God Save the Vita

Posted: December 15, 2013 in Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As I lie in bed playing Soul Sacrifice (which I received free from PlayStation Plus), I am reminded of how much I love my PS Vita. I hit the PS button to suspend my game and check my email simply because I can. During my travels, I’ve enjoyed music and videos when space was too cramped for comfortable gaming. Times when I’m ready to go out before wifey, I’ll enjoy a YouTube video or two. Long story short, my PS Vita is definitely top 5 purchases/gifts I have received in my life; however, there is a dark side. If history tells us anything, the Vita may end up like the PSP, PSP Go, or even the very doomed Sony Ericsson Xperia: an excellent idea with less than excellent execution.

The traditional flaw in Sony’s game plan is usually marketing. Not just commercials during highly watched shows, but more along the lines of informing both gamers and non-gamers what exactly their products can do. Personally, I have a fairly firm grasp of the capabilities of my consoles and handhelds from writing for gaming websites and doing the research. Your average consumer, however, needs to know what they’re getting into before they invest triple digits on something. Most people not “in the know” believe they are just paying $200 for Sony’s version of the DS. Whether right or wrong, unless most consumers are fed information, they won’t have it.

It is nice to see a new found focus from Sony in backing the Vita. With the coming of the next gen and the PS4, the Vita has been revitalized by it’s coupling with the new console. Remote Play, a feature introduced on the PSP, has found new life with the Vita and PS4. A majority of PS4 titles can completely be played through the Vita with relatively smooth streaming, where as the PSP/PS3 functionality merely gave users limited access to PS3 features. There’s something about sitting around family and  being able to enjoy all the greatness that is Injustice: Gods Among Us in the palm of your hands, while they watch the big TV (probably something you couldn’t care less about). Enhanced, second-screen features also bring new life and functionality to the handheld. Having the Vita act as a map or HUD (Heads Up Display) can keep clutter off the main screen, create a more cinematic and realistic look, and add a whole new dimension to gaming.

All of this, of course, without talking about the games. Unit 13, Gravity Rush, Soul Sacrifice, and Shinobido 2: The Revenge of Zen are excellent system exclusives that provide experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Killzone: Mercenary, Assassin’s Creed III Liberation, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 provide long standing console franchises with Vita twists. Dead or Alive 5, Jak and Daxter Collection, Rayman Legends, and Metal Gear Solid HD are just some of the ports that give you the console experience on the go. Of course, who knows these games exist other than gamers and/or Vita owners? I can’t remember a time when I was in Wal-Mart, Target, or Gamestop and saw someone actually looking in the Vita section. I take that back. There was that one woman who thought she was looking at PS4 games and realized she was in the wrong section. At the end of the day, the Vita is a handheld GAMING system and I don’t think there’s enough said about what is available there.

Amidst all this general rambling, my point is, the Vita is pretty damn awesome. I know this because I own one and because I do research. You may not know it, but I don’t blame you. Sony is to blame here. They are taking steps to rectify past negligence, but they can only be truly forgiven if the Vita makes it to a more prominent place in the gaming landscape. Good luck, Vita. May you live longer than all the fallen Sony handhelds before you.

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