GamesRadar reflects on the successes and failures of Sony's ill-fated handheld game console, released over half a decade ago, and what PS5 can learn from it all
PS5 doesn't need to learn anything from PS Vita. Just look at PS4 as proof that Sony has home console gaming covered. Vita came out at a time of the rise of faster and bigger smart phones and tablets that we're capable of playing games. And most were free with ads or cheap to buy. Even if they would have spent millions making console level Vita games, the portable gaming market would still have taken a hit. And on the other end, Nintendo still owning the portable gaming market. There were and are no other competitors in that space except for Sony. No Sega portable. No NEC portable. No SNK portable. Nothing. Times change. When I was selling electronics, smart phones ended up killing GPS sales, camera sales, portable TV sales, mp3 player sales, calculator sales, Kindle reader sales, etc. All those items ended up on clearance because no one wanted to buy them after smart phones got bigger and better. But I sold tons of phones. Change happens. America moved on to phones Especially Iphone and Android phones like Galaxy. PS5 doesn't have to worry about games, doesn't have to worry about online gaming, doesn't have to worry about phones catching up to its power and will have VR covered because portables wiill buckle trying to offer the same experiences as a home unit. And it will be years before they would have to worry about streaming. There's nothing to learn. Sony has already learned what works and what will work for the home market. And has the right people in place to be ready for next Gen.
Couldn't have said it better.
Sony should make another “PS3”. Something just as powerful as the current high end computers and release for $800.
Rah rah rah! They learned the same thing MS should be learning, and it's a lesson that they should never forget: software sells hardware. The Switch and 3ds aren't succeeding in the face of scary smartphones and tablets because of brand alone. Hell, Wii U wouldn't have bombed if Nintendo's name was that strong. I was one of those 200k day one purchasers of PSV. It was a no brainer at the time. The 3ds was weaker, gimmicky, and in a precarious situtation around that same time. People talked about smartphone domination then too. But what happened? What did Nintendo do? Blame the rise of tablets and smartphones and relegate new software to indies and 3rd party japanese ports? No. Nintendo cut the price and dumped resources into 1st party games, 3rd party agreements, and in providing a heavily supported dedicated gaming platform. Blame the market if you want, but PSV lacked committed support from Sony. That's a lesson I don't doubt they've learned from, and it's one that I hope they never forget. PSV will forever be one of my favorite platforms, and it's a shame that it was treated like it was. I'll be buying a PS5, but you do us no favors by trying to absolve Sony of all responsibility for the Vita's failures.
PSV is underrated as a portable RPG monster. Absolute blast and the screen still looks good today, with its OLED(I know later slim models axed it ).great system weak in western 3rd party support . Still it got a tooooon of games considering it's sales . Notre than Dreamcast for instance and people including myself talk about DC like some kind of second coming .
I'm right there with you. I will forever be cursed by loving some notoriously under performing systems like Vita, DC, Saturn, OG Xbox, etc. Vita is great for JRPGs, but also equally great with action platformers and puzzle games. Really, if you enjoy Japanese games generally, it is a must own platform.
It didn't lack support from Sony at first. People wouldn't accept any game that Sony did put on it as support. There were quite a few great 1st and 2nd party games for the system in the first couple years, but it was always, "It has no games". I think Sony did give up trying too soon, and that was likely more due to the fact that they were having great success with the PS4, so they just refocused on that, leaving the Vita to die. There were many mistakes that Sony made with the Vita, and most of them were actually in trying to prevent piracy, which made the system more expensive, and needlessly complicated for something that should just be simple....like the 3DS was. Things they did right was marketing and game support(in the first couple years). Price was OK, except for those damn memory cards, and no internal storage, and when they finally did have internal storage, it was paltry. While I love the OLED screen, they should have opted for LED, and added internal storage. Should have worked harder for more variety in 3rd party support, because from western devs, we didn't see a lot of big name titles. I'm still sad that a Bioshock game was never made for it.
Nintendo was struggling at the beginning until they dropped the price. That's why it started selling. But 3DS(73 million) didn't sell as much as Gameboy advance(82 million) which didn't sell as much as Gameboy.(119 million) And what has happened since then, Nintendo made a hybrid to cover not having a powerful home console and covering the weakened sales of portables. Right after failing with Wii U. But that doesn't change the fact that every generation, Nintendo owned the market. But Nintendo is going to find out soon enough that the portable market will get smaller and smaller no matter what they do as it already has.
Let's not forget the gaming media in the early days. They crapped on everything Vita for ridiculous reasons like the games weren't revolutionary. I had a blast with stuff like Unit 13 but I remember it getting crapped on.
