Oh Vita, I want you to do well. You’re a fun little system, with some really interesting games and the potential for a load more, but it seems that Sony doesn’t want to do much with you. Sony’s E3 press conference was incredibly sparse for Vita announcements or news, besides a little bit on Vita TV and Playstation Now. It was basically relegated to a controller for the PS4, with not a single Vita game shown during the conference. From photos seen on the show floor, the Vita booth seemed pretty empty, and with not many new games announced besides yet another version of Minecraft and a host of indie games which are available on loads of other systems, it’s not that surprising. While Sony will tout that there are hundreds of games you can play on the Vita, most of these are just titles from the Playstation back catalogue, and the real lack of any brand new, made-for-Vita games is astonishing.
While it is nice to have indie games like Don’t Starve and Rogue Legacy for the Vita, and the promise of more coming, the lack of any real system sellers worries me. Sony even said, point blank, that they are not bringing out triple A titles for the Vita and that you’ll have to make do with PS4 Remote Play or PS Now (thanks for discussing a European release window Sony), which does not bode well for the long term success of the system. This looks like Sony is doing serious damage control before letting the Vita sink slowly towards its death, rendering it a system solely for niche Japanese RPGs and rereleases of indies that you can get for cheaper on Steam.
If this is what your booth is like at E3, you know you’re doing something wrong.
Let’s compare it to the 3DS. Nintendo’s handheld had the same problem of sparse support in the early stages of its life cycle, before becoming their biggest seller, thanks to some key games like Mario Kart 7 and Pokémon X/Y. With the withdrawal of Sony’s desire to bring triple A titles to the Vita, it seems like the system will lack the titles needed to really bring it back from the brink. The reveal that Final Fantasy Type-0 was not coming to the system acted as the final nail for some Vita owners, claiming that the system is now dead and that only hardcore JRPG fans will now use it, let alone buy the new Slim version.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like my Vita and want to see it do well. Games like Tearaway and Gravity Rush showed the Vita’s true potential, while its superior power and greater control options, when compared to the 3DS, gives it the leg up for providing the best portable gaming experience. That said, it needs some serious help before it ends up on life support. Maybe I’m being a bit doom and gloom, and maybe Gamescom and TGS will give us some great Vita exclusives to give it the boost it needs to get in back in the portable console race. If not, the Playstation Vita is looking more like the Playstation Mors (that means death for those wondering).