In all fairness, I do not yet own a Vita. I still intend to get one (most likely after I get a PS4); a platform of its nature will undoubtedly have the potential for great content. So far, the games I wish to get for mine include Persona 4, Tearaway, Gravity Rush, Muramasa: Rebirth and any of the transferable Playstation 1 and digital PSP/Vita games sitting in my PSN account. For me, this will be enough right off the bat.
For the rest of the public, I'm not so sure.
Some time ago, Vita sales saw a small increase in sales, most likely due to its price drop in Japan. Since then the Vita has seen some slightly better numbers in that region in particular. This, to me, is not nearly worthy enough for a celebration.
I've been exceptionally critical of Nintendo this past month in particular. They played this year's E3 frustratingly safe and still did not manage to announce the one must-have Wii U game for this year. But if there is one thing that we as gamers were telling Nintendo to do, the one thing that Nintendo definitely listened to was "Get the games on the system." They may not even be the games we wanted, but the system will be getting a number of games that fans will most likely enjoy, most of them by the end of this year. My own personal choices of anticipation (in no particular order) are Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Sonic Lost World and Zelda Wind Waker HD.
The Vita system is in dire need of its own exclusive content. Scroll back up and read the list of games I want; only two of the games on that list are exclusive to Vita. Worse yet, Sony almost made no mention of Vita at E3 this year (obviously to focus on PS4 which currently shows far, far more promise). Remember what Sony announced for Vita last year at E3? A spinoff of Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty Black Ops 2, the latter of the two being widely panned by critics. Sure it has cross-buy, but I doubt many will really pay the extra money necessary to play PS4 games on a handheld.
Now I know what many of you will tell me; I'm well aware that Vita has a lot of games in its library, of which I will definitely keep an eye out for something that appeals to me personally. Again, hear me out; I already want a Vita and I'm going to get one. But its library is not bringing other consumers into the boat, much in the same way that Nintendo's Wii U is obviously not offering a lot to the public right now, but on the flip side there is content that I personally do want.
With Nintendo's Wii U, rushed would not even begin to describe the console's first year thus far. With very few first party games (and more importantly no big Mario or Zelda titles) the system failed to excite anyone outside of the most hardcore Nintendo fans and has been struggling, sometimes even more so than Vita. In fact, since the Vita's price drop, Nintendo has seen some weeks where the Wii U sells significantly below that system.
Its biggest weakness presently is its software library, riddled with poor third party ports and support, a currently miniscule Virtual Console library, shorthanded eShop library and obviously very little first party support until August this year. This combined with a surprisingly terrible lack of marketing has given Wii U very little traction and it's daunting to imagine what Nintendo is doing, if anything, to rectify this issue.
The Wii U's problem is not that it is poorly received (outside of the few users on the internet who hate it for being 'underpowered') it's that it is overall an unknown. Fans have already supported it, but Nintendo has not captured its other audiences; gamers looking for the core experiences and families who want the next new thing. Without the games, you don't get gamer support. Without marketing, families will not even know of its existence. A price cut can generate more sales in the short term, like for Vita, but it will take a lot more to make the buyers come.
It's strange to think that Sony's handling of Vita (mostly outside of Japan) and Nintendo's handling of Wii U are very similar in some ways. Neither were being marketed very much and both had what many in the mass public must have deemed to be uninteresting game libraries. The two have now found separate ways to try and entice the consumer; Vita has slashed its price and Sony seems to think that PS4 cross-buy will invigorate the consumer interest. Nintendo on the other hand buckled down and started focusing on content with six plus big name titles coming out this year alone. This is all made even more interesting given that the Vita and Wii U both have very similar functionality; they both have touch screens, they both have HD displays, have off-TV play capabilities, and other similarities.
These efforts are fantastic for us gamers who already own one or even both of these platforms. But I can't help but perplex at how the mass market will respond to both of them. My hope? I want them both to be very successful. They are both great hardware in my opinion, but their creators are, in my opinion at least, not doing them justice right now.
What are your thoughts?