Sony just didn't support it enough. they gave up on it too early IMO. the PSP was amazing with console level games many times than not, looking better than PS2 games. had tons of fun with the PSP and its games and I was kinda baffled as why would anyone choose the DS over the PSP. the prospect of having more power and more intuitive gameplay options thanks to the innovations on the Vita was mouthwatering to me. bought mine day 1 and still have it today. the first time playing Uncharted, KZM, Unit13, Gravity Rush, Rayman Origins, LBP, One Piece, Tearaway etc...and cross-buy PS3 games like R&C, PSABR, Sly4...it was truly a revelation! and the native BC with PSP games was also a huge bonus. DS and 3Ds will never have anything like those games! NOT EVEN CLOSE! Uncharted GA and Everybody's Gold Invitational were still one of the most innovative handheld games to date IMO. people might call them gimmicky gameplay but they work to the full capability of the Vita and no other games quite like them, not even now. but the narrative from the haters was..."3DS was better because its games are catered for a handheld. Vita only plays watered-down console games. those games should of better made for the more powerful PS3 or PS4 bla bla bla.." but several years later, "Switch is the best because it plays console quality games on-the-go" and I said to that, SCREW YOU HYPOCRITES! but Vita was out during a difficult time for Sony. it was due to PS3 unfortunately. while the integration with the PS3 was one of its main selling points, the PS3 was overshadowed by the 360 and Wii in the states and console gaming was fading fast in Japan while handheld was never that big to begin with in EU. so Sony decided to back the PS4 with all its might to bounce back from their low-point, the PS3 and unfortunately, the Vita fall victim to this. there are simply not enough games pushing it and Sony is not doing it any favor by not making any more games for it too. even multiplat games on it feel underwhelming. people nowadays praising the Switch as the perfect Indie machine like WTF? Vita has been doing that several years before the Swicth was even a thing. hopefully the Vita is not Sony's last attempt at handheld. I hope they will revisit the market later on and do better than what they did with the Vita.
wait what? Sony definitely needs to learn from their mistakes with the vita. I loved the handheld , but that was because of the third party support. Sony should have supported it with more first party content. They should have added headcount to their studios if the needed more resources to make higher budget games. The vita was a good device, that by all accounts, should have been great.
If they were making another mobile device I'd agree with you but they're saying there's a correlation between the vita and the ps5. Wouldn't it make sense to compare apples to apples. . The ps4 or even the ps3 which would be stretching it.
Very well said!
The Vita & 3DS came out within a year of each other, the 3DS did not start off great either and didn't really take off until its price drop followed by the OoT Remaster, Mario Kart ect which came out a little less than a year later. Sony was stubborn with prices (memory cards specifically), didn't support it that well past its first year and didn't advertise it properly, phones and tablets were not the reason it failed.
What about that excuse of a mid-gen refresh console, the PS4 Pro? "We want to keep players away from PC." My ass. It barely does 1440p and any 4K presentation suffers from blurry distant scenery and textures. That thing was Sony's attempt to cash in on the graphics rush; they will always revert back to their 2005 self whenever they're ahead. "Checkerboard rendering mitigates the need for native resolutions." I can't believe the people on this site actually defended a dithered sub-output over a native one: it's like defending a Chinese knock-off PS4, but so long as it has my favourite 3rd person wall crawlers, God of War, Uncharted and Horizon: Zero Dawn, right?
Well i mean the issue with the Vita was mainly the proprietary storage format, second was the real lack of that magic formula game on the go type of game. Everyone really seemed to be trying to fill the Monster Hunter Void but never quite hit the mark (which would have helped a bit but not enough to save it) when instead they should have focused on adventure games, cause honestly the most fun i've had on a portable system is Zelda, Pokemon, Y's(MY GAWD Y's!), Gravity rush,Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, etc. Games that i can sink countless hours into exploring but also have the ability to play in bite sized sessions. instead we kept getting games like they were made for a console, games that you have to reach checkpoints that take quite a while to get to, or missions that don't save till you beat a mission (Killzone mercenary was so frustrating cause i'd HAVE to spend like 30mins to beat the mission or else my progress isn't saved and i have to start the whole mission over again next time) we should've had open world(-ish) JRPG extravaganza on the vita, instead we got basic adventure games galore till the indie and JRPG devs latched on too late, even then most JRPGs were visual novel hybrids. and third was the fact that it really wasn't THAT portable None of these are issue that CAN even affect consoles, as they are inherent to the handheld platform only
Another main issue I have is the lack of video audio output to tv. Huge huge disappointnent unlike PSP
My biggest disappointment is we still never figured out what the mystery port was for on the top of the launch version. All people know is it has no connection to video or power, so like WTF was it for?!
