Gamescom Predictions: The Potential Resuscitation of the PlayStation Vita

Some Gamescom predictions on Sony's attempt to revive the ailing Vita.

On February 22, 2012 the PlayStation Vita arrived in Europe and North America. Needless to say the ambitious handheld was more or less dead on arrival.

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Ever since the launch the Vita has suffered reaching the mainstream gaming population. Sure, statistics show that everyone that has the Vita loves it with the hot fiery passion of a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, but if barely anyone buys the thing, what’s the point?

**You’re like a middle child, but less fun.**

In terms of sales figures the specifics for the Vita were tragically absent from Sony’s Q1 report for 2013, however there are statistics stating that the PSP and Vita combined sold about 600,000 units, which is actually down from the same time last year. 

Interestingly enough, Sony revealed an insane attach rate for the Vita during their E3 conference this year: The average number of games purchased per Vita user is more than ten games. Sure, this doesn’t sound like a lot, but for any console the numbers are amazing. That being said; the Vita is still in trouble regardless of the post price-drop sales spike in Japan.

Sony had previously announced that Gamescom, the largest gaming convention in the world, will be all about the Vita. Yet with the upcoming PlayStation 4 what reason would Sony have for doing this?

**Moments before the Vita brutally murdered and ate the PS3. Not Friends.**

Remote Play (That Actually Works)

With both the PSP and the PlayStation Vita the great sounding Remote Play feature worked like a drunk airplane pilot – it was iffy at best and crashed at worst. With the revamped systems in the PlayStation 4 infrastructure Sony is going to be pushing the Vita hard to core gamers – likely saying it will enhance the player’s experience.

Along with that Sony said that players will be able to wirelessly beam games to the Vita a-la a Wii U type system that doesn’t totally suck. This also increases marketing value for people within a household that isn’t full of game lovers. People would potentially be able to pop their game over to the Vita and play it there, which would free up the TV for less awesome people to watch Bravo or MTV.

The prospect of being able to interact with a PS4 game using a Vita is really alluring to me. Yes, the Wii U does this, but the Vita isn’t just a controller: It is a system with it’s own library and it’s own positive attributes that can contribute away from the television. Using the Vita as an in game map or to work into the regular gameplay could open up gaming in a way that hasn’t actually been done well before. Given that both pieces of equipment are first party Sony products, the spottyness of Smart Glass may evaporate – or it may be just as frusturating as it is now.

**More of these are a great idea.**

Price Drop or Bundles?

The Vita had a price drop in Japan earlier this year, which was met with a considerable spike in sales which are currently only being bolstered by a bevvy of really solid games like Dragon’s Crown and Soul Sacrifice coming out. Unfortunately, however, mum was the word on a North American price drop.

Lately though, the Vita has been seeing exclusive bundles including memory cards and games like The Walking Dead and Assassin’s Creed Liberation for what I could easily call a premium price. I find it hard to believe that the Vita wouldn’t see some kind of price drop coming within the next month or so, but if they don’t, you can bet there will be a handful of really cost-effective bundles incoming.

Part of me feels like Killzone: Mercenary bundled with the Vita, a good-sized memory card, and a year of PlayStation Plus for $300 would bring a much greater value to the gamer. However, in hard economic times the average consumer will only see dollars and cents, making $300 a lot more scary to look at than $200, even if you nee to spend another $130 either way on games and a memory card.

That being said there is also a possibility of there being a PlayStation 4 bundle that includes the Vita, however I think this is probably a long shot. The cost would proably be somewhere in the area of $600, which would make everyone crap themselves and cry for seven hours. I’ll buy everyone that comments on this a burger if this turns out to be the case (not really though).

**I hope you’re as awesome as you look.**

The Killer App

Since the launch of the Vita people have been clamoring for the system selling game that the Vita so desperately needs. Uncharted: Golden Abyss wasn’t it, and neither is Dragon’s Crown despite the fact that so many people thought they would be. Sure, the games have gotten decent sales across the board, but the Vita lacks a Halo or a Mario to really drive it home.

I don’t know what Sony has up their sleeve for this, but I think a real system seller is going to be incoming with the launch of the PS4. The short list would be an InFamous or a BioShock, but I think Sony will want it to connect directly with a game that will be within the PS4 launch window. Could it be a Knack tie in, or will they be willing to hold off until InFamous: Second Son comes out and perhaps revisit Cole in an alternate timeline. Who knows? Probably Shuhei Yoshidaactually – I’ll bet he knows.

Keep an eye out on GameSkinny for Gamescom coverage from August 21 to August 23 for the final word on all of these predictions. Hopefully we’ll see something great out of the Vita.

Do you think Sony has the chops to revive the comatose handheld, or will it shift forever to the ranks of the Virtual Boy, the Sega Saturn and the Wii U (sorry guys)? Sound off in the comments down below and I’ll give you my PSN ID so we can play games online and talk about friendship!


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Author
Max Jay
I am an aspiring video game journalist and a professional awesome person. My words make knowledge parents in your brain that give birth to baby-smiles on your face. You can listen to my podcast by going on iTunes and searching Video Game Podcast Show!