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Talking Point: What Does E3 2014 Tell Us About the Future of the PlayStation Vita?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Handheld hysteria

Ask a non-gamer to yawn through Sony’s meaty E3 2014 press conference, and they’ll probably come away with the assumption that the Japanese giant is a single console manufacturer. Much like Microsoft before it, the PlayStation 3 barely registered as a blip during its media briefing, and the PlayStation Vita only obtained a share of the limelight while the firm flaunted the potential of Remote Play – a feature rendered utterly useless unless you own a PlayStation 4. But does that mean that the organisation is more or less finished with its flagging portable platform?

That certainly appears to be the takeaway from the format’s biggest fans, who no doubt spent much of this week’s media briefing patiently waiting for Gravity Rush 2’s logo to appear on the company’s sizeable cinema screen. Alas, there was no cameo from Kat and crew, and even the platform holder’s microconsole – known in Japan as the PS Vita TV – seemed unwilling to burden itself with the branding of its technologically comparable contemporary, plumping up for the much more marketable PlayStation TV moniker instead. It certainly doesn’t look good, does it?

But as with recent years, you need to scratch beneath the surface to get to the good stuff, and there’s no shortage of that. Sony’s press conference may have been utterly dominated by the uber-popular PS4, but its booth is awash with a wealth of pocketable goodness. Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited are just a trio of the titles taking the spotlight, and there are dozens more. First-party foray Freedom Wars is garnering some seriously positive write-ups, while Murasaki Baby continues to look curiouser and curiouser.

The most impressive thing is the breadth of content: there’s everything from music festival management in BigFest to stylish espionage in CounterSpy – and even Metrico’s infographic action in between. Some of the games are exclusives, some are cross-buy, and others are ports – but in the case of Hohokum, Hotline Miami 2, and Home, they’re all releases that this author would rather play illuminated by the glow of a five-inch screen, rather than in the glare of a widescreen television.

We do get it: you want a commitment from the console manufacturer that it cares. There’s a consensus around the web that the variety of indie titles should very much be the cherry on the top of a triple-layer AAA cake, and we can very much appreciate that thought. With launch titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and spin-offs such as Killzone: Mercenary, the platform holder teased the potential of blockbusters in your bum bag, and it hasn’t really followed through with that vision since Tearaway tanked harder than a paper plane with a hole in each wing.

But, Media Molecule’s abovementioned exclusive aside, those titles haven’t really been the highlights as far as this editor’s concerned. They’re all great games, of that there’s no doubt, but we’d rather blast through The Binding of Isaac in bed than Borderlands 2. Of course, the platform holder’s predicament is comparable to a chicken and an egg: you need the blockbusters to draw people in, but with such a small install base, the big games are becoming harder to woo.

And unless the forthcoming port of Minecraft touches the machine with its money printing magic, we’re not expecting the put upon hardware to suddenly light up the charts. But that doesn’t mean that existing owners won’t be well serviced in the months to come; indie evangelist Shahid Ahmad recently pointed out on Twitter that he’s working on over 70 games, and if the attach rate remains as impressive as sources suggest, we don’t think that smaller studios will be skipping on the system any time soon.

It all depends if that’s what you want from the device. If the varied roster of bite sized titles aren’t holding your attention like a big blockbuster, then you may find that your interest in the system is about to sag. However, if you’re willing to indulge in the many indie experiments on the way, then you’re unlikely to run out of things to play. In all, we’ll refrain from claiming that the future looks bright, but it certainly doesn’t look any bleaker in the afterglow of this week’s big show. And if anything, the sheer variety of experiences on offer looks greater than ever.


What do you make of the current state of the Vita? Were you disappointed by the lack of announcements at E3, or were you expecting the machine to have a muted presence? Are you satisfied with the selection of indie titles, or are you waiting for something to really sink your teeth into? Pick a side in the comments section below.

What’s your current assessment of the Vita? (77 votes)

I love it and I’m looking forward to lots of forthcoming titles

55%

I’m neither satisfied nor dissatisfied really

16%

It’s not for me anymore and I’m considering selling mine soon

13%

I don’t actually own one

17%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (63)

Godsire-

#1

Godsire- said:

Sony has an amazing piece of hardware that they, apparently, have no idea how to market. While most VITA owners will tell you there are tons of great games for the system, a lot of people aren't just interested in obscure Japanese releases or the constant flow of indie titles. Sony promised AAA gaming on a portable & just hasn't delivered.

