As a huge PlayStation fan, the Vita has really disappointed in its first seven months or so in the US market. There is a lot of content, and much of it is good in some way, and a few niches are really well covered (Disgaea, Lumines, and some 2D fighters all look awesome), but I think most gamers are better served for their gaming tastes on a home console or a tablet or a PC.
First, I’m disappointed that the Vita doesn’t have near CPU/GPU parity with the aging HD twins, the PS3 and 360. The most vocal critics were demanding lower prices and less emphasis on hardware power. Sony gave the critics exactly that with the Vita and it was a mistake. Most gamers don’t want to play a typical action game with 50% of the graphics tech that they are used to with PS3/360. Uncharted Golden Abyss and Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed III are technical milestones for a handheld, but typical players simply prefer the full experience on a home system.
The counter point is that when gamers really can get a parity experience on a portable, they will transition to portables. When laptops finally got nearly as good as desktop computers, the masses switched over, and the same thing is inevitable in games. A good example of what I mean by general parity is the single player campaign of Rayman Origins. To the typical player, the single player game is basically identical on the Vita as on the PS3/360. When players can get basically the same experience on portable devices, they will abandon the home consoles.
Right now, the sweet spot for Vita is games that don’t need the full tech of the home consoles, are more sophisticated than the content currently on tablets (there are a few substantial games on tablets and it is growing, but for the moment it is in it’s infancy), or possibly take advantage of the unique hybrid stick/button/touch control scheme.
The first of the big great games, in my opnion, to hit the Vita is really LittleBigPlanet. It seems like this is the start of the Vita’s hot streak of great games. There are several more in the near term pipeline such as Persona 4, New King’s Story, Tearaway, and potentially stuff like Soul Sacrifice, Zero Escape, and DJ Max Technica.
Written by: Darrin
- Contributing Editor