When I read about the sudden disappearance of PlayStation Vita’s in many of North America’s largest retailers, I was saddened.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Sony is discontinuing the portable immediately. In fact, the optimist might view this as good news, believing the declining stock is a result of increased consumer interest. We’ve also heard Sony publicly consider the possibility of a PS4/Vita bundle, which certainly doesn’t sound like the company is giving up on their fancy handheld.
Unfortunately, after it was basically ignored during E3, and as I can’t point to even one exclusive piece of Vita software on the horizon that’s worth talking about…well, perhaps the handwriting is indeed on the wall.
And that’s going to piss me off.
Gamers always want hardware that focuses on games, but they didn’t respond with the Vita
The Vita was, first and foremost, designed for core gamers. It was a portable unit that had far more potential than any other handheld, and the possibilities were almost limitless. The launch lineup consisted of no fewer than 21 titles (at the time, the biggest PlayStation launch software list ever), and developers everywhere were praising the device’s power and versatility. We got amazing games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Tearaway, and we all figured Sony’s first-party studios would go hog-wild with that sweet little system.
It was indeed all about the games. But the mobile explosion, and the sudden fascination with crap games – yeah, sorry, that’s what most mobile games are in comparison to the real games seen on the Vita – got in the way. I mean, I’ve started telling people that Angry Birds killed the Vita. That’s not entirely accurate, of course, but you get my point.
People simply didn’t want to carry a smartphone and the Vita with them when they left the house. One was actually a phone, one wasn’t. And that’s where it ended. Nobody really cared that one had many times the gaming capacity, unfortunately.
It’s just a terrible letdown from a core gaming standpoint
What the Vita could’ve been…it’s just infuriating to think that because everyone got obsessed with junk like Flappy Bird, gamers missed out on a bright handheld future. Imagine what talented developers could’ve continued to do with that system. Imagine what sort of unique, amazing portable experiences we could’ve had. Imagine how much more could’ve been done with the PS4/Vita Remote Play feature. I’m speaking in the past tense, as if the Vita is already dead, and perhaps that’s wrong.
Still, as I said, the writing is on the wall. It’s sad because if the Vita disappears, it was perhaps the first piece of video game hardware that died because it was too good. Yeah, you heard me right. It represented a new era of handheld interactive entertainment, far above and beyond whatever it is that we have on mobile devices. But because it was more expensive, because developers didn’t support it (another huge issue), many core gamers held off.
And because that was the only demographic that Vita appealed to, the handheld fell flat. So, what does this mean? Unless we cater to the mainstream consumer with the attention span of a hamster, we can’t sell portable gaming anymore?
Tragically, I think this is true.