That and the memory cards are still insultingly expensive to the point of ridiculousness.

ferrers405

#2

ferrers405 said:

Ratchet&Clank Collection, Freedom Wars, Gravity Rush 2, Hotline Miami 2 and a lot of indies give some perspective for the future, beyond that i don't see a bright future for Vita, sadly...

rjejr

#3

rjejr said:

"known in Japan as the PS Vita TV – seemed unwilling to burden itself with the branding of its technologically comparable contemporary, plumping up for the much more marketable PlayStation TV moniker instead."

I think that says it all. End of Vita, end of discussion.

rastamadeus

#4

rastamadeus said:

Said before, I'll say it again: Sony don't get handhelds. More power doesn't work. Look at all the competition the GameBoy and DS machines have annihilated. Right from the off Sony haven't seemed to genuinely believe Vita will be anything other than a niche machine. In that respect it's a success. That was two years ago and now they blatantly don't give a damn about it. A shame as it is a great piece of kit with some fantastic titles (new and old).

Haven't personally voted as what I'd say "Love it but know Sony don't care" isn't there.

Mrskinner

#5

Mrskinner said:

I am considering selling mine. Seems to me the handheld is for Japanese exports and indie games only. Don't get me wrong, nothing wrong with that if you enjoy that, but I miss aaa titles on the machine. It has become a niche machine in my opinion and I only use it sometimes to remote play. Real shame, had the potential to be great

N711

#6

N711 said:

My vita is alive thank you.
So people love indies for Ps4 but not for Vita? Whatever

Mrskinner

#7

Mrskinner said:

@N711 I don't mind indie games at all so long as they are good. But I do crave AAA games too and I'm sorry to say it seems like the big studios are only interested in supporting ps4 not vita

sonyntendo

#8

sonyntendo said:

after this E3 i now understand why sony made the VITA with a rear touchpad for - so they can Backstab us after they take our money :(

sajoey

#9

sajoey said:

Just...just had to mention that Gravity Rush 2, huh? You know me so well.

Punished_Boss

#10

Punished_Boss said:

It turned out how I expected, which is not a good thing. They officially dumped it, they rebranded PS Vita TV and did not focus on the Vita aspect of it, nothing new for it. This was all happening beforehand, it just became painfully clear to many during and after E3. Its dead, its over and it has no future.

N711

#11

N711 said:

I don't play indies on PS4 except the few PS+ ones. Tbh I got my vita a few months ago and so many good games for it I haven't played yet.
There one PC game coming for Vita at some point but can't remember the name. Its top down turn base shooter squad 2 players really interested in that one

ErnisDy

#13

ErnisDy said:

Im dissatisfied, but I'm not going to sell my vita just because of free ps+ games. While vita is console for indie games and old ports, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, ps+ still gives good value.
I traded my 3DS for VIta, and I'm definitely buying 3DS again, it has so much more content and they announced a ton of new games for it at E3. Learn from nintendo sony, software sells hardwave, look at WiiU, no one wanted it(including me), after MK8 sales got more than 6 times bigger, and after seeing so many new WiiU games at E3 I'm actually considering getting it too.

Bliquid

#15

Bliquid said:

Final Fantasy Type-0.
I love my Vita (Dragon's Crown is one of the best games i ever played, i just can't put it down), but it's fate is clear: it has become the Dreamcast of portables, an astonishing machine that doesn't click with the mainstream.
So, Final Fantasy Type-0 is what happens when you have the chance to change the fate of a console but you are too stupid to invest.
Square-Enix have yet to realize, even if they tried it first hand for years now, what happens when you disrespect your fanbase and play money grab.
Same thing happened with Wii U, and it's taking unthinkable amounts of efforts to reverse that to Nintendo.
And Sony has been cutting loose ends for a while now, but this time was a short sighted move.
And to think that it would be the best console ever, for a proper Monster Hunter.