Launch psp didn't have that either
@isarai Some in the dev community speculated it was to use as a dev console for their then in beta PSMobile SDK. The port is used on the Vita dev kits for that purpose. It can also be used as an accessory slot for add ons, which was still kind of popular on mobiles in Japan, although most add ons were already part of the system, namely a camera. There are quite a few consoles through history which had such ports that never got used. More recently though, USB has taken over for that purpose.
@isarai: I’ve long speculated that the mystery port was going to be used for accessories but when the Vita failed to take off accessories were axed. I’d imagine it was originally intended for such uses as an external UMD reader or proprietary video and audio out(the memory cards were already proprietary).
I remember Killzone having a checkpoint system they were just poorly paced checkpoints I was playing it about a month ago actually and found it very frustrating the distance between checkpoints did not match the difficulty of the game especially on those tiny sticks. Also that mystery port was confirmed to be a video output port that a device confirmed was abandoned because of the pstv
When was that confirmed?
As a Killzone fan since day one, I can assure you pretty much every game in the series suffered from poorly-placed checkpoints, haha. The mystery port was indeed for video out, devkit versions and members of the press used it for video capture from what I recall for press media recordings and things like that. I guess they would've released a cable for average consumers at some point like they did with the original PSP but they abandoned that in favor of the PSTV.
It could be used as that on dev systems, but I don't think it was abandoned because of PSTV. I think Sony just gave up trying to make it a thing, because they abandoned PSTV pretty quick, and within 6 months, you could get it just for the DS3 cheaper than a brand new DS3. The port itself was thought to be there to enable dev system access through PSMobile once it went live, as that was its purpose with the dev kit SDK's. It acted as a communications port, although PSMObile actually used the USB connector.
No the main issue was the name. Honestly.
is it really a failure?
For a Playstation device, yes, big time.
Outside of Japan, yes.
@CrimsonWing69 Compared to their previous handheld the Sony psp which sold over 80 million and compared to the Nintendo 3ds (which is around 75 million sold) yes the PS Vita was a failure. It sold 15-16 million. As far as games Sony themselves stopped supporting it too early in my opinion after it failed to live up to their expectations. They decided to throw all of their backing behind the PS4. Gravity Rush was a series started on the PS Vita and Sony moved it's sequel to the PS4 only. That should give you a good idea of how they treated the PS Vita.
No ,not in my opinion. I bought the vita for my son as an xmas gift a few years back and he still uses it and he loves it . So say what you want but I got way more then my money's worth out of it.
Im sure there were many like myself that got thousands of hours out of the Wii U. The system was still a failure. You can personally get everything you want from a product and it still be a commercial failure.
I played it more than the PS4 for a while. I still have a back log on it. I'd probably play it more, but Switch is actually taking up more of my mobile time now. Love the system, and I definately got my moneys' worth. I find many people who own or owned one really did love the system, and used it a lot. There are some who don't like the kinds of games that primarily come out on the system, but for the most part, seems to be more of a cult classic type system than a bad system.
Uhhhhh yeah dude. It did have a really good uncharted game though
It's a great system, and commercially, I'd say it probably made them money because it had a pretty high attach rate, but generally speaking, in how we view these things, yes it was a failure. It made them money, but Sony obviously didn't feel it was enough, because they abandoned it in the west prematurely, and while Japan went strong for a while, and got plenty of support, Sony itself didn't bother making much software for it once the PS4 took off.
Yes, the memory card will be cheaper now.
Don't count of it. If they go out of production, which they have, they'll likely go up as supply dwindles. You might be able to find some on clearance through retailers, but they're still kind of costly, and sometimes it's just cheaper to buy a used Vita with a card included than a brand new card.
Failure? If you don't go pick a bridge and leap
Good, now they can focus on the home consoles and psvr. No need to spread thin in a market they jist dont have the proper games for.
PSP was great whereas PS Vita was dead for a long time.
Next month? Feels like it ended shortly after release.
Not quite. It took a few years but once Sony ended 1st party studio support it was pretty much on life support. It had a decent life in Japan and got some JRPG's and Indies but eventually the PS4 and Xbox One came along and began competing for the Indie market and the Switch basically stole what little was left of the Vitas target demographic in Japan. It's a shame because it was a good system for it's time that was marred by some questionable hardware choices that made the system unattractive.
Honestly? Sony already learned. Look at how they launched the PS4. Complete opposite of the Vita launch. Sony clearly understands what they did wrong. They'll be fine.
