Opinion: The PS Vita is Stuck in the Middle of Nowhere

Last week’s Media Create sales in Japan should have opened the eyes of even the staunchest Vita supporter.

Things are looking grim with the 3DS outselling it by over 47 times. The sales numbers are humiliating worldwide and in the handheld’s home country, where it was expected to do well considering its predecessor PSP still has a good presence in the Japanese market and still gets a lot of local games that would be better off on the Vita.

The Vita seems to be a poorly planned product; a product which Sony just wanted to release due to being an obligation and giving people something they craved for with the PSP–two analogue sticks. Of course, times have changed now, however, with the rise of mobile gaming which makes dedicated handhelds obsolete by offering superior hardware, and software that is quite cheap and accessible.

While the Nintendo 3DS is doing good in Japan, its western sales leave a lot to be desired and there’s one thing’s for sure, it’s not going to sell as much as the DS did. I’m not predicting the death of dedicated gaming consoles (including home consoles), but the current trend indicates that.

Remember, the way you sell consoles is by supporting it with good software, these two are interdependent on each other and the lack of one will stunt the other. This is what we’ve been seeing with Vita, there are no big releases that will make people play on the handled for a significant amount of time. That’s how attachment is created, that’s how more software is sold. Sony, being in this industry for 15 years, haven’t really created franchises that are fit for mass market consumption.

It’s clear that the studios they have now are proficient in making games for their home consoles. There are, say, two franchises they have which sell more than 10 million consistently, one is Gran Turismo, and the other Unch… nah, So one, then. That’s appalling. This indicates a lack of plan, no clue of the market trends, and trying to ride the wave till it exists.

This is not how a responsible company should behave. They’ve done remarkably well when it comes to the PS3 but have floundered in the portable department. Sony has absolutely no idea of how to build portable franchises. I love that they create new IPs–that’s great, but most of the things they create have already been done before and again, aren’t really fit for mass market.

So again, the question posed here is a totally generic one. What will save the Vita? It’s never too late for a price drop but will a price drop without system selling games work? I don’t think so. However, a price drop is vital to bypass people’s mentality that the system is expensive. They need to do something about the memory cards as well, which will, no doubt be another factor which is putting off people from buying the system. The 4 GB card is pointless and should have bundled in for free.

I can’t believe Sony didn’t see this coming. Anyone could have told them that a portable Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty isn’t going to work, but they neglected the system hoping that it would work, and it didn’t. Go look at Black Ops: Declassified reviews, they’re appalling. Who will spend… wait for it… $50 for something like that? Yes, $50, for a mediocre game like that. The Vita is slowly dying due to a lot of poor decisions by a company that does not understand its audience and is crumbling worldwide.

They need to do a price drop, invest millions in securing third-party games, make more deals with developers and get more indie games on the system. They need to build an identity for the system, and fire the guy who named it “Vita”.