Posted by Kawika (21 posts) -

It has been nearly a year and half since the Playstation Vita has launched. During its launch window the 3DS wasn’t selling well and everyone wasn’t sure what the system would do. I actually bought the handheld system within a few weeks of its launch. Critics have complained about the lack of software and its price which seems to fall on deaf ears from Sony. Are they planning a price cut? Are new games going to be announced at E3? Is Sony focusing on the PS4 launch and has left the PSV to flounder till they can focus some attention on it or have they written it off entirely?

The hesitation for developers to jump onto this platform is clear by the lack of AAA/AA quality games. People site what happened to Monster Hunter, the game that saved the PSP from oblivion in its home country, is now a 3DS exclusive. Monster Hunter has yet to catch fire outside of that market but still has a strong following across the world.

For the first time we actually have a portable console that doesn’t have to map typical right stick controls to shoulder buttons or the D Pad. This thing should be something we all want to have but many consumers just don’t care. They are happy with their Smart Phones and go to their consoles and PCs when they want a more robust gaming experience.

I am going to offer some of my opinions and while I suppose many can be rebutted I would like to still make these suggestions as it is to all of gamers benefit to have Sony do well.

Pricing:

The Vita needs a price cut and needs it now. Maybe even a bundle with a 16gb card. The cost of a 32gb card is $100 USD. You can shop around online but its still way more expensive than it should be. Japan recently got a price cut and it has helped quite a bit. If its more affordable, people on the fence might jump in. The flat sales are due, in part, to the price. Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS and it helped quite a bit. This is an easy shot in the arm to drive some new sales.

Playstation Mobile:

The Playstation Store also sells games for the Playstation Mobile devices. These are android games that can work with certain smart phones and tablets as well as the Vita. These games can support traditional control schemes. Many devs are already support devices like Moga. These developers should be courted and help them bring more of these games that are already on Android to Playstation Mobile. Maybe Sony should kick this off by getting EA to port their Dead Space and Mass Effect mobile games.

Another issue is the pricing. PSM games should be the same price as the Google Play store. Why would any consumer pay more money for the same game when it is less than a click away? While we are talking mobile pricing, Sony should really reconsider the $5 minimum charge. Apple doesn’t require you to pay $5 when all you want to spend is $.99.

Going Mobile:

Sony has the Xperia brand; perhaps it might be time to consider releasing a Vita phone. Having an Android handset that is a Playstation Vita can address the excuse as to why someone doesn’t want to carry around a Smart phone and a gaming device. There are a number of design possibilities. Have the controls slide out like the PSP Go or adding a controller like the Moga or even something that the phone itself clicks into and becomes a Vita without compromising the look and feel of a Smart phone when not being used as a Vita. (Maybe this isn’t reasonable but it is just a thought.)

New Hardware:

Every year (and sometimes more than once a year) Apple and its competitors release new and better hardware. Usually touting more processing power, more RAM, more storage, better screen etc. Maybe its time we should expect our hand held systems to be upgraded in a similar way. The PSP did get a RAM upgrade when a new version was released and it actually made some of the games look better. Sony can upgrade their hardware every so often and add more ram, better processor and improved screen. This shouldn’t be anything we should be scared of. As long as Sony promises your original Vita will play the software throughout the life of the system. Newer hardware can have better features as it gets better processing power. Perhaps the new vita could play certain PS2 games. This is just an example and I don’t have any real hopes that PS2 software would actually be compatible with the handheld.

iOS Factor:

I have noticed for some time a lot of parents are letting their children play on their mobile phones. I have even seen some parents buy multiple ipod touches for their kids. What is nice about this is that the parent can buy multiple touches/iphones and bind them to one account so when they buy a new game it is possible to play them on all the touches. Parents like having hardware with a cheap software library. Currently Sony only lets you bind your PSN account to 2 devices. If consumers can do the same thing with the Vita that they can do with these iOS devices it might get more hardware (and software sold).

Games:

Its no secret, many people view the Vita to not have enough games. A few factors are going on. The PSP was hacked to hell with custom firmware and pirates ruined the profits for many of these companies. They are risk averse and don’t want this to become the next hacked device. My suggestions on updating the hardware could help combat the ability for hackers to take over this system. As long as Sony keeps up with the firmware updates and hardware fixes they might be able to hold the widespread hacking from being a deal breaker for most devs and publishers.

Sony needs to think more like Nintendo in this respect now. Since 3rd parties aren’t jumping on due to fear of piracy and slow Vita adoption. Sony’s 1st party should be very busy bringing titles to the platform. Another suggestion is help fund cross play projects. Publishers can release the game on PS3 and Vita. Lastly, they need a killer app. It is unfortunate that last year’s Call of Duty game was a quick and dirty piece of software. If gamers could get a real COD experience on the go it would help them a lot more than some of my other suggestions. Microsoft often pays to get exclusives on their XBOX. Maybe Sony should help fund some projects for the Vita.

Sony is about to release its PS4 and their focus is on that. Perhaps they have plans to help drive Vita sales with the new home console. The Vita has a really good indie scene and if you are into those types of games you might really get a lot of use out of the Vita. Whatever the case is, the Vita is a great piece of hardware and it would be a shame if the best portable device (from a hardware and design perspective) we have seen just flounders because of some of its shortcomings.

