It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Sony’s latest handheld to hit the market. A stiff, cheap competition has driven the Vita into last place for many a month now, but that doesn’t mean you should count the little handheld that could just yet. After Gamescom, it was made clear that Sony hasn’t given up on the PlayStation Vita, and neither should we. Here’s why the Vita isn’t in as rough shape as you may think.
Sony’s taking the Nintendo route by cutting the Vita’s price by a whole $50. People were prepping gravestones for the 3DS for months, but a well-timed price drop coupled with a clear increase in quality titles skyrocketed Nintendo’s little handheld into the spotlight, taking the top spots in sales for the last four months. Where does Sony fit in this picture? Well, after this price cut becomes the Vita standard, a similar situation could in fact go in Sony’s favor. Slashing the prices on those memory cards shouldn’t hurt, either.
This was a clear focus for Sony in wake of their Gamescom press conference. Independent games may not rake in dozens of millions of dollars, but there is a clear market demand for quirky indie titles. Sony is very aware of this, making independent developers feel at home with PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Games like Spelunky and FEZ are on their way, and some titles like Hotline Miami 2 are launching with their PC counterparts. Again, these won’t likely spur a huge growth in sales, but it’ll keep exisiting users happy, and probably keep PlayStation Plus memberships going strong.
PlayStation 4 Connectivity
Here’s another aspect that Sony is already focusing on. During the Gamescom press event, Sony showcased being able to play Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on the PlayStation Vita. All things considered, the service worked. Sure, it’s a clear rip-off of Nintendo’s Wii U tablet, but dual-screen gaming is becoming a bigger deal as the months roll on. On top of this particular connectivity, being able to use the device as a controller, or even a cloud-saving memory unit would be an interesting proposition.
This has been a strong-suit of the system for over a year now. PlayStation Plus lets owners of PlayStation 3, Vita, and soon to be PlayStation 4, enjoy some killer deals, sales, demos, betas, and occasionally free games altogether. This all comes at $50 a year. For the Vita specifically, offering games around the caliber of Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a great move, and cycling other games in and out works wonders for the platform, too. Even barring the free titles, offering $15 games for $11, or $10 games for $7.50 – these are nice, little gestures that build trust in the average gamer.
Cross Buy/Cross Play
Sony’s been upping the importance of cross-buying and cross-playing games for a few months now, and it’s an incentive that definitely deserves more traction. The obvious facet of saving money on getting a game on two platforms for the price of one shouldn’t be understated, but things like transferring saves and progress data are worth mentioning. Things like Divekick players on Vita being able to play their PlayStation 3 cohorts are awesome features, and should be reciprocated through some choice PlayStation 4 titles in the near future.
Despite what you may have heard, first-party and core titles are not a dead, distant memory for the PlayStation Vita. Franchises like Gravity Rush, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, Street Fighter, and even Killzone are being fronted on the system, and with all the aforementioned ways Sony is pushing the Vita forward, we’re more and more likely to see big-named franchises hit the admittedly famished platform. With great ports of games like Street Fighter X Tekken and Disgaea 3 already on the platform, the future doesn’t look as bleak as some sites would have you think.