Yesterday I packed my PS Vita back into its original box and shipped it off to some guy in Texas that Bought it Now for $200 on eBay. Before that, I wiped the memory, flushing away Persona 3 and a couple of other games along with save data for others that I’ll never finish. I kind of grimaced, holding it for the last time because it’s such a damn good handheld, probably the best I’ve ever seen. Probably the last one I’ll ever own.I loved my Vita. Every game I had for it was outstanding. It played beautifully and it looked great. But the reality of it is that it was already starting to gather dust and the only non-launch day game I even played for it was Gravity Rush. That was an awesome game, at least until I simply got bored with it and moved on, filing its completion away for a later date that will never come. I thought I’d stick around to see how LittleBigPlanet 2, the Assassin’s Creed thing, and Soul Sacrifice would turn out. But other than those games, I found myself wondering what in the hell I would play on it six months from now. And after the Tokyo Game Show and Sony’s demonstration of continued half-assed support of the device, I decided to bail.
The problem is that you’ve got a handheld that’s selling like complete crap pretty much everywhere, which means that few- if any- developers are going to want to sink any money into developing for it. There’s no ROI there. And when Sony can’t even give the damn thing a vote of confidence by actually, you know, supporting it with software other than ports and PSOne classic compatibility why should they?
I wanted the Vita to succeed, but let’s be frank. It’s a sinking ship. And it’s not like the PS3 where it was just a matter of time before the system would get some momentum and the must-have titles would start appearing. The PS3 was not an endangered species when it hit the market. The reality of it is that those evil, wicked casual gamers who are proclaiming the death of the dedicated handheld are right.
You can beat your chest all day long about how IOS and Android games are somehow not “real” because they don’t have a d-pad or physical buttons, but the fact of the matter is that no- it really doesn’t make sense to buy a $40 game for a handheld when you can play a totally kick ass game like Super Hexagon or Hunters 2 for a buck on your phone or tablet. More and more, the anti-mobile gaming contingent is sounding more and more like those “Disco Sucks” guys in the 1970s that were upset that Chic was outselling Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
There’s a cultural shift that the Vita is sort of straddling, and it’s really just a matter of time before it falls through the cracks like a Beta cassette player. It would be different if Sony were actually making the device attractive with must-have software and putting it in direct competition with the iPhone and iPad market. But they’re not. Instead, they’re saying “look guys- Uncharted on the go! The magic of technology!” And then asking for $250. You’d think the success of Nintendo’s 3DS price drop would have at least sent a message.
Sure, they did the same thing with the PSP and to some extent the PS3. But time is not on the Vita’s side, and unless the system sells like hotcakes in its first holiday season (spoiler- it won’t), it’s on a slow, sad train to Doomsville. And I’m getting off. Ciao, Vita.