#1 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2304 posts) -

The price of the system and memory cards are mainly what's stopping me from getting one. I would say lack of games is as well, but I'm the type of person who is stupid enough to buy a handheld for just one game (Persona 4, a game I've already finished)

#2 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

Has the Vita really been marketed much? I mean I see TV commercials for 3DS a fair bit. I can't recall any Vita ones.

This is just my personal opinion, and I don't know if anyone else shares it, but to me the PSP was just a shitty ass portable PS2, whereas the DS was an entity of its own. True or not, that opinion has carried over to the Vita and 3DS for me.

#3 Posted by RE_Player1 (7560 posts) -

They should have had bundled the damn thing with 1 or 2 GB of storage I love my Vita, my most used gaming device of 2012 and so far of 2013, but the core model not having any memory is stupid and consumers understand that $250 isn't the real price for the system.

#4 Posted by Kawika (21 posts) -

The marketing has been next to nothing. I think with game systems you have to get the core excited and reach our to a wider audience from there. I think its definitely time to start that move. But what is the reason for the marketing campaign? Whats the new feature, product, price break, game etc to excite potential buyers?

#5 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

$100 USD for a 32GB memory card? That's more than I paid for one here in Norway, and we have the salaries to compensate for that price too, which actually makes it cheaper than what you pay. They definitely need to lower the price on that in N.America.

As for the hardware, it's pretty damn good. PS2 games should be able to run on that system. We don't need annual revisions.

People who say the PSP had shitty games never gave it a chance. There's at least 50 good PSP games.

The Vita certainly has gotten better games than it had a year ago. Remember that the 3DS also was in big trouble during it's first year. They'll probably both do well in the long run.

#6 Edited by Kawika (21 posts) -

@ahaisthisourchance: Yeah, the PSP has a ton of good games. I wasn't that into the PSP before but I have bought a dozen PSP games since I got the Vita.

#7 Edited by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

@Kawika

It's(PSN Vita compatible) missing a few gems like this one:

One of my favorite PSP games

#8 Edited by Kawika (21 posts) -
#9 Edited by oldenglishC (957 posts) -
#10 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

@oldenglishc Too bad it's not on European PSN at all. It was never released here.(had to import it on my PSP)

#11 Posted by jgf (392 posts) -

I would have bought more then 3 additional games by now, if my memory card was bigger. Ps vita needs large memory cards and cheap ones. And it needs it badly.

#12 Edited by Cameron (600 posts) -

I already own one, but I think the memory card prices are enough to scare away a lot of people. They are just insulting. I can buy a 32GB class 10 micro SD card for $20-25 and Vita cards cost $100. I love buying things digitally, in fact, of my 15 or so Vita games only one is on a cart, but the memory cards make it hard to buy digitally. Some games are 3GB+ and that makes anything less than a 16GB card almost useless. This is hardly the Vita's biggest problem, but it is the kind of thing that gets under the skin of people who know about technology.

#13 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5513 posts) -

The number one reason I've not bought a Vita yet is because there aren't platform exclusive enough games I want to play on it. There's a fair amount of ports on the Vita, but I've either played or bought them all on other systems.

#14 Posted by Butano (1738 posts) -

Ever since the PS4 announcement, I've been wanting to pick one up, but I want to see how well the streaming from the PS4 to the Vita works before getting it. Unless I get it for ridiculously cheap.

#15 Edited by NoobSauceG7 (1247 posts) -

What is stopping me from getting a vita is that the only game I want to play is a PS2 remake that I have already played (Persona 4), and that the price of everything with it is too high, the system, the memory card. Not appealing.

#16 Posted by Nezza (359 posts) -

I love my Vita. I took it on my trip around the world and it kept me sane on some flights.

I honestly don't think that there is all that much wrong with it; but thats not to say there are a couple of things I wouldn't change.

1. Battery recharging: Sony should remember this things portable. It was a nightmare realising that it would only charge using an official charger. No real biggy but it meant that I wasn't able to use my big rechargeable battery - which had more then the required power output, or through my laptops USB port, so I was limited to the internal battery life.

2. Handhelds are portable: Whilst its brilliant that it is not region locked, Sony does have some weirdness with PSN. I bought Little Big Planet in Hong Kong, yet the online doesn't work as I'm linked to the UK store. Sony then told me that I'd need to buy a new UK network pass, which I did but guess what - yep that wouldn't install as the game wasn't from the UK. My point here being that this is a handheld console and the thing about handhelds is they are portable. It isn't beyond the realm of fantasy that someone is going to travel to a different place and buy a game for their console. Also seriously, who had a region unlocked console and then puts region encoding on the online functions?

3. Memory Card Price: I won't buy digitally if the game is available on cartridge for two reasons - 1. Amazon etc sell the game cheaper then the online store (another rant entirely). 2. The games are huge, the memory cards are small and so, so expensive. OK, its hardware now so that isn't going to change. But they can do something about the price of the cards themselves.

4. More 'mainstream' releases, more regularly: So obvious it hurts, but thats Sony's problem to sort out with their studios/3rd parties.

5. Promote the amazing indie library you have, and stop promoting the dross: Seriously, the Vita has a bunch of cheaper indie titles, but most people won't realise. The promotion is terrible in terms of what they chose to promote. PS4:G came without any fanfare at all here, yet the only advert I ever recall seeing for the Vita was for the awful Call of Duty game.

6. Make sure the developers give the Vita the same level of respect they give other consoles with their releases: Call of Duty, Resistance, Assassin's Creed Liberation - all big name titles that seemed to be slapped together. Compare to the version of Little Big Planet to see that it wasn't the system that was the problem here.