There’s no doubt that the PlayStation Vita has enjoyed an excellent start to 2014. However, the problem is that only engaged users are aware of that. Titles like Toukiden: The Age of Demons and Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc have proved hits around the office, while smaller exclusives such as OlliOlli and TxK have received plenty of playtime, too. With none of these releases belonging to big brands, though, is the struggling system’s future consigned to a tiny subset of hardcore gamers?
“[The] Vita is proving to be a big niche device,” the ever candid SCEUK overlord Fergal Gara told MCV. “Using the term ‘niche’ makes it sound tiny, but it’s not. The console is occupying an interesting space for interesting games built for more committed gamers. Yes, the market place for it isn’t as big as it might have been had smartphones not arrived, but it's still a more thorough, more complete experience. And it’s therefore appealing to people with a more eclectic taste in games.”
It’s a more than reasonable comment, but does that mean that we should give up hope on big-budget boxed games? “It would be fair to pick up that there wasn’t a second Call of Duty made specifically for the Vita,” continued Gara. “But what’s changed is that Call of Duty: Ghosts was available on the Vita via Remote Play on the PS4. And the Vita is sort of evolving as a platform.” If that’s the mentality within the firm, then we’d argue that it’s probably best to temper your expectations.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the company isn’t committed to bringing new content to the console, and that’s reinforced by the outstanding attach rate that the system commands. “That’s why we will continue to support it,” he added. “The device is loved, it has a place. Sure it’s not enormous, but there are green shoots that show its position in the market will be at least as big with the advent of the PS4.”
Despite this, though, the company doesn’t see the pocketable platform catching up to the Nintendo 3DS, which was the best-selling gaming gizmo in the UK last year. “We want to have a healthy share of that handheld market,” he concluded. “But we are playing fairly differently to the Nintendo 3DS, when you think that that is a dedicated handheld device with a very strong showing amongst kids. Vita is positioned differently.”
What do you make of the current state of Sony’s slender system? With titles such as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, Borderlands 2, and Invizimals: The Alliance on the way, it’s hardly all doom and gloom. But then again, we can’t imagine that any of these releases will move a significant number of units, meaning that the format will probably remain within its niche for the foreseeable future. Is there anything that the firm can do to reverse the unit's fortunes? Let us know in the comments section below.