Hopefully the prices for the games and memory cards will drop. They are still RIDICULOUSLY high for a dead system.
Quite opposite, it will gain in price couse of rarity.
That's crazy. Sounds like the Vita TV.
Many games tend to keep their value on the system due to limited production runs, and memory cards will go up in price for the same reason. Supply dictates such things, and as they become harder to find, they'll certainly increase in price, because the collectors market is all sorts of whacked up, and will likely horde them more than sell them.
The vita had great games and a robust library that covered multiple genres. I actually thought it had a better and more diverse catalog than the 3ds. Alot of vita games are ported or are also switch games. Why it failed? It came out ahead of it's time and had some poor implementations of certain things. Certainly one of the best handheld devices in history. Period.
Absolutely amazing screen. Name confused people big time. Psp2 would have sold millions more units .
Vita is a handheld gaming console,I suppose the PS5 will be a home gaming console 2 different platforms.
After underestimating it for years, i bought one a few months ago. And i feel ashamed. This device is much better than my 3DS. The screen, the build quality, the grip. It's a shame that Vita didn't have supports like 3DS. Even i kinda hate my 3DS after buying Vita. How could this "mediocre" hardware got more supports than Vita???. Dragon Quest VIII should have been on Vita, Ridge Racer on Vita should have been better than the 3DS version, and many more....
"Support your platform"?
I was an early adopter of PS Vita didn't regret my purchase. I did regret the lack of attention by Sony to deliver a steady stream of first party content. However, to this date I wish Sony would have invested in Vita the way they did PSP.
Storage, no rumble, back triggers and lack of support from Sony. Could have been a great system.
It had support from Sony for a good while it lost 3rd party support due to sales. Major issue was the name which confused people . Like the Wii U
3rd part has kept it alive just.. Nintendo let a great idea die and gave us the switch imo is crap for what you pay for it.
Don't be a handheld?😆
Vita was simply over-designed. Touch screen on the back. Cameras. Proprietary storage. Stupid UI. It was brilliant tech at the time, but it needed to be simpler and cheaper. Oh....and first party support sucked.
Fingers crossed remote play continues in some form for the ps5 if it's to PC or Xperia devices it would be fantastic it's honestly the biggest selling point and the reason I brought a vita
Don't use your over priced SD cards. My God! I skipped Vita for this reason alone.
Then you made a big mistake . The games are small and mid life a 32gb card was like 65 bucks, enough to fit a couple dozen games ... physical release games don't install to it and don't even take space.
Depends what you call a fail. It went for newer tech then any other handheld. More power better screen Normal control scheme. What caused it problems was memory, cost, and of course the rest of the world is obsessed with the DS.3DS etc. I would be happy if Sony went the Switch route. Docked 10tflops 4k. 60fps. Undocked. 1080p 60fps. Heck I would take 720p with with good AA @60fps with modern graphics.
Vita was just boring. Didn't have R2 and L2. The screen was too small, the system was too slow. The system didn't have great exclusives. Ps4 Link only worked when you in the same room as your ps4. When Nintendo made an exclusive for 3ds you could feel the hard work and all Nintendo games took advantage of every feature of the system. When Sony made an ps vita exclusive it felt just like an ps3 downgraded game or mobile game with playstation controls. Yes Sony can learn to put their heart into the product like they did with Ps4, one of the best consoles ever made.
The vita was not slow LOL. What other handheld had l2 and r2? The screen was bigger than any other handheld and is still pretty big. You're on crack. Ps4 link even worked through the internet assuming it was fast enough I could play my ps4 from work.
If you had a decent home network and minimized latency where possible with a more advanced router and a cabled ps4 you could get remote play to easily work in pretty much any room in a standard size house. Also i have used remote play from an airport lobby many times back to my house and woke the ps4 from sleep mode to continue playing whatever i want. I'd agree about no l2 and r2 / l3 and r3 buttons that was annoying and i felt like it actually prevented full blown console ps3 games from being ported more often
Pretty sure Gravity Rush / Gravity Daze made use of touch screen and gyros and maybe other stuff too. Tearaway sure made use of just about every feature on the Vita. I feel your point is somewhat lobsided.
Wouldn't caĺ it a failure. It's beloved by many and sold a ton in Japan.
I bought a vita and probably got my money’s worth out of it. The vita had plenty of good games at launch and shortly after. I never liked it as much as my psp though. Still play silent hill origins from time to time.
It hurts my heart that a Monster Hunter never appeared on this beast. Sony did this platform a disservice.