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Reaction: PlayStation Vita Is Back in Play

Posted by Sammy Barker

Drumming up hype

Sony evidently heard the criticism to its lacklustre E3 showing earlier in the year. SCEE executive Jim Ryan’s declaration that the first hour of its GamesCom 2012 PlayStation press conference would be devoted to the Vita was proof enough. For perhaps the first time in the history of the brand, the platform holder shrugged aside its home console and placed the spotlight on its fledgling handheld. It was a necessary, timely and brilliantly calculated move.

Last night’s GamesCom press conference made E3 look like a dress rehearsal. The Japanese giant did away with the unnecessary grandeur of last year’s Diversity performance, opting to keep things straight-forward and simple. Games were the takeaway – and the platform holder had lots of them. But it was the nature of the games that really stood out for Vita.

For years Sony has been criticised by some for relegating its smaller teams to handheld titles, but the platform holder emphatically eschewed that trend last night. Media Molecule’s co-creator Alex Evans introduced new Vita exclusive Tearaway with affable awkwardness, while Guerrilla Games’ logo lingered ahead of a stunning Killzone: Mercenary trailer. The takeaway: two of Worldwide Studio's most important first-party outfits are committed to producing exclusive content for the platform.

It was the show of faith that E3 had failed to recognise. There’s no doubt that Jack Tretton and co believed the Vita’s showing in Los Angeles was strong enough – in truth, the company had plenty of titles on the show floor – but the lack of commitment to its future line-up set alarm bells ringing. At the time, it seemed like not even Sony had faith in its own device.

But it’s incredible how a handful of carefully prepared announcements can completely change perception, and Sony executed its game plan with exact precision last night. For perhaps the first time since its launch, interest in the platform soared – a necessity considering the recent gloominess surrounding its prospects.

Of course, it would be naive to assume that the system is saved; it still faces serious challenges. For one, the price of entry is far too high for the mainstream consumer, and that will limit the reach of potential blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. But that the support is present in the first place paints an overwhelmingly more positive outlook for the platform, and perception is ultimately paramount.

Sony couldn’t afford to put a foot wrong last night – and it didn’t. If anything, it exceeded expectations. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified’s less than stellar showing will go down as the one disappointment in the otherwise assured showing, but even that wasn’t enough of a letdown to disrupt the underlying message that Vita is indeed back in play.

What were your thoughts on Sony's GamesCom 2012 press conference? Are you looking forward to the newly announced Vita titles? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (17)

Kayoss

#1

Kayoss said:

So far Sony covered a lot of what fans wanted, more games. However I agree that the price is still a little too steep for non-hard core gamers this include the memory card. But I really do like the idea of cross-buy. If Sony keep answering consumers I think the vita can still see a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. I think its about time Sony reduce the price on the Vita and get as many sold as possible in order to get 3rd party support. Once you get number high enough, developers will flock to the Vita.

Squiggle55

#4

Squiggle55 said:

Sony needs to raise the sales of the Vita with first party stuff this year, and then maybe next year Capcom and Activision will grace us with a real effort. I still think a proper Call of Duty for the west and a Monster Hunter for the east are still the most likely ways to actually get the Vita to explode in popularity.

As far as I'm concerned though, since I don't care for either of those games in particular, I'm very happy with all of these announcements. Tearaway looks fun, and Killzone and Ratchet & Clank are two games that I am beyond excited to play on my Vita. LBP is coming soon. All I need is a Vita Final Fantasy and the handheld is complete as far as I'm concerned.

shinobi88

#5

shinobi88 said:

This Gamescom presentation BLEW ME AWAY. All you inept video game sites (partially joking here) told us all we should expect was two Playstation game announcements, with no guarantee either was related to Vita. Instead, for the Vita alone, we get TWO game announcements (Tearaway and Ratchet & Clank), TWO 1st gameplay reveals (Killzone and Call of Duty), a new bundle, a hard date for PS Once classics, news on PS Plus coming to Vita, and another HUGE announcement that a slew of Iphone-style mobile games will be coming to Vita. This made E3 look like a joke. And I'm still giddy honestly.

The bad news is I'm a realist. And even if the Vita had a game where you could control a topless Megan Fox, it wouldn't be a huge seller. History has proven OVER and OVER from the Dreamcast, to the PS3, to the 3DS, that price is the #1 thing in determining a system's sales. Vita needs to be marked down at LEAST $30 and the price of memory cards needs to be halved

Back to actual Vita gaming, I LOVE how they are making brand new PS3 releases come out in the exact same form on Vita. PS Battle Royale, When Vikings Attack, Ratchet & Clank, Sonic Racing Transformed, and Sly Cooper are all Vita games I'm MOST looking forward too. I'm worried that when the PS4 comes out, they won't be able to do this anymore, since the PS4 will make a huge jump graphically

shinobi88

#6

shinobi88 said:

Not that I don't also dig Vita exclusives. AC III Liberation & Killzone Mercenaries look like console quality blockbusters you can only find on Vita. And there's always the inevitable Gravity Rush 2 to look forward to...

IAmNotWill

#7

IAmNotWill said:

If this thing can get to $200 with cheaper memory cards, and some system sellers, the Vita will start moving places.

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

@shinobi88 I was honestly surprised they showed so much. I don't think anyone expected them to announce as much as they did last night.

Mahra

#10

Mahra said:

I think The Gamescom presentation Was Amazing :D Tear Away Looks Really Fun :P

DM666

#11

DM666 said:

The Teraway trailer had me pretty much gobsmacked It makes all the Vitas features make sense, looks really good.

stealth

#13

stealth said:

It really isnt back in play

3 bad features, 1 new first party title

doesnt change the fact nobody else is supporting it

and it will remain dead last

Chrisarsenalsav

#14

Chrisarsenalsav said:

No support?
Fifa, needforspeed, blackops, assassin creed, F12013, StreetfighterXtekken
4 major 3rd party publizhers(EA, ACTIVISION, UBISOFT, Codemasters,capcom
Judt to name a few.
Nuff said

Flashman

#16

Flashman said:

@Chrisarsenalsav All the titles you listed for the Vita also have versions for PS3. Its hardly an incentive to stump up a few hundred quid to buy a handheld!! In fact if you didn't buy the vita you could afford to buy all of those titles for your PS3 and still have change for a couple of pints of Lager!!

BlueProxy

#17

BlueProxy said:

@IAmNotWill
Yep, $200 system, and $250 bundles would def help. Don't get me started with that whole memory card mess though. No excuse more those prices... NONE.

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