Why the PS Vita deserves more love
The current handheld market is tough. Not only does PlayStation Vita have to contend with its long-time rival, the Nintendo 3DS, but it also has to compete with mobile gaming, which has seen an increase in popularity so vast it now rivals the console market itself.
Unfortunately, the Vita is seemingly stuck in a catch-22. In order to get sales, it needs exclusive games. But in order to get devs to work on exclusives games, the system needs to be selling well. The Vita is a powerful and well-designed machine that offers a host of benefits for both developers and players. Here's why we should all show the little guy more love...
Sticking it to the man
Despite the Vita's predecessor undergoing numerous redesigns, it never incorporated what fans were crying out for - a second analogue stick. That mistake was not repeated with Vita. The handheld is able to provide more intuitive and user-friendly games, particularly when it comes to shooters and 3D adventure games, thanks to its controller-like dual analogue setup. The twin sticks coupled with the system's graphical prowess make this little machine is capable of bringing a blockbuster console experience to players on the go.
One world – many realities
Augmented or virtual reality in gaming has been on everyone’s lips since Microsoft revealed HoloLens, but many are unaware that the Vita also launched with AR capability. The impressive tech is perhaps the most overlooked element of the Vita. Sony initially released a sampling of enjoyable (yet basic) titles, such as Cliff Diver and Fireworks to show what the platform could do. But the AR functions were never an avenue explored by developers, despite the obvious potential for creativity it yields.
Can touch this
The Vita has the potential to deliver the same experience that mobile and tablet players have, thanks to its touch screen. The function can also be integrated into the more traditional handheld games. This hybrid of touch screen and buttons can act as a stepping stone, simplifying the controls for those adverse to complex button combos. Its rear touch screen can also be incorporated as a gameplay mechanic, providing an experience that’s unique to the Vita.
Keeping it in the family
With a dash of technological magic, the PS Vita can be transformed into a miniature PS4. Well not literally, but it does support a feature called Remote Play that allows the handheld to stream data from your PS4 via your wireless internet connection. So should you be unceremoniously usurped from the living room TV, you can continue saving/destroying the world via the handheld. Cross-Buy is also heavily incorporated - meaning that, for many titles, when you buy it on console you get the handheld version at no extra cost. And who doesn’t love free stuff?
Games, Games, Games
Watching this year’s Sony E3 press conference, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the existence of the PlayStation Vita. With all the hype surrounding the return of The Last Guardian, the Final Fantasy VII remake and Sony’s move into virtual reality, there wasn’t much of the limelight left for the handheld device. But Sony did present a highlights reel, showcasing some promising titles for 2015 and beyond - including exclusives Severed and Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Add this to the sizeable amount of titles already released and the ability to play PSP and PS1 downloads on the handheld, and you’ve got an extensive library ready to play. PS Plus members can also get two free games for the platform every month.
At this point in the lifecycle, more adopters and more games are crucial. With so much potential for new experiences, courtesy of its unique design and technical prowess, it would be a shame if the Vita were left behind before it's had the chance to reach its true potential.
I know I'm not the only one. Fellow GS writer Elijah Beahm has also valiantly defended the Vita. What do the rest of you think? Let us know in the comments!