The PlayStation Vita. Like the tall tattooed-sporting pacifist in the crowd at a concert, the Vita stands posing a great threat to those with concern who look on, but apparently has no intention to cause any sort of disruption for the time being. I mean, a guy this tough looking has GOT to be capable of SOMETHING, right? The PS Vita appears to have the power to pose a threat to the comfy handheld market established by Nintendo, however with a lack of interesting titles on the horizon, it’s hard for even the most dedicated gamer to justify the price of admission to give the system a chance in the fight. So what’s it gonna take for the Vita to rise from the flames of an untimely death?
The obvious answer is games. Looking at the line up available on store shelves today, I have a hard time picking more than three titles that entice me, and ALL THREE are games I already own/have played on other consoles (Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. For the record, Gravity Rush looks interesting). While these are good games that I would love to have portable versions of, a mere three ports is not a good score for a system that’s been out since February, and the even more troubling news is that there’s not much else on the horizon.
Above: What game you got in there, Kaz?
So, if new games aren’t my thing, at least I could play my back catalog of PSP games on the system’s crisp new screen until something good comes along, right? Not exactly. Without a UMD slot (or any way to transfer my UMDs to a digital format), I’m going to have to PAY to re-download any titles from my PSP collection that I want to play on my Vita. That sucks, but I guess all I really wanted to play from those dusty classics is MGS: Peace Walker, so I guess I’ll pay to download the digital version of it if I really have to. Not possible, you say? It seems that Peace Walker’s on a short list of games that are not available on the Vita’s online store (for some reason). The decision NOT to buy gets easier and easier. . .
The trouble here is that I like handheld systems and would LOVE a good excuse to plunge into Vita’s high-tech waters. While I’ve always bought and enjoyed the latest Game Boy or DS, it was because no matter how barren the launch lineup looked, I knew Nintendo was going to eventually back it up with something that would make my adventure/platforming lovin’ heart deem it a “must have” system. My confidence in Sony is not quite the same. Relying heavily on third-party developers to fill their release schedules with quality software may have worked in the PSone days, but today’s market is one where system exclusives are rare, and convincing developers to pledge projects for a handheld that Sony themselves barely seems able to support doesn’t sound like a safe investment at all. Without any must have NEW software, the ability to play the old stuff would be a great way to show they’re invested in the system, and this is something Sony needs to fix NOW.
Showcasing the Vita’s ability as a multitasking device that plays generations of PlayStation software along with seamless cross-platform connectivity like the kind demonstrated in the PS3 and Vita releases of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal are the selling points Sony needs to be able to make to get fans on board with the multi-platform PlayStation experience. Speaking as someone who paid over $400 for a Japanese launch day PSP only to end up buying five games in the system’s ENTIRE lifespan, you can’t blame me for exercising a bit of caution as I consider entering Sony’s handheld territory for a second time. Not sure what’s in store for the Vita, but if a price drop is part of it, you might just have me on board sooner than later.