Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy birthday PS Vita, the world's deadest console is two years old

Back before the Internet, I owned all kinds of games machines, listened to many bands and enjoyed many TV shows. Now the Internet is here, its lovely to hear on a daily basis that those, and more recent technologies, musical genres, actor's careers, whole businesses and even things that haven't happened yet are all dead. Frankly, its amazing anything or anyone is still living, but the net has never been that reliable.

Of all those, few things are deader than the PS Vita (expect possibly BlackBerry, which is also still not dead). Sure, I like to moan about the failures in the world of my little old day-one Vita (specifically, Sony's appalling marketing, feeble third-party efforts, hiding sales figures and horseshit over-promises). However, the main lesson from this is that NOTHING EVER DIES.

My favourite long-dead TV shows all seem to be coming back, or live on in other media! Music I grew up with, all those bands are touring and recording again. Games systems; Dreamcast, Lynx, even 8-bit dinosaurs like the Spectrum are still having games written for them. NOTHING EVER DIES

What has happened is expectations have realigned with reality. Thanks to the poor third-party support, the rise of mobile, the moon prodding Uranus, whatever, the Vita is no longer a PS3-on-the-go. Instead it has refocused around its few strengths. Currently those are a still-thriving Japanese handheld scene (hope you're basking in all these translations) and a horde of indie developers fed up with the long-odds of iOS success and rampant piracy on Android.

They will provide the backbone of the Vita's gaming arsenal for now. Giving Sony time to plan a next phase:

  • rejig its development resources as the PS4 gets up to speed (of course, the Vita IS a PS4-on-the-go, which could be a seriously good move). 
  • get some more third parties on-board (those who can't afford larger teams or the move to next gen aesthetics).
  • push the Vita into new markets (rest of Asia) and drive it for the Autumn inevitable price reductions, when it should become an impulse buy.

So, yeah, the Vita isn't perhaps quite what Sony promised in the early hype, but it isn't dead. Not only does it have a small but growing army of owners enjoying a line-up of quality titles, its not dead because nothing dies, until the last cent in value has been extracted and there's a hell of a lot of value in what the Vita offers.

What it offers is us - you, me, your Vita owning friends - a few million gamers around the world, who have a tight little app store offering a great range of niche games alongside the odd blockbuster. That's what has kept the Vita alive and will continue to see it grow, perhaps not as well as we'd would like, but still moving in the right direction.

So happy birthday Vita, and well done the buyers who ignored this "dead" crap, and who've kept it going. Feel free to share your Vita experiences in the comments.

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