The PlayStation Vita is probably one of the best pieces of technology that has been released in the past few months, but interestingly enough, Sony’s latest portable console hasn’t been selling exceedingly well. There are many factors for this happening and many specialists are already suggesting that the dedicated handheld needs to get a price cut soon. Still, that is not likely to happen as a price cut would mean that Sony has failed, but why exactly is the Vita failing? Is there something wrong with the console? What can the Japanese-based company do to fix that?
The most prominent issue the console has is undoubtedly its price. As most of you probably know, the portable is available in two versions: the Wi-Fi version is available for $249.99 and the 3G version is available for $299.99. What users are getting for that price is simply staggering: the handheld features two analog sticks, a 5-inch screen OLED screen, , touchscreen, Bluetooth, a new LiveArea software, free apps, backward compatibility with digital versions of PSP, PSone Classics and PlayStation Minis and the list goes on and on. So what is exactly the problem then? Well, users prefer iOS and Android devices because those are extremely versatile. What I mean by that is that when users get an iPhone for example, they use it for making phone calls, texting, using applications, watch films, listen to music, surf the net, all of that in addition to playing games, PS Vita games and memory cards on the other hand, are very expensive and not everyone is willing to make that kind of investment in a device that can’t be used for making phone calls or sending text messages.
Regarding games, the Vita has to compete with $0.99 iPhone titles and $60 console games. The handheld is unfortunately in the middle of consoles and smartphones/tablets and unfortunately, there may not be a place for dedicated handhelds anymore. As somebody who does a huge amount of his gaming on the go, I must admit that I absolutely love playing games that are simple, can be played in small chunks and can entertain me both on the bus and when I have more time at home. Of course, there may be many exceptions to this, but overall that is what most people seek when they get portable titles.
Which leads me to my next point: the Vita simply doesn’t have a wide variety of games that offer experiences like that. In fact, the Vita doesn’t have a lot of games period. If we take a look at the list of titles that are already available or that are coming out soon, we realize that: a) there are multiple remakes or ports (Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, Dungeon Defenders, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Mortal Kombat, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Persona 4: Golden, Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3… well, I guess you get the point.) b) Many titles make an attempt to replicate console-like experiences such as TBA games such as Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Killzone or Little Big Planet.
Granted, some titles definitely work better than others on a portable console, so where are Patapon 4 and Rock Band Unplugged 2? Additionally, why isn’t Sony promoting the Minis program more heavily? Why does the company try to stubbornly translate console games into the portable medium instead of releasing more lighthearted experiences such as the aforementioned? Solving these issues is definitely not as simple as it seems even for a huge company like Sony. For now though, waiting for a price cut seems like a reasonable thing to do. Just don’t expect it to happen any time soon.
Are you planning on getting a Vita? Do you already have one? Will you wait for a price cut to buy one? Please share your ideas in the comment section of the site.