Sony’s PS Vita has no doubt been a commercial failure until this point. It has not done as well as Sony would have hoped, and is losing miserably to both the 3DS and (its perhaps unexpected competitor) the iPad. We hear a lot of press that the Vita is doomed to fail, but I’m here to offer a solution. We are all aware that the Vita needs more software, such a complaint is a given and I’ll be looking a bit deeper than that. We’ve seen brief glimpses of what the Vita is capable of, but sadly no game has played fully to the system’s strength.
Firstly we need to end this cross-play idea. Frankly it should be a given that if possible Sony software should be compatible with all Sony devices. This isn’t a selling point – it should be expected. As one of the few Vita owners I find it insulting that all the experiences that come out for my Vita are on my PS3 and are usually better on my PS3.
It’s pathetic and insulting that this is seen as a plus for the Vita, it seems more like an easy way out for Sony to make software. This takes us into a larger problem however, because experiences for the Vita and PS3 are fundamentally different. With the latest Need for Speed entry we saw we can’t treat the Vita like a small home console, and it is a product that needs experiences designed around it, within its limitations and strengths.
Secondly, we need top developers making games for the Vita. We only have Sony’s B studios working on all Vita titles, and 3rd party developers follow in their example. Call of Duty, which potentially could have been a system seller was pawned off to Nihilistic Software. If you want more Vita sales, get Guerilla (Killzone series) or Naughty Dog to develop your next potential system seller.
Super Mario Land 3D, one of the highest rated games on the 3DS, came from one of Nintendo’s top studios. In fact, this may be the Vita’s largest problem – the developers simply aren’t experienced enough. Not only this, Sony must invest far more effort into drawing developers into the Vita not by offering cash or rewards; But by just marketing the thing.
The PSP suffered from a similar problem, and while millions of units were sold you could not possibly have gleaned that from the way Sony treated the system. It became second rate, along with its 50 million purchasers. With a good marketing push and perhaps a lower price on those memory cards, Sony can carve an audience for its system – and the developers will come.
I love my Vita, and there are so many good things to say about the device. I hope 2013 turns the system around, or I feel that the Vita will go down like the Dreamcast, something that was simply doomed from the beginning – not by the competition, but by its owners. I hope it does not come to that, but the software lineup for 2013 does not look promising, and Sony had better start doing something about that.