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Why The PS Vita Ultimately Failed (And How The Switch Did It Right)

How is a system so loved within its community considered a commercial failure, and how did the Nintendo Switch take its idea and run with it?

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thegamer.com
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TheRealTedCruz129d ago

Highly overpriced proprietary memory, and Sony showing it little support, themselves?

VersusDMC129d ago

Agree with the support but the overpriced memory was always overblown. The switch is an handheld charging 60 for games instead of 40 as they always had before...yet that cost hike is fine.

darthv72129d ago

As someone with both a Vita and PSP GO, it really made me curious why Sony felt the need to make a dedicated memory card when they already had one that was more than adequet. The M2 format (that the Go uses) is virtually the exact same size and shape as the vita... just flipped. It would have made things so much easier for people to buy into it, especially if they were able to insert their existing memory card with their purchased games on it.

I really like the vita, I also think they had a huge missed opportunity with not having TV out. I like to pop my Go onto the TV dock and play some games now and then (doing the switch thing before the switch). Doing that with a vita would have been awesome, especially with full DS4 support.

persona4chie129d ago

The only thing is the Switch isn’t a handheld, it’s a hybrid of both. So there isn’t really a “cost hike” sure you get an overall lower quality or “handheld” quality when playing portably, but you do get better quality and performance when playing in “console mode”

And yes I know people are gonna say “bUt thE sWitCh iS wEAk” and compared to the PS4 and XOne absolutely, but it’s still console quality games. And the quality is much higher than on any handheld before.

The Vita was a great system, but people’s expectations were too high. It was definitely a capable system, but not as capable as people thought it would be. I don’t remember if Sony said this, but it was said that the Vita would be able to deliver PS3 quality games and it ultimately couldn’t.

And yes the memory cards were definitely an issue. There are countless complaints about it. Nobody wanted to pay $120 for a 32gb memory card https://www.gamespot.com/ar...

Neonridr129d ago

I mean compare the scope and size of a 3DS game (Link Between Worlds) and compare that to Breath of the Wild and tell me that the additional price doesn't warrant itself.

DarkZane129d ago

The overpriced memory was not overblown, it's the only reason why the Vita failed.

You had 4, 8, 16 and 32GB cards, but anything below 32GB was too small and a 32GB was $100 at launch, which was way too expensive. A SD card of the same size was like $25.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 129d ago
ApocalypseShadow129d ago

$249 was a great price for the OG PSP. PS Vita launching at $249 years later for what it did was a steal compared to PSP. Nintendo dropped their price because it made 3DS seem expensive against it for inferior hardware. It worked.

Yeah. The cards were expensive. But look at the flip side. Many gamers stole games on PSP by downloading them from online. Just like they did with PS1 and PS2 games. And we see how DRM gets cut through in software so fast that that wouldn't have been enough. SD Card would have guaranteed theft immediately. They tried something different. Didn't work out.

The games were coming. Problem was, gamers weren't supporting it like they were with PS4. Gamers either complained the games were expensive or that the games were hand me downs or lesser than console like Uncharted. And with mobile phones powerful enough to play games that looked just as good as portable consoles for cheap or free with ads, something had to give. Sony even gave gamers the ability to stream PS4 games at home or anywhere in the world. Even that wasn't enough for some.

Nintendo has ruled the mobile market for decades. It's why they can weather the storm of challengers and mobile. And with new customers being born all the time, Nintendo rides its same properties like Disneyland. But new in house IPs are almost non existent.

The only thing Switch did was have no opposition. No competitor. Microsoft was too cowardly to try ever and Sony gave it a shot. TWICE. Now, if we flip the article around, we can ask how Sony had been successful with PS4 and PS5, while Nintendo failed at dedicated home consoles and ran to mobile.

persona4chie129d ago (Edited 129d ago )

Except they didn’t run to mobile? They’ve always had “mobile” devices, and they’ve proved in the past, gimmick or not that they can have a hugely successful system.

They literally just took the best part of the Wii U and made it independent. The Switch is a home console as well as a handheld, not just a handheld but people like that as an added option.

And while Nintendo has definitely had a few poor selling home consoles they haven’t failed by any means, “mobile console” or not it’s still successful.

Plus money is money. It doesn’t really matter if Nintendo is making it with a home console or a handheld. Just like Sony saw the handheld wasn’t viable so they dropped it to focus more on PS4.

Neonridr129d ago

they failed once, with the Wii U... so you could say that but you'd be reaching Apocalypse.

rdgneoz3129d ago

@persona4chie "And while Nintendo has definitely had a few poor selling home consoles they haven’t failed by any means"

What would you call the WiiU? Nintendo ditched that pretty fast and went to a new console after a few years. WiiU (came out Nov 2012) had 13.56 million sales as of December 31, 2019. Switch has around 80 million and it came out just under 4 years ago.

