Vita Misconceptions

The PlayStation Vita debuted in North America on February 22nd, 2012 with a very impressive line-up of exclusive titles, fun downloads, and an implied assurance that support for the Vita would exceed that of its predecessor.  About a month after launch, I quickly accumulated a backlog of games and although content release has definitely slowed down, it has not stopped.  There are firmware updates in the works that will greatly expand the Vita’s PSN store and we will soon be able to have our favorite PS1 classics available to us on the go.  Despite all of this, it is becoming a popular belief in gamers’ minds that there are “no games for the Vita”.  I have been hearing and seeing these kinds of quotes from both internet and word-of-mouth sources, and they have challenged me to find an explanation of why such misconceptions exist.

When it comes to the PSP, I believe that the criticism it received was both fair and warranted.  About halfway through its life cycle, support seemed to dwindle greatly, not much was being released, and gamers were left with a piece of hardware they sometimes deemed useless.  Sony was being hit very hard by piracy on the PSP front and the negative effects reflected upon the system.  New models of PSP’s were being developed and released to show that support was still alive but Sony’s efforts were being made in vain.  Gamers had given up on the PSP, and a majority of people still using it were stealing content.

At first, I explained away the Vita backlash by understanding the idea that the PSP negativity was still in the air.  Consumers may be expecting a repeat with this new generation of handheld, dooming the Vita from birth, despite the record breaking content on launch day.  PSP’s bad reputation was rearing its ugly head in the form of dismissive statements about the Vita.  Were gamers really that blind?  Could they be so unforgiving as to not even give the Vita a chance?  Maybe, but a friend of mine proposed another theory.

Why aren’t Nintendo’s handhelds viewed in the same negative light that Sony’s are?  I believe that its because Nintendo aims to create experiences that are exclusive to the handheld systems.  When we think about the success of the DS, titles like Pokemon come to mind.  The RPG feel and Pokemon universe coupled with the enjoyable leveling up and intricate gameplay (strategy, breeding, fight technique) create sought after entertainment that gamers can only get on the DS.

If we take a look at the biggest PSP games, God of War:  Chains of Olympus and God of War:  Ghost of Sparta may come to mind.  Although these are great games in their own right, they tend to be prequels or sequels of Sony exclusives that we already know and love, and do not necessarily add or subtract from the IP’s overall story.  Gamers could technically play God of War 1 through 3, as well as Uncharted 1 through 3 and never miss a thing by skipping out on the handheld iterations of these franchises.

I was excited to purchase a Vita because of the rumors I had been hearing about a Mortal Kombat game exclusive to the platform.  I wholeheartedly expected that I would be getting a single player, action-adventure beat-em-up like Sub Zero: Mythologies or Shaolin Monks.  Although it is impressive that the full PS3 game can run on the Vita at a crisp 60 frames per second, I have to say I was ultimately disappointed to learn that it would just be the same game with a few new features that take advantage of the Vita hardware.

The ideas of transfarring and being able to share saves between the Vita and the PS3 are unbelievable technological breakthroughs but may not be all that gamers are looking for.  An immediate disadvantage that I see comes in the form of cost.  If I want to save my game in MLB:  The Show on my PS3 at home and continue playing on my Vita during my commute to work, I would have had to spend $60 for the PS3 version and $40 for the Vita version.  Sure this represents gaming capabilities only available to Sony consumers but it also took $100 to make it possible for only one game.

Perhaps what the Vita needs is some exclusive content that is available nowhere else.   I hesitated when buying Rayman Origins for Vita because I knew I could download it on my PS3 if I chose to do so.  Maybe if we had more never before seen IP’s that created experiences exclusive to the Vita and Vita alone (unavailable on blu-ray, unavailable on PS3’s PSN store, and unavailable on any other platform), Sony’s new handheld may be received with open arms and much more enthusiasm.

Written by Emrah Rakiposki

Emrah Rakiposki

– Food
– Video games
– Rap music
It has been my life’s work to properly order the list of this world’s greatest pleasures. There is no right answer.

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