It’s no secret that the Vita isn’t doing well. We’ve talked about this before, but Sony is killing their wonderful piece of hardware. Things are looking grim for the Vita, so a few of the Gamers-Association editors are here to answer some questions about how Sony can save the Vita.
What is the biggest thing keeping people from buying the Vita and how should Sony fix it?
I believe it is because it is nothing new; it isn’t bringing anything to the game market that wasn’t already there. To me, it is an upgrade to the PSP. There wasn’t a huge market for the PSP, so why would there be a huge market for the PS Vita? Sony needs to bring new features to the table that are new to the market. These days, people are more likely going to play games on their mobile phone than on a handheld device like the PS Vita. Making the social networking options more integrated and functional would be a plus as well, because what I’ve heard and read all over the Internet is that consumers aren’t using the social networking options as much as they should.
The simple answer? Games. PlayStation was so quick to pat itself on the back by beating Nintendo with a Vita launch line-up that put the 3DS to shame. Unfortunately, it seems like they stole two years of releases in the process. I could not have been more excited for this handheld. To think I could achieve a console experience on the go was mystifying, and undoubtedly appealing. As it turned out, though, Vita released with a bunch of sub-par counterparts done better for Big Brother PlayStation 3. It’s now nearly a year and a half after its North American debut, and I can’t think of a single upcoming release even remotely worthy of my excitement. Hopefully the future will fix it, but as it stands, the Vita will continue to see some dark days until developers produce strings of spectacular titles to tout about.
The Vita’s biggest problem has got to be its lack of quality games. When the Vita was first announced, we were all amazed by the possibilities of this amazing piece of hardware. We were all excited about how this technology could change the way we play games on the go. Now, the Vita is out, and we’re still waiting to see how this technology could be used. There have been some good games released on the Vita, but none that would justify the Vita’s expensive price tag. I want a Vita, but there just isn’t a great reason to buy one yet. The Vita just doesn’t have the exclusive games we crave. While the Vita’s price tag might deter some buyers, the lack of games has got to be the biggest thing keeping it from being a success.
Does the Vita need a price drop?
I think it does, even if it poses a risk to the market. I believe the price is what may be scaring off more buyers.
Considering the success received by the 3DS after its major price drop early on in its life cycle, doing the same thing with Vita would surely send systems off of store shelves. That said, I’m not sure a cheaper system is the right move at the moment. Sony is likely already losing mass amounts of cash with every Vita sold in hopes of making up the difference with software sales, and a price drop would only make this situation more extreme. Plus, the company as a whole is in a sort of financial hell right now (comparatively to the past, at least). Being risky isn’t something Sony wants to do, and it’d be better to focus on what they have and look for other opportunities to improve the experience as it is (like, for instance, with GAMES).
I don’t think the Vita needs a price drop. I think $250 is a fine price for the technology you’re getting. While I don’t think the price needs to change, I think the Vita needs to come with a 16GB memory card in the box. $250 is a good price, but the Vita’s actual price is much closer to $300 after you factor in the price of a 16GB (or 32GB) memory card and tax. The Vita doesn’t need a price drop, but it does need to come with more in the box.
What franchises need to be on the Vita?
I think getting the bigger titles like GTA, Killzone, etc. would definitely help the Vita get better coverage within the market.
Only one: Call of Duty. And, in a surprisingly positive twist, the Vita is getting Call of Duty in the form of Black Ops: Declassified. Of course, because it’s Vita, there has to be problems. For one, it would have been fantastic if this could have been the same Black Ops coming to consoles this holiday season. Imagine the attraction of being able to continue your multiplayer dominance away from home. Unfortunately, that ideal world isn’t our reality. Instead, what little we know about Declassified shows us that it is something separate. In my honest opinion, the long-term North American survival of the Vita depends on this game and this game alone. Kids love their Call of Duties, and a ho-hum portable shooter (see Resistance: Burning Skies) of the biggest gaming franchise in history will scar the handheld’s representation for all eternity.
Notice I included that “North American” qualifier up there, by the way. Like Call of Duty to us, Vita could dominate Japan with a stellar Monster Hunter title. But, like everything else with this system, only time will tell how it ultimately unfolds.
The Vita is going to get two of the biggest franchises it needs this fall in Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. These should help the Vita quite a bit, but I think the Vita also needs Monster Hunter and an exclusive Grand Theft Auto. Monster Hunter played a huge part in the PSP’s success. For some unexplained reason, Capcom decided to put Monster Hunter on the 3DS instead of the Vita. If the Vita is going to have a major turnaround in Japan, Sony has got to get Monster Hunter back. Also, an exclusive Grand Theft Auto would provide a serious boost in sales among Western audiences. Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas were all released on the PS2 at least a year before they were released on the Xbox. They sold over 60 million copies combined. These games provided a serious boost in the PS2′s sales. The Vita needs a boost like this. If Sony can get an exclusive Grand Theft Auto on the Vita, it will give the Vita’s sales a serious push forward.
The Vita has not gotten off to a good start, but it’s certainly not too late for things to turn around. Sony has both the best first-party lineup in the industry (in my opinion) and great relationships with third-party publishers. They have everything they need to save the Vita. Also, the Vita is an incredible piece of hardware. It has so much potential. It’s just a matter of whether or not the potential is tapped. If Sony can provide the Vita with the right price, games, and features, the Vita will have a great chance at making a comeback.