Sony, You Disappoint Me
You have to admit that Sony have been on a roll lately. The PlayStation 4 seems to be getting better all the time, and the PlayStation 3 has been completely turned around from the overpriced game-less mess that was it's launch. The PS3 has the most exclusives out of all the consoles and PlayStation Plus seems like a complete steal because of its free games.
Sony are really committed to their consoles; the PS3 and the PS4. But why don't Sony give their handhelds the same treatment? Why do their handhelds always get pushed to the side when they announce a new console? It happened with the PSP after they announced the PS3, and now it's happening again with the Vita.
I remember going into Google four or five times a day, every day, putting 'PSP2' into the search bar to see if anything came up. I did this for years but nothing ever showed up, and after every time I searched and found nothing, I gave a sigh of disappointment. Then the rumors started and the mock ups began to appear, and it finally looked like Sony were going to announce the 'PSP2'. I was super excited every time a shred of evidence showed up, or when a company PR person hinted at a new handheld.
When Sony finally showed off their new handheld, I was blown away by it. It had a touch pad on the back, a touch screen on the front, a large five inch OLED screen, and most importantly - two analog sticks. TWO FRIGGIN' ANALOG STICKS! It had, and still has, so much potential you could taste it. Then they showed gameplay of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and I couldn't believe the graphics. It was insane.
The launch finally came and I was able to get a Vita on day one. I opened the box and pulled the Vita and I was in awe at how nice it felt to hold - it was perfect, and still is.
Some really incredible games have been released for the Vita, such as Gravity Rush. It was built from the ground up with the Vita in mind and couldn't be done on any other device. It was the type of game I bought my Vita for. I wanted more of this type of game. I wanted more console-style games on the Vita, such as Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, and Battlefield.
It didn't take long to see that Sony had taken their focus off the Vita, though.
They got a company with a terrible track record, Nihilistic, to make two major franchise installments on the Vita - Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. Both games were terrible and the sales reflected that fact. Although, Activision have stated that they are happy with the sales figures of Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified.
Why did Sony get a cheap, mediocre developer to make these games for the Vita? Why did they allow this developer to screw up two major franchises in a row?
At E3 2012, the Vita's first showing at a major game event after release, I expected a tidal wave of Vita games. I expected to see things like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Dark Souls or even an Elder Scrolls game maybe. Instead, Sony showed a thirty second (if even that) video of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, and another equally short video of Call of Duty: Declassified. That's it. There were some indie games shown after the on-stage part of E3, but that's not good enough for a handheld that you should be shoving down peoples' throats.
E3 2013 was even worse. Sony announced that The Walking Dead series would be coming to the Vita, and didn't do a damn thing else. They moved on from their handheld as if they were in a hurry to change the subject to something else, something non-Vita related.
These days, the only times Sony talk about the Vita is when they're touting it's Remote Play capabilities. Do they actually think that the majority of Vita owners want Remote Play over good, solid games? I sure as hell don't! Like I have said multiple times in the comment sections here on N4G - I bought my Vita to play Vita games on it, not to do Remote Play with PS4 games.
Don't get me wrong here, Remote Play is an awesome feature, but it's limited. Firstly, people are unlikely to get a strong enough internet signal to be able to stream PS4 games to their Vita and be able to play them properly. Yes, you could tether to your smartphone, but I don't see a lot of people doing this. Secondly, the majority of handheld gamers play their games at home on their couch, not sitting in a bus stop. Thirdly, Vita's back touchpad isn't really ideal to be used as a replacement for the R2 and L2 buttons. Sure, the touchpad works, but it makes holding the Vita awkward, which makes playing the game awkward. The front touchscreen on the other hand, is a perfect replacement for the R3 and L3 buttons.
I can't help but get the feeling that if the Wii U hadn't been announced, Sony wouldn't have such a big focus on Remote Play. Maybe they would probably have tried to sell their handheld as a handheld.
In the coming months, the PlayStation Vita will get a game called Killzone: Mercenary. It's got insane graphics for a handheld game, and it looks like it'll be the Vita's best game so far. This game is why I'm happy that I still own my Vita. It's definitely the type of game I want to see on Sony's handheld, but if the upcoming GamesCom turns out like the last two E3s, it will be the last game I play before trading in my Vita and being done forever with Sony handhelds.
I'm not saying that the Vita doesn't have games. It does, and it has some classics. What I'm saying is that I don't like the direction Sony is going with the Vita. They release every game on both the PS3 and Vita, and that kills off any appeal that the Vita might have. Why would someone buy a Vita if they own a PS3? Sony aren't giving people a good enough reason to buy the Vita over other devices.
Would I recommend the PlayStation Vita to you at this point in time? No, I wouldn't. I recommend you not only wait until after GamesCom, but to wait until after the Tokyo Game Show, too. That way, you can see how the Vita will shape out over the next year or so.
If you're the type of person that is heavily into the thought of playing your PS4 games remotely, then the Vita is probably the device for you. Personally, I feel that I could have easily waited another year or two for the Vita, which is a shame because it's such an incredible device that's oozing with potential.