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 PLAYSTATION VITA FEATURE

Top 10 things Sony needs to do to turn around the Vita's fortunes

All the answers
 
Top 10 PS Vita charts PS Vita, thumbnail 1
The Vita's in a bit of a slump. It hasn't been selling too well, and there's a distinct dearth of new games hitting the PlayStation Store.

While it's far too early to write off Sony's powerhouse portable as a failure, it's clear that the company needs to do something to generate interest in the Vita among the game-playing public.

So, with that in mind, we've dreamt up ten surefire ways in which Kaz Hirai and co. can do exactly that...

Get PSone emulation done, move onto PlayStation 2 games

Games designed for the original PlayStation should have been available shortly after launch to keep excitement high. As of writing, they're still unplayable on the handheld. This issue needs to be resolved immediately.

Once that's fixed, the PlayStation 2 catalogue needs to make its way over to the system. Ico, for example, could enthral a brand-new audience, while Killer7 could rekindle an old passion for action-adventures.

More Vita games

There aren't too many breathtaking Vita games on the horizon, unfortunately, and most owners have likely already burned through the top-tier efforts.

What the Vita needs now, then, is a steady stream of solid games to keep early adopters happy and to entice the potential audience that's out there.

More games, more time with the system, more chatter among gamers. It all equals more sales.



Keep doing - and improve upon - social elements

The Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Skype apps are all seamlessly integrated into the Vita, but given it's such a well-connected system, people aren't just using it for social purposes as much as they could. (Game Goods do also add incentive to keep the unit with you, but the rewards are currently minimal.)

Our recommendations in this department: more cool DLC for those who spend their time out and about; better integration of social media into future games; and, heck, greater opportunity to inject your own personality into your profile.



Look to the mobile market

Not only is the Vita competing for mindshare in the market with the 3DS, but it's also having to compete for attention with iOS and Android.

And I don't need to tell Pocket Gamer readers how many incredible experiences can be found for the price of a chocolate bar on either Apple's or Google's mobile platform.

Courting smaller, independent developers to put their next mobile game out on the system would be a start. Allowing them to be competitive with Apple's App Store and Google Play in terms of pricing would be a massive boon, too.



Make games you can't get anywhere else

Sony has set its portable gaming device apart from phones, home consoles, and the 3DS in many ways. It has unique control inputs, requires a different psychological mindset when sitting down to play on it, and packs a huge amount of technological grunt.

That type of hardware needs products that you simply can't imagine playing on any another system, titles that take advantage of the inherent advantages the platform brings.

Monster Hunter
did it for PSP, Vita needs an equivalent - and fast.



More dual-developed PS3 / Vita games

We were once told that PlayStation 3 games are easy to port to Vita. But, every other week, we see a PS3 game that isn't coming to Vita. Titles like Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale and LittleBigPlanet Karting, for instance.

There's no reason not to migrate them across, either. Given the two consoles share similar control layouts, somewhat comparable system specs, and an audience that wants big-game experiences on the move, these games need to hit Vita, too.



Get the big guns out

Killzone, Gran Turismo, Infamous, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy - these are all much-loved franchises that might compel people to go out there and buy a brand-new handheld system.

Build a few of these for Vita, Sony, and they will come.



Don't forget about nurturing new IP

On the flip side to the above point, Vita developers need to be seen to embrace new ideas and introduce new properties.

Escape Plan
is artistic, funny, inventive, and just plain excellent - it shows that spending the time and resources to foster talent and take risks with new characters and scenarios can engender high-quality work.



Make more of the online world

Why have so few Vita games attempted to build a strong online community hitherto? LittleBigPlanet is a little way off, but that title alone is not enough.

Sony needs to encourage the rise of tightly knit, super-engaged groups who think Vita whenever they think multiplayer.

And you know what? Get a big MMO on there, too. I know I'd buy a 3G Vita to play World of Warcraft on the train.



Price drop

Yeeeees... this is the big one. The hardest one to swallow. That RRP? It's got to be reduced significantly.

It'll be a big risk, obviously, but right now one of the largest factors putting off buyers is the price. Get the system in enough hands and the sales of software should go through the roof.

In turn, this ought to encourage third parties to make more games for it, which again would increase sales. It's just simple maths, really.
 

