Today marks the fifth birthday for Sony’s handheld console the PlayStation Vita. Released five years ago back in 2012 it was a move by Sony to bring the level of games seen on the likes of the PlayStation 3 to the handheld market.
Packed with power and technology the system was a power house that was ready to handle any job it was given. That said, five years on we find ourselves watching the Vita slowly fade away into the background of the current gaming generation. Regardless of how the Vita is currently doing this fantastic piece of hardware is a great gaming device and one that shouldn’t be forgotten, even now on its fifth birthday.
When first announced, the Vita was met with some confusion, but mostly praise. Sony pitched the handheld as being a way to enjoy AAA games on the go with titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipeOut 2048, and Gravity Rush. Thanks to the power of the Vita and the many features it hand, it was looking like a promising console.
Of course, the handheld market has been Nintendo’s wheelhouse with the Nintendo 3DS holding the mass share of users. That is of course not taking into account smart phones. What was clear from day one though was that the Vita couldn’t keep that rapid release of AAA quality games due to the high cost of development and slow sales in units. Quickly the Vita fell silent, quiet and it all became oh so concerning for users of the system.
It was an awkward place to be in for the Vita. The system had touch screens, motion controls, cameras, good controls, and hardware to boot, yet for whatever reason was not preforming as it should have. It was a gamble that sadly had not paid off very well. Nonetheless, Sony did not give up on the Vita and nor did many of its fans. It’s around the half way point of its life that we saw a new life come into the Vita and the flood of indie games hit the market. At the same time the number of titles being ported for a western release grew as well, even if only for digital release. It was thanks to this push and the digital only route that we saw the Vita make a return.
People would often say that the Vita had no games but in truth it had plenty of games. Fantastic titles such as Gravity Rush, WipeOut 2048, Joe Danger, Fez, Steamworld Heist, HotLine Miami, Thomas Was Alone and Spelunky to name a few. But wait, there’s more. Persona 4: Golden, Virtue’s Last Reward, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, Tearaway, Odin Sphere, Dragon’s Crown, God Eater 2 and so many more.
Even more recently the Vita saw titles such as World of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Builders, and Zero Time Dilemma, for example. The Vita wasn’t just a casual handheld, is never has been, it’s a console where gamers could find a pool of amazing and interesting titles. Two personal favourites of mine were Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God and Velocity 2X. So yeah, to say that the Vita has no games is a bit of a misconception.
Later on, Sony made the move to release the PlayStation TV or Vita TV as it was also known as for some time. It was a way to bring the Vita into the home and to encourage streaming of PlayStation 4 games to another room in the house. Though production ended in 2016, the console did allow for a number of Vita games to be enjoyed on the larger screens of TVs.
It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it did its job, and a good number of classic PSP and PS One games were also supported by the PlayStation TV. Sony even released a new model of the Vita which was slimmer and available in more colours, showing that the handheld was still worth some investment from the company.
Though this was not the case for their first party titles. In fact, pretty much all the Vita games recently have been third party titles and that’s okay, but it’s safe to say Sony has given up on the handheld. As developers continued to support the platform, fans continued to show their support as well, investing in each other to ensure that the Vita continued to be a fantastic handheld console.
The PlayStation Vita isn’t dead. Far from it in fact, but it is starting to show its age. Sony may have moved away from the console shifting their focuses elsewhere, but they haven’t stop supporting third party developers. What makes the Vita so impressive is the range of games that it has available.
You could just turn it into a portable Final Fantasy gaming device if you so wanted. Nonetheless, there is a market of gamers who love their Vita’s (myself included) and developers know that. Sure, AAA gaming might not be the selling point of the Vita anymore but that does not impact what is otherwise a brilliant handheld console. The Vita isn’t dead, the Vita does have games and here’s hoping it stays for a few more years.
So, to you PlayStation Vita, happy birthday. Your still young in my eyes you beautiful thing you.
Now when am I getting Freedom Wars 2?