 3) inferior 3rd party title ports. The Vita is facing the exact same problems.

      If they made the Vita so easy and cheap to port that any game that is released on PS3 is also available to Vita in addition to Vita exclusives then I wouldn’t mind paying $300. But what am I paying $250-$300 for? Myself and millions of other consumers have made their voice heard by the lack of purchase for this Vita disaster.

      Sony learned nothing from the PS3 disaster and just repeated with the Vita. They are doomed.

      1. Yeah, and people like you were confidently predicting the downfall of Nintendo before the Wii and we all know how that worked out.

        1. Yeah and special kind of numbnuts like you respond by claiming I said something I never said so you can conveniently state I am wrong without countering any of my points.

          Why use Nintendo? Why not use any incorrect statement and claim I made that statement and therefore my argument must be wrong?

          eg) “Yeah, and people like you were confidently predicting the downfall of China and we all know how that worked out.”

          eg) “Yeah, and people like you were confidently predicting the end of the world and we all know how that worked out.”


          1. Countering your points would require that you first have some. Sony might have flubbed the launch of the PS3 badly, but it’s doing just fine now. How does that fit with your Chicken Little predictions?

  4. Just to note: the real problem here, lack of games and all, points to something more complicated going on in the industry. See, even the 3DS had a lacklustre launch, and a Nintendo handheld having sales problems is unheard of. You might also notice cash-cow handheld franchises like one-per-year Castlevania have had pretty long breaks recently.

    What’s going on is the industry is worried about whether the dedicated gaming handheld actually has a future at all. It’s not the 90s anymore, and most people already have a cellphone and a pocket music player competing with a handheld for pocket real estate.

    Now, cellphones have the power to do gaming; things like the One X are as powerful as the last generation of actual consoles and still have acceptable battery life. If it came down to just technology there’d be a gaming phone tommorrow, but what they don’t have is control. You can play Angry Birds fine enough on a touchscreen, but try playing CoD knock-off Modern Combat and you find you’re sticking your fingers all over what you’re trying to see and the controls give you no feedback. It’s floaty and unsatisfying.

    The day someone solves the ergonomic issue and puts a decent set of tactile controls in the form factor of a smartphone, markets it well and gets it on the major cell networks, is the day a kid can choose between getting a dedicated handheld with cash up front or a gaming phone on contract which also has all the other functions of a smartphone. If that happens the dedicated handhelds are done, and the industry is shit-scared that’s going to be happening sooner rather than later.

    Here’s the rub as a developer; if this thing comes along, every dollar you spent developing engines for the current handhelds is wasted money, but you can’t spend money getting ready for the gaming phone because you don’t know what it’ll be running or how it will control. This leads to an awkward catch-22 situation where you don’t really want to develop for either.

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