[Editorial Tuesday] How Sony Failed the PlayStation Vita

What game system is the most underrated game system? The PlayStation Vita of course! As a portable game console, with its beautiful graphics, sensitive touch screen, and seamless functionality, you’d think the PlayStation Vita would top Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS sales, but in fact, Nintendo dominates the portable gaming market despite clearly being the lesser of the two systems.

Why is it that the PlayStation Vita does not rise in popularity? How was the PlayStation Portable so popular where the PlayStation Vita is not? What is it that the PlayStation Vita is lacking? Well, to be fair, it is not the PlayStation Vita’s fault for its failure in the Western market. In fact, it’s Sony’s fault. Sony failed the PlayStation Vita. However, don’t take our word for it, let us consider a few points.

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What is it that other video game consoles have that the PlayStation Vita does not? Before you say everything, we are talking about advertising here. Sony failed to give the PlayStation Vita the amount of advertisement it deserved. Look at the Nintendo 3DS, which was heavily advertised and was seemingly quite innovative for its 3D technology (although we all know how bad Nintendo is at implementation despite their innovation). The 3DS was advertised for being the next new thing.

The PlayStation Vita has had very few ads put out to gain the audience that it deserves. In fact, there was even an ad put out in 2014 that was criticized for being “sexist” and while we won’t open that can of worms, Sony just has not put any more ads out there to pull in any PlayStation Vita players. It feels as if Sony had given up on the console entirely in the West because most people, even the ones who know very little about games, will know about the big 3 consoles, and then they’ll have an idea about what Nintendo has for a portable console, while the PlayStation Vita will bring up confused expressions in conversation. No one even knows what a “Vita” is.

Titles

One of the most frustrating things about the PlayStation Vita is the lack of titles on the portable system. Two years ago, you could walk into any Target or Walmart and see a tiny corner that had miscellaneous PlayStation Vita titles that may or may not reflect what was popular or what was left over at the time. Today, should you go to any store with a gaming department, they have eradicated their PS Vita section entirely. Now, there is no more obligatory PlayStation Vita section.

Even if you were to stop by a game store like GameStop because let’s face it, GameCrazy is gone, you will only find a small handful of PS Vita titles available and only the most recent ones or ones that people sell to the shop. It is damn near impossible to find a well stocked Vita section because let us face it: No one plays the PlayStation Vita (see the above section for the reason why).

However, the strange thing is the PlayStation Vita is extremely popular in Japan and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of games available for the PlayStation Vita that we will never get the chance to play in the West. The PlayStation Vita has so many games available and yet, Sony has not brought the games over or gotten any game developers to make releases available in the West. This does not make it worthwhile to even own a PS Vita if you just cannot get any games for it. Most games released on the PlayStation Vita have a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 counterpart or are just repackaged console games that run better and more smoothly, although we have managed to see a few PlayStation Vita only titles like Danganronpa (which now has a PlayStation 4 release). The Persona 4 Golden release is also a more interactive version of the Persona 4 game with an extension to the story and a few more features, but you cannot get a hold of Persona 4 Golden without the PlayStation Vita.

The good news is that there are more titles coming to the PS Vita these days, and the PlayStation Vita is becoming the console for visual novels and otome games. Otomate has really ensured that the PlayStation Vita has some hold in the market with their release of popular otome titles like Amnesia: Memories, Norn9: Norn + Nornette, and the upcoming Collar x Malice. Luckily the PS Vita is due to have more games released in the future, which will hopefully bring more users into the PS Vita market.

Memory

One of the major drawbacks in the PS Vita is the memory. The PS Vita stores save data and games on a memory card. While it is no different from the Nintendo 3DS or PSP in that regard, the problem itself lies in the memory card itself. You need a specific memory card for the PlayStation Vita. And that memory card will work only for the PS Vita. While Sony could have completely made it easier for gamers by employing a micro SD card or maybe a nano SD card, memory cards you can find even at your local drugstore, Sony created the PlayStation Vita to take a very specific memory card that you just can’t find anymore. Literally.

If you need a memory card, you either have to have GameStop order you one, or you have to find one yourself on Amazon or another 3rd party vendor. And the fact of the matter is, the memory cards aren’t cheap. While a 32GB SD card could cost you like $15 (more or less), a PS Vita specific memory card with the same amount of memory will cost you up to $80 (give or take). And given the fact that that PS Vita is region-free, if you want to download games from other regions, you’ll also need another memory card. You will be forced to do the same should you want to share your PS Vita with other users who have their own accounts.

Ease of Use

After all of its difficulty, there’s one more thing that makes the PlayStation Vita so difficult: its ease of use. Previously mentioned, you require more than one memory card to use multiple accounts on the PlayStation Vita, but did you know you also have to format the system each time you switch memory cards? Why yes, each and every time you want to switch users, you have to re-setup your PS Vita all over again. Fun times there.

By the way, if you want to delete games to make room for new games, you run the risk of deleting all of your save data as well. So like your phone and laptop computers, you need to make sure to backup your save data for the games you want to delete or start all over again. And it’s not easy simple as it sounds. Make sure you look up how to backup your save data because it’s not exactly intuitive like some game systems.

Then there’s PlayStation TV. You can supposedly play your PS Vita games right on your TV, however, Sony doesn’t keep an updated list of which games are compatible. Just for your information, a good portion of the games are not. Even if you are playing your PS Vita on the PS TV, you run the risk of losing connection or lagging a great deal. That makes for a fun gaming experience.


Final Thoughts

Ah, the PS Vita was an excellently designed portable gaming system that was missing all the right components to make it a commercial success in the Western gaming industry. It just fails to hit its target audience the way the Nintendo DS, and even the Nintendo Switch, does. Sometimes it just feels like Sony has given up on the PS Vita (we won’t even mention the confusion over the mystery port). However, where there’s a fan base, there’s a market and we are seeing more PS Vita players and games to come!

Are there any readers out there that love the PlayStation Vita as much as we do? What do you think could have been done to make the system better? Please share the PlayStation Vita love!

Why is it that the PlayStation Vita does not rise in popularity? How was the PlayStation Portable so popular where the PlayStation Vita is not? Keep reading to find out!

Jenangelx3

Editor

Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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