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PS Vita: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…Don’t Say Anything

/ Dec 28th, 2012 5 Comments

PS Vita
PS Vita

PS Vita

If there has been one piece of tech in the gaming industry that has garnered a great deal of attention in 2012, it would have to be the PS Vita.  In fact, so much has been said about the handheld that it rivals some of the bigger news stories of the year.  Mass Effect 3‘s ending debacle, the influx of Kickstarter funded games, the Wii U, and even the Skyrim DLC nightmare have all taken up ample time across countless gaming websites.  As far as news comes, though, the PlayStation Vita has had quite a lot of words dedicated to it since its release about a year ago.

Unfortunately, most of this news has been negative.  Week after week, news outlets and gaming blogs reported the Vita’s bad sales numbers as they shrunk to new lows.  A gamer who frequented any kind of video game news aggregator would likely find an article written about the “death” of Sony‘s portable every few days.  PS Vita “doom and gloom” articles began to feel like a trend for any website with an opinions section.  To put it bluntly: people were turning the Vita into that weird kid at the back of the school bus no one wanted to associate with.

Hopefully in 2013, the PS Vita’s reputation will improve and the struggling system will have a chance to prove its worth as an excellent portable gaming device.  Though strong sales figures and amazing games are tantamount to success, one thing that could go a long way is the removing the constant negativity surrounding the Vita.  “There aren’t any games out for it,” or “Wait for a price drop” are some of the primary focuses of the articles talking about the system.  While many of these articles do present valid arguments and solid evidence to back up their claims, it is hard to feel as if the damage isn’t already done.  I take into account  my own experience with purchasing a PS Vita.  For Black Friday I took advantage of Amazon’s stellar Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation Vita bundle.  Based off the strength of the system, a list of games I wanted to own for it, and the recent addition of PlayStation Plus adding several games to the Instant Collection, it was an easy purchase especially after waiting so long.  Within hours of buying my Vita I saw several stories crop up about its various failings.  This trend continued over the weekend with a few stories even claiming that Amazon’s Black Friday deal (which was sponsored by Sony) performed well below expectations.  The articles were soon edited because of their inaccuracy but the sentiment was there.  After reading so many negative spins on the Vita my excitement had dwindled and was replaced with pangs of regret.  So many people are saying it’s not a great system; were they right?

The problem with this cloud of negativity hovering over the Vita is that it might turn many buyers away from the system.  Why would anyone want to purchase something that is getting panned across the board?  It felt like the “cool” thing to do was criticize the Vita while discussing its strengths was frowned upon.  New pieces of hardware rarely struggle as much as the Vita has.  The 3DS underperformed for a good period of time but sales soon turned around after a price cut.  Could the Vita use a price cut?  Certainly, because who wouldn’t want something cheaper?  Still, if the games are there then the price shouldn’t be such a brick wall.  Many would claim that the Vita doesn’t have any good games or that its best games are ports of old ones.  The latter may be true in a sense but the Vita’s library over the course of the year is extremely impressive.  It is just as impressive as many other console’s first-year lineups.

Obviously the Vita is in need of a great deal of help.  The pieces are there for greatness but they haven’t come together in the right combinations.  Instead of focusing time on what makes the PS Vita a bad purchase, more time should be spent analyzing why the “portable console” should be considered as something worth gamers’ money.  Just a few moments with mine made me realize how silly my doubt was in the first place.  Gamers don’t need to be scared of the Vita, they just need to see the potential.  If the tiny system can grow as much in 2013 as it did this year, then all that doom and gloom will be out the window and more time can be spent playing fun games.

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Associate Editor & Content Guru at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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  • Brian

    When will the price be at $200 again. i missed black Friday?

  • Facelord

    Nice article. I grew up a Nintendo gamer but the mediocrity of the 3DS disgusted me so much that I had to look for other alternatives to get my handheld gaming fix; I was a little worried, but when I got my Vita at launch I was only left satisfied. It’s easily the best game system I’ve owned so far, I’ve used it every single day since its launch. Any time people say negative, illogical things about the Vita I wanna punch them, they absolutely deserve that for bashing the best handheld gaming device the industry’s ever seen just out of some misplaced sense of pretentious, hipster love of Nintendo’s b.s. hardware and their rehashes of classic games.

    The Vita is wonderful, it has a way better game lineup than the 3DS even after the 3DS had a year head-start and its future looks far brighter than the 3DS… in terms of software, anyways. Nintendo sacrificed quality for more advertising money, meaning they had more sales but a vastly inferior gaming platform. Sony sacrificed advertising funds to make the best thing possible, meaning less initial sales but a far brighter future. I hope it sees the success it deserves, I really can’t get over the fact that people constantly bash it just because that’s the cool thing to do.

  • Kalvin Martinez

    Ben, I enjoyed reading this article very much as someone who purchased a PS Vita on launch day (3G even! despite that being a dumb move in hindsight). The Vita is a beautiful system, designed extremely well with excellent screen size and touch sensitivity. Comparatively game wise, the 3DS and Vita this year have had an equal amount of games worth picking up that are quite good. The 3DS probably had many more games that were totally worth ignoring due to larger volume (but then again the system has had a head start). Both handhelds feature a huge number of ports, so that is an invalid argument except that the Vita ports are generally closer to what gamers can get on the console. The Vita this year has had some amazing games with Gravity Rush, Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation among others, plus, Persona 4 Golden is a masterpiece that many probably didn’t get a chance to play. The Vita and the 3DS in 2013 will likely have a similar ratio of good-to-bad games, but the 3DS will sell more because of a larger library. It is a shame that Sony didn’t figure out a better way to make the PSP library accessible to the new system.

  • JeremyR

    I honestly want to like the Vita, since I own one and love the PSP, but it’s just a disappointing system in so many respects. Vita owners praise games that get mediocre reviews and have zero appeal to me (I dislike artsy stuff like Gravity Rush and Tearaway and all that), while actual, true console ports are very rare. NFS:MW is about it, but it’s hard to play on the Vita because of the lack of decent view options and extremely tiny text.

    But where are the FPSes? It’s only the most popular genre in the West, yet there are none that are worth playing, certainly not worth the money they are charging for either Black Ops or Resistance. Where are games like Xcom and Skyrim? And no, I’m not being unrealistic, early games in that series ran on 386s which are much less powerful than the Vita.

    The Vita is wroth buying if you really, really love Sony’s own games. But if you don’t, it’s just awful. Worst purchase I have made in a long, long time.

  • mike

    i agree, i’m one of those people waiting for the price drop, 249.99 and another 99.99 for a memory stick, 49.99 for playstation plus, 50.00 x2 for PSN cards, 499.97 is a lot of money for me to spend

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