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.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? var adunit_index = 4000; if ((adunit_index != 1000 & adunit_index != 1001) || (adunit_index == 1000 && device_category != 'MOBILE') || (adunit_index == 1001 && device_category == 'MOBILE')) { if (active_ad_units[adunit_index] != undefined) { console.log('Dyn Unit Legacy', active_ad_units[adunit_index], adunit_index); googletag.cmd.push(function () { var adunit_index = 4000; if (typeof(pubwise) != 'undefined' & pubwise.enabled === true) { console.log('Dyn PW'); pwpbjs.que.push(function() { pubwiseLazyLoad([gptadslots[adunit_index]], true); }); } else { console.log('Dyn Direct'); googletag.display('div-sjr-4000'); googletag.pubads().refresh([gptadslots[adunit_index]]); } //googletag.pubads().refresh([gptadslots[4000]]); }); } } **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 AppSince 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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Published Aug. 13th 2013
  • Charlie Owens
    http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/08/20/ps-vita-now-199-99-in-north-america/

    And we have a US price drop! After I pay off my car repairs, I think it's time for an upgrade.
  • Max Jay
    Featured Columnist
    I will be purchasing it tomorrow :).
  • [[Deleted]]
    Contributor
    Personally I'm waiting on a price drop to pick up a vita. Im almost finished Persona 3 Portable on my PSP (I think anyways...) and I wan't to play Persona 4, I might also look at getting the FFX/FFX-2 remaster, its a shame they didn't make it so it works with both systems out of the box.

    I think if Sony wants to make the Vita more Viable in North America, they would have to make it so people can literally take (at least some, if not all) their PS3/PS4 games directly to the vita without having to buy an extra copy of the game. From my experience it seems theirs a very few select games to which you have to essentially buy a copy for both systems but you can flip the save file between to two, either that or you can play on both systems but those just seem to be PS1 ports and frankly I can use my PSP for that (I do so with Parasite Eve all the time), so whats the incentive to go buy a Vita...

    Im just saying.. if I could take say Tales of Xilla, download a copy from the PSN network to my Vita so I could take it with me... I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Vita with Extra chargers, battery extenders, memory cards, ect...
  • Max Jay
    Featured Columnist
    I think Sony would love to do that, and there are a lot of good games where you can, line Guacamelee and I think Dragon's Crown (don't quote me on that though).

    The problem with the bigger games is the processing power of the Vita. The Vita is by far the most powerful handheld on the market (unless you count the Nvidia Shield, which I don't), but it's nowhere close to that of a console. If you tried to play a huge graphically intense game on the Vita it would probably crash - the thing just isn't equipped for it.

    The reason it will be able to beam games via wifi is because it will still be running on the console with a feed to the Vita. I'm not sure exactly how this alleviates the pressure to the Vita's guts but I'm not an engineer, so i don't have to know!

    But yes, they need to really embrace the cross buy/cross save things they've started doing and doing it with every PSN title that was developed for both systems.

    Also I heard Persona 4 is one of the best games of the year. Just throwing that out there.
  • Charlie Owens
    I was thinking about getting a Vita, since it looks like the PSP is officially dead, but now.....
  • Max Jay
    Featured Columnist
    I actually don't have one, but I've been researching getting one for a couple of months. I'll likely get it after Gamescom so I can play with my PS4 and whatnot.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    See that is a good feature, but is it worth spending the insane price on a handheld? I mean there will be 1 or 2 games which are going to be bought by me, along with Uncharted Golden Abyss of course (UC you are awesome!). But say 4 games does not justify the massive cost (it's still massive in the UK). And just this one feature, is not a seller, even if it is a good one. Well that and I have a TV monitor which I have my Xbox 360, PS3 and PC plugged into, so it's not the main household TV. But that's not the point, at night, I could put 10 to 30 mins into a game which is calming from my bed! That would be cool, but again does not justify the price.
  • Max Jay
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah you guys in the UK are always getting shafted by these stupid pricing discrepancies.

    I agree that it's just too much; but if I saw a bundle with something like Killzone: Mercenary (39.99), an 8 gig memory card ($29.99), six months of PS Plus (about $25) and maybe a download for some special Mercenary DLC for $250 (the US price now) that essentially saves me a TON of money. Meanwhile I get the memory card, and a great game.

    There's no way I'd go buy it now, it's just too much. But if I saw something like that more often I'd be happy to shell out the cash for it seeing as it is a really solid system all around - it's just too expensive for a handheld.

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