Sunday, 14 April 2013

Critical Rockets suggestions for improving the Vita


Last year the PlayStation Vita was one of the first major talking points here on Critical Rocket and some of the very first game reviews covered the launch titles that where on offer at the time.  Rolling on over a year after my purchase I still like the Vita but I can see the issues it is facing going forward.

The most glaring issue facing the beleaguered handheld is the price.  It's an expensive console to say the least and that's before you even buy any games.  The base model can reach over £200 and doesn't come with a memory card which is vital playing any game on the console since it features zero on board storage capability.

Many shops offer bundles of course that come with a game or two depending on how much you are willing to spend, but still you will need to fork out extra for the memory cards which also have to be the official versions made by Sony.  To fix this issue I would drop the price of the base console and start offering the Vita with memory cards.

Soul sacrifice is looking pretty weird and mature for a vita title
The other sticking points are the games themselves.  When compared to the PSP and it's extensive library the Vita has been pretty short in it's game offerings.  The other problem is price as some Vita titles at launch cost more than a PS3 game with a good example being Uncharted Golden Abyss, which went for around £44.99 or higher.  To this day I am still waiting for a price drop before I buy it myself.  The forced inclusion of touch screen gimmicks really hurt some of the games also.  Gravity Rush is a great game for the Vita, but could have been better without the need to use the touchscreen for certain controls such as sliding and dodging.  Dynasty Warriors NEXT a game with some really nice features probably makes some of the best use of the touchscreens as it actually works in the context of the game.

Personally I would lower the games RRP to £25 as asking for anything more is too much when you consider that some of these games are also on the PS3 with better visuals and more online functionality.  Also the Vita needs some new unique IP's that really bring the console a fresh marketing point.  One game that could do this is the soon to be release soul sacrifice which has a focus on cooperative fantasy combat against powerful foes in a similar vein to Monster Hunter.  Soul sacrifice could be one of these unique IP's that make the Vita more viable as a gaming platform and bring more players back.

It's a shame that such a technically good handheld has had such a rough time from release, but with competition being stiff not only from Nintendo the kings of handheld gaming so far, but also mobile gaming.  The increasing power and influence that tablet and phones are having on the mobile gaming market cannot be denied and unless both Nintendo and Sony adjust for this they may very well see their dominance challenged by the likes of Apple and Samsung amongst others.

I am not really condemning the Vita as a failure though since it is a good console that has a lot of potential going forward, it just needs more attention from Sony and more to make it stand out from the crowd and less ports from the PS3.  I always wonder why Sony doesn't make more companion games like Assassin's creed liberation rather than simple ports like Street fighter X Tekken.  The ability to expand a games world with a different characters perspective and story is more appealing than simply buying the same game twice.

So as a final rundown -

  • Lower the base unit price
  • Lower RRP of games
  • Release more unique IP's
  • Offer more titles that compliment PS3 games instead of porting said game

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