Reviewer photo
Peter Willington 7 May 2012
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May 2012
Post count:
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joe1j | 23:04 - 24 May 2012
MONSTER HUNTER! NOW!
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May 2012
Post count:
1
luke02010 | 15:36 - 9 May 2012
I find myself considering buying games /im not really excited by just because the lack of choice at the moment... Well Im not genna do it dam it... Sony just bring sum gud games out while they still have our attension, how else are they genna sell vitas, plus Im alttle disapointed theres not a button lock on the vita, i used to like using my psp as a walkman... cheaper memorycards 2...
Joined:
Apr 2012
Post count:
4
singhapura | 13:56 - 8 May 2012
The Vita is a great device but please open the Vita to the community if only for non-gaming apps! Use the back catalogue of PSX, PSP and maybe PS2 games to offer a huge and cheap choice of impulse buys. Most of my iDevice games I bought on impulse because they weren't $40-60 and I could download them immediately.
Joined:
May 2012
Post count:
1
headcazsephil | 11:19 - 8 May 2012
i need and i bet loads of others need a bigger memcard 32gb is to small if sony want to sell more from i need more space as having to move games to pc/ps3 to make room for other games make my lets oh well want it lets get it harder
Joined:
Sep 2011
Post count:
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kalofkrypton | 09:33 - 8 May 2012
I got my Vita for
Joined:
Apr 2011
Post count:
24
Facelord | 00:43 - 8 May 2012
Ugh, I made multiple typos; this is what happens when antidepressants make you sleep 16 hours a day, your brain processes everything much more slowly.

Ahem: I'll play Dungeon Defenders way more on my Vita than on my PC, and if they promoted those truly AAA PSP titles I'm sure Vita owners would be way more satisfied with their system. Right now no one wants to take the effort to go through the PSP store on the Vita to try to find a game that isn't shovelware or a crappy port of a console game. :<
Joined:
Apr 2011
Post count:
24
Facelord | 00:39 - 8 May 2012
I think they should focus on promoting PSP games at the moment, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is currently on sale but you won't see that on the Vita store at all. I purchased GoW:GoS and was blown away, it's so much better than Uncharted: Golden Abyss or any other Vita game I've purchased so far. If they promoted games like Peace Walker, God of War, Dissidia and Valkyria Chronicles 2(there's currently a $22.50 bundle for it on the PSP online store with its DLC, you can access it through Media Go if you're like me and your PSP's broken. You may need a PS3 to download it and put it on your Vita, I haven't tried it yet since I don't have the funds for it).

I could see Sony having their own app store across smartphones and supported by the Vita; that said, I'd much rather own more awesome downloadable titles like Tales from Space than Angry Turds. When Dungeon Defenders hits the Vita I'm sure I'll play it more on my Vita than on my PSV, 1080p be damned. The Vita doesn't need smartphone gaming trash, it needs the kinda indie games consoles and PCs get.

I think Hirai and Friends are waiting to see how well Call of Duty will sell on the $250 Vita to drop its price. I'm sure they'll be satisfied then and they'll be able to wait another year or so to drop its price; I'd like to see its price drop so relatives and friends can purchase a Vita more comfortably but my $300 3G Vita is more than worth the cost of admission. I would've paid more if I had to, I remember when the Vita's price was announced at E3 everyone cheered and Nintendo people shat their pants. I could see the Vita's price dropping to $230 by Christmas, no more than that though.
Joined:
May 2012
Post count:
1
xxxxxxxxxx | 21:17 - 7 May 2012
Someone has invested tens of millions of dollars into this device, army of people worked on its design, functionality, marketing etc... Every single of your 10 amazing points involves significant and material economic decision for the company, which will inevitably affect first the costs and then revenues. Of course there is the issue of scarcity of resources etc. What you are really saying is that Sony should have delayed release of the VITA for another several months to produce more software, but this would be economically wasteful - they already had an 'imperfect' and 'incomplete' but functional product which they managed to sell to thousands of ppl at the same time creating real time platform for testing and improving.
Besides it looks like reaction of the market suggest that Sony can expect large demand if only good quality softwarre is produced, for game developers it means that if they invest a year or two into developing a game by that time there will be large market of vita owners to sell it to. These things take time.
I dont think sony will decrease the price, the vita is already cheap (£180 on amazon) - simply there are too many PS3 owners and other people who want to buy it, but delay their purchase for this or other reason; moreover PS Vita havent got its first christmas sales yet, so reducing the price isnt the best idea.
More ps1 and ps2 games there are on the vita less likely some gamers (especially those new to playstation) will be to buy new and more expensive games. What if some developers dont like that idea as it may have negative effect on their sales? What if this may affect their willingness to invest in development of a new title?
None of these decisions is insignificant!

Joined:
Jun 2010
Post count:
213
RB10 | 20:12 - 7 May 2012
@amansth,

Good spot regarding Kaz. I must have been experiencing a senior moment. :-)
Joined:
Mar 2012
Post count:
4
Kayoss | 19:47 - 7 May 2012
I agree with all your points. The biggest problem here with the Vita, is that there were lots of promises, but we have yet seen Sony carry out those promises. Whats the point of having a Handheld device that is comparable to the PS3 in the palm of your hands and not have games for it??
Sony needs to create an App store where all the games that you can get on the Itunes or android market, you can get on the Vita.
Cross play was a big reason why many people bought a ps vita, and where is it right now? It should be full blown by now but theres only a handful of games that are capable of doing this. My Vita been sitting on the shelves since i beat uncharted and marvel vs capcom 3. If Sony keeps this up, they will kill the PS Vita.
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