Fight for the future

Polite Plea: You may have noticed the number of stories winding down here. Time moves on, but I'll always be posting, as the Vita becomes the new Dreamcast.
However, I do need a new Vita as my launch day model is starting to show its age.
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Once reached, hopefully in time for Christmas, I will remove all adverts, leaving this island of Vita life an ad-free oasis!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How Sony might reinvigorate the Vita

The troubled history of the Vita will always be a contentious issue, especially for those who still love it. Mainly, it was a victim of Sony being a near bankrupt corporation suffering massive losses during Vita's launch years.

Sony sold off divisions and units, slashed jobs, wrote down everything it could and issued profit warnings monthly, the Vita being ignored was but a drop in the ocean. That perilous financial state made Sony risk averse, and the slow take off of the Vita sealed its fate, after a few one-shot big hitters and poor third-party efforts didn't fly.

Flights of Fancy

In a different time with some clever use of resources, and not by thinking like a monolithic game company, Sony could have out Pokemon'd Niantic's Go game with Invizimals, while LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway could have been in-school creativity fests, long before Minecraft.

Sony could have out-evolved the Switch long before it was revealed through hardware upgrades, while using Vita's awesome backward and streaming compatibility to attract the retro audience. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, etc!

Instead, it did none of those things due to those financial constraints, and focused on the PS4 and then the, even more, niche PSVR. Now the Vita's PSN store doesn't get updated, beyond what's new. PS Now support is ending to prevent us playing PS4 games. PlayStation Plus subscribers get minor releases at best.

There's the odd spot of kudos for developer support, but Sony does this so under the radar that whole games get released with no one noticing.

Major news sites never mention the Vita, Sony fails to mention it at every opportunity, with even multi-platform games appearing to be PS4 only. It is clear Sony wants all focus on PS4. With no sign of a Vita upgrade on the horizon, how could Sony make use of the Vita in a changing market?

Changing Times, Feel the Retro Vibe and Digging Out Secrets

As Sony stepped back, indies and Kickstarters filled the void. But with Switch on the rise and Kickstarter proving to be a falling trend, interest is fading. Developers should be aware of the sales possibilities and undying loyalty of a sizeable niche of gamers. So far, activity that is mostly down to the community and active developers.

So, where's Sony's 2017 Vita indie campaign? Where's the industry-only PowerPoint showing the returns on select Vita indies compared to their Xbox/PC/PS4 equivalents? 

As for retro, Nintendo is doing it, very cleverly with limited releases. Atari and Sega are doing it, although most wish they wouldn't. Spectrum and C64 games are still being developed, all the way up to low-poly titles and pixel fests across many formats.

So, where's the limited edition PS one-styled Vita with 50 classics on a memory card? 

None of this costs Sony much money, Japan produces many different limited runs. Apart from printing some boxes, creating the PS one design template for the Japanese Vita factory and some licensing fees for third-party PSone games, this is a cheap for-the-fans project. By adding in some rare or missing games like the original Ridge Racer, Persona 1 or Ace Combat it becomes a collectible, and talked about.

Where's the secret game?

Sony has the money now to help the Vita along a bit with the gaming division driving the company. It also has likely dozens of game concepts, canned Vita projects and side-projects across its studios that could be turned around to provide some quick love. If Nintendo can pull Star Fox 2 out of a hat, Sony certainly has a few tricks.

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