That said, they learned from their utter failure with the WiiU and came out with the Switch.

ApocalypseShadow129d ago (Edited 129d ago )

Nintendo has failed more than once. Home and portable consoles. But name a portable console competitor to the Switch? I'll wait...still waiting...still waiting...

What some fail to mention, is that Nintendo has/had no direct competition to Switch. Zero. They also fail to see that Nintendo has been the dominant portable console maker since Gameboy. Not one portable has won against Nintendo since then. Targeting Vita is foolish as the market leader has always been Nintendo.

As for home consoles, Nintendo basically abandoned the formula of building a dedicated home console. They built a hybrid that's really a portable that replaced 3DS and happens to connect to a TV. But we all know its use and tech specs is mobile. Trying to spin that it's a home console is ridiculous when it can't even play certain games on home consoles. That's why it's streaming certain games. Why? It's a mobile platform. That just happens to have no competition. And Nintendo has been riding on underpowered products while selling the same properties without new IPs for years. At least we can say with Sony, they make new franchises EVERY GENERATION. Something Nintendo doesn't do.

Summary: Nintendo has always been portable market leader for years. And now, they have no competition. Not even from 3DS. So, of course Switch is going to sell unopposed. Vita would have been destined to be second fiddle to Nintendo with portables regardless. Even if Sony would have stuck with Vita.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 129d ago
gamer7804129d ago

No first party support, end of story, they set it up to fail. I still have mine but after launch there was third party support only. They left it to die.

persona4chie129d ago

Yeah I had a vita on two separate occasions, and I loved it. But like you said, they created this great system and then said “alright go die”

gamer7804129d ago (Edited 129d ago )

@persona. Right I really liked the system. I even bought the pstv thingy to play my vita games on the tv too

Knushwood Butt129d ago

It did get a lot of first party support for the first couple of years, but what happened is that third parties didn't know what to do with it. Toned down ports on the cheap, or risky new IPs or AA spinoffs,

They all held back and waited to see someone else take the plunge but it never happened and sales of the Vita didn't pick up, leaving Indies and slowly dwindling first party support.

Name the big third party games on Vita. Assassins Creed Lady Liberty? That CoD game?
Nothing from Capcom.
Nothing from Konami.
Koei Tecmo supported it well but all ports.
Bandai Namco had Ridge Racer that got slammed due to weird content behind paywalls.

Also didn't help that the media slammed anything that wasn't breaking new ground. Strange how the Switch gets a free pass on that.

Anyway, it did get Darius Burst CS, which is also on PS4, but is portable shmup excellence.

Ulf128d ago (Edited 128d ago )

This isn't true. There were a ton of (very well done) first-party Vita games in the first couple years -- Unit 13, Killzone Mercenary, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, etc.

They did choose to cater to an older audience, which may have been a mistake.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 128d ago
badz149129d ago

Nope. Games. Plain and simple. It didn't even have the games like the PSP did. Such a shame for such a wonderful hardware

specialguest128d ago (Edited 128d ago )

Even today people are still not willing to accept that what you stated with the overpriced memory and Sony showing little support was a big factor leading to the Vita failure. I remember wanting to a Vista, but was really turned off by the proprietary memory price. Sony abandoned the PS eyetoy on the PS2, the Vita, and PS Move. The PSVR got more support, but Sony could definitely do more

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 128d ago
franwex129d ago

Pretty much Sony ditched it to focus on PS4. Can’t say I blame them, but it is disappointing. If Nintendo can manage to put out games for handhelds and main consoles-I would assume Sony could too.

persona4chie129d ago

Oh definitely and the Vita would have been the perfect system for it. The PSP sold how much? 80m? That’s really damn good. If the vita 1. Had more first party support from Sony. 2. Had cheaper memory cards or used SD cards (the 32gb card cost and eye watering $120 at launch) and 3. Maybe launched at a cheaper price, maybe $50 cheaper it would have easily been a success.

godofiron129d ago

I personally skipped the vita because memory was just so damn expensive - then eventually, Sony gave up on supporting it.

it got nowhere near the love that the PSP got, which is an absolute shame cause it paired pretty well with the PS4.

1nsomniac129d ago

The only thing Sony cared about was protecting its image against piracy. They were willing to destroy it for the sake of saving face to its investors after the PSP. Same approach they took with not allowing external storage on the ps5.

AnotherGamer129d ago

The overpriced memory cards easily.

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