The PS Vita has been available worldwide for just over two months now and all the pre-launch hype that surrounded it has died down considerably by this point. Although the Vita had an amazing launch line-up comprising over twenty titles, there hasn’t been much new software to speak of during the last couple of months and one can sense that the Vita user base is growing more impatient with each passing week.
Other than a paucity of new software, other issues that are keeping people from buying a Vita are its high price and lack of features. You still can’t watch internet videos on Vita, nor can you play PSone Classics or stream most PlayStation 3 titles to the system via Remote Play (a feature that Sony demonstrated at Tokyo Game Show 2011).
The internet browser is nowhere near as capable as you would expect on a powerful device like Vita and tiling is a frequent issue even on the most basic of websites. Everything related to Vita also comes at a premium price at the moment – the system itself, memory cards and software. There are currently no PlayStation Plus discounts being offered on Vita games on the PS Store nor are there any price promotions being run. It seems like we’ll have to wait a few more months before Sony offers the same kind of excellent deals on downloadable PS Vita content as it does on PS3 related games and add-ons on the PlayStation Store.
Sales of PS Vita aren’t as healthy as Sony would have hoped for. In Japan the Vita has sold just 667 877 units since it launched there in December last year, with first week sales accounting for almost half this figure. From what I’ve read, Vita sales are not much better in Europe and the system lags behind the 3DS in most territories, including North America. This trend looks set to continue unless Sony drops the price of Vita to less than $200 and brings out the big guns at E3 in June.
PS Vita needs an exciting new Monster Hunter game if it’s going to succeed in Japan, and the system would also benefit greatly from franchises like God of War and Gran Turismo appearing on Vita in the near future. Sony also needs to ensure that as many PlayStation Network titles as possible are playable on Vita as this gives owners of both PlayStation devices the welcome choice of being able to purchase PSN releases for either platform.
Sony should also assign a dedicated, full-time team of technical staff to constantly improving the Vita’s firmware. Apparently Sony already has a team working on PSone Classics support so once that is complete they should look at improving the internet browser, integrating PS2 Classics emulation and make all PS3 titles playable on Vita at full resolution via Remote Play. Sony should also try to provide Vita users with more apps – a YouTube app seems the most common request at the moment.
I’d also like to see PlayStation Plus members being offered Vita related freebies and discounts, and price specials being offered on downloadable PS Vita games after they have been on the PS Store for a few months. Sony would also be wise to introduce a digital rental scheme for PS Vita software – imagine being able to pay $10 to rent a $40 Vita title for a week from the Store? I know I would be willing to pay for more games if such a scheme was in place.
One of the most exciting developments PS Vita owners can look forward to is the introduction of PlayStation Suite later this year. This will allow Vita users to purchase a multitude of apps and games for the system in a similar way to how the App Store on iOS devices operates. If you’re interested in developing software for PS Vita or other PlayStation certified devices, be sure to head over here to learn more about the PS Suite Developer Program open beta that is currently underway.
In terms of my personal picks for new PS Vita owners, I believe the best games on the system are currently Rayman Origins, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipEout 2048 and MotorStorm RC. Some of the Vita’s upcoming titles I’m most excited about include Mortal Kombat and Gravity Rush.
I’ve sifted through the El33tonline archives and come up with an essential round-up of PS Vita coverage for your reading pleasure. From the system’s South African launch event in February to last week’s El33t Tip about turning your Vita into a portable movie player, we’ve got you covered!
PS Vita Launch:
- Unit 13