The PlayStation Vita was supposed to change the way we played portable games, and for a while it did. As a day one adopter I can say, without a doubt, that I had never played anything as close to console quality as what I did on the PlayStation Vita. It wasn’t the packed in Little Deviants that changed my mind in the way that I played, yet games like Wipeout 2048 and even more so when I got my hands on Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I thought to myself, ‘hey self, you’re awfully good lookin…’ oops no that was another situation. Sorry, back to the Vita, I thought to myself ‘why will I need a home console in the future if this is what is available at launch’? I mean I knew eventually that there would be the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles and those would be ones that set themselves far beyond what the Vita could handle.
However, during the latter of the life cycle of each of the predecessors, if the Vita could achieve everything I wanted in terms of graphical output and some of the games were ported to the system from the PlayStation 3… so why wouldn’t all games wind up that way? I thought it was a match made in heaven. Seriously, this is a beast of a machine in a handheld container. Then, with just a short amount of time, it was revealed that the system that went with me everywhere was becoming even less than that of the console it was aiming to replace… the PSP. Now after almost 3 torturous years, Sony just needs to let the Vita die because our dreams of what it could have been did that a long time ago.
I kept my Vita for a long time, and rightfully so. There were some great games that were coming like Killzone Mercenaries, Tearaway, Assassin’s Creed Liberation, and others that really struck my AAA cord. While some had hit, and others were on the horizon the future for the Vita looked to be bright and like a console that was worthy of the PlayStation name. It sported a beautiful display that was also touch, TWO…. count them TWO joysticks, a back touchpad, all the face buttons that we have come to know and shoulder buttons as well. This was a PlayStation Controller with a screen (minus the triggers too). The Nintendo 3DS was selling better, but it had an established base and it was only a matter of time before the hardcore gamers came running in hoards to purchase the Vita and revel in its awe-struck beauty and abilities. It was just what the doctor order for gamers that wanted to play on the go and didn’t want to buy a 5″ screen to hook their console to.
The next thing I hear are crickets. There weren’t the sales figures that many thought would be there and third party support fell faster than a sumo wrestler dropped from a 18 story building. Even then, the bigger problem was that Sony themselves stopped supporting it. At that point, so did I. It wasn’t the only Vita that I owned, going back to the console a couple of times to play some games that had recently hit and me having a wishful thought that maybe, just maybe the support was coming; the wagons were circling. But, in all reality they weren’t. While there have been some minimal games to hit the console, and more than anything downloadable titles instead of big name games that the Vita was designed for, there hasn’t been anything to really bat an eye at. Even after Sony brought out Borderlands 2, a port of the console title that had people buzzing about the Vita for a second, literally a second, the system still struggled to find adopters.
They resorted to making the system cheaper with a thinner design and lesser screen and still the stampedes weren’t racing in. Nothing was bringing gamers to the system and I wasn’t running back any longer either. The Nintendo 3DS has continued its reign and it looks as though the market, especially for now, only has room for one portable system and the 3DS has claimed its place. Even though it, too, had a hard first year of sales it hasn’t stopped Nintendo from making it a heavily adopted system today. The consoles sells so well they, too, have done a redesign and it looks and plays better than ever. Why couldn’t the Vita do the same? One thing was the lack of publicity, another the price, and thirdly the support just kept people at bay. It isn’t like the system was a ridiculous amount more than the original price of the 3DS, but it was enough that people weren’t paying it. The publicity surrounding the system was awful and most outside of Japan, when asked, no one had an idea of what the Vita even was.
Even with all of that, it still just didn’t get the one thing it needed and that was the welcomed pockets of the hardcore gamers. Reason being is that most wanted to play their systems at home, traditionally with a controller. There was nothing else to it. Gamers didn’t want the same experience that they could get on the big screen because they didn’t want to shell out the money to get one when they already had something similar. It might have offered the chance to play games like never before, but the 3DS does that too at a cheaper cost and offers something different. While the console has some great titles, too, that would be considered AAA titles, it doesn’t try to be like the Wii U, instead it embraces the differences. Sony didn’t give gamers a reason to buy a Vita, they gave them pint-sized reasons to buy a PlayStation 3.
What it did have going for it was that it supported remote play for the PlayStation 4 and some people went out and bought one because of it. With it not working the greatest unless you are within your house, it really doesn’t give you a reason to own it. If someone is watching TV and you want to play a game on your PS4, you have two options and both cost less than a Vita. First, you can take your PS4 in the other room and hook it to a TV, or you can buy a small TV and a PlayStation TV and play everything you could want streaming though it to your television. Oh, and to top that off…. the PlayStation TV plays Vita games too, go figure. Sony is showing that it has little interest in supporting the Vita as a companion to the PS4 as well by integrating remote play into their new Xperia Z phone line as well, and it’s coming to other phone platforms in the near future.
Sony really has written it on the wall for all to take notice; the PlayStation Vita is dead. They might not want to admit defeat, but they need to let the Vita go out peacefully with the Christmas season approaching. There will be people buying PlayStation 4’s, Xbox One’s, and even Wii U’s over the Vita and most would choose a new phone or tablet over a Vita too. They just don’t offer anything that makes the system stand out from the rest. It is a dying system hanging on by a string and Sony just needs to cut the cord, endure the losses, and move on. It has found success with the closing of the life of the PlayStation 3 and now, even more so, with the PlayStation 4; so Sony ride that horse into the sunset and pay your respects to the system that could have been, but never was, as you go.