SimonAdebisi

#16

SimonAdebisi said:

I still have a big fat backlog and there are a ton more games I need to play so even if it gets more or less ditched by Sony I'll still have plenty to play over the next couple of years.

bman2112

#18

bman2112 said:

I play my vita every day. I plan to play it a whole lot more when the games I want come out on ps4. It's sad tho. Awesome bit of kit, poorly marketed. Someone, somewhere better have lost their job over this!!

Cyrso

#19

Cyrso said:

@rjejr

No, that's just makes sense the PlayStation brand name is much bigger than PSVita brand name.

I'm actually considering buying a Vita. :)

Bliquid

#20

Bliquid said:

@Cyrso please do, you won't regret it.
But since the direction Sony gave it is that of a compendium/add on machine, i'd wait for X-mas to see if you can get a bargain.

FROST27

#21

FROST27 said:

I think they can do better on the vita i want bigger titles on the vita like LBP,KILLZONE,Uncharted,Allstars,mortal kombat they are all good games for the vitai love them play my vita everyday i love my vita but the games that are coming out for it im mad as hell there know good games coming out besides Minecraft, and that game freedom wars these are the only games that look good for vita I hope they bring out bigger titles for the vita or im just sell my vita

rjejr

#22

rjejr said:

OK, before @JaxonH shows up and my previous comment gets his panties all in a bunch... ;-)

Sony isn't dropping the Vita, it's obviously supporting it via PS4 remote play and PSNow, but it isn't getting any more love than that. Well maybe they'll start bundling it w/ PS4 as a controller. I think Apple TV is an apt comparison. That thing has been around for 7 years, but you would never know it. iPods were everywhere, iPhones are everywhere. iPads are everywhere. How many Apple TV commercials and ads do you see? It still exists, you can still buy one, but you could spend your whole life w/o knowing about it. Even Apple fans may not know what operating system it runs, it never seems to come up in conversation about iOS and MacOS updates.

So the Vita will be out there for years yet, but I wouldn't expect a flood of AAA titles ever again.

sinalefa

#23

sinalefa said:

I have a PS3, have considered getting a PS4 around 2015 (although PlatinumGames is tempting me to get a Xbone instead), but I have never really considered getting a Vita.

I never felt Sony gave enough worthy exclusives to it, if they did then I would have gotten (or get) one. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Jazzer94

#24

Jazzer94 said:

Vita is dead to Sony not to me, it's still a great piece of kit but man has Sony done a terrible job recently, indies games are great (Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is up there in my most anticipated games) but where are all the bigger exclusives aside from Freedom Wars (looks awesome) and Heart R everything is just poor at the moment and it seems Sony doesn't give a damn.

Vader-Taters

#27

Vader-Taters said:

I really feel like the Vita is in the same boat as the Wii U, it's a really great piece of hardware but due to marketing issues a lot of developers are refusing to give it the attention it deserves. However to be entirely honest I feel that the Wii U is getting far better support from Nintendo than what Sony has given the Vita which makes me sad as I really like the Vita. There are several games I still want to pick up for the Vita but aside from Gravity Rush 2 and Freedom Wars there are few that can't be played on another system. That being said I find that when I enjoy a game I would like to take it and play it wherever I go so ports like the God of War Collection, Borderlands 2, and Playstation All Stars are very much welcome in my opinion. I hope we will see the Vita getting the exclusives and support it so desperately needs and deserves in the near future!

Boerewors

#28

Boerewors said:

For some reason I always tend to have a weak spot for the underachieving consoles, not because they aren't delivering, but because far too little people own one to see its genius. The vita and the Wii U are in the same boat: nobody seems to care, but their libraries just won't let me go. I've almost been playing on these both consoles non stop this year, but I also own a ps4 and 3ds. Usually when it doesn't attract the masses, you get these excellent games who else would have never seen the light of day. The vita alone has more great games than I can play and that is without even considering remote play, with is an excellent feature. When I was first introduced to remote play with my U, I immediately knew this was everything I ever wanted, without actually knowing it. I have played more "Vita hours" on my ps4 as "tv hours" and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Games like MLB 14 (ps4 version) and trials just play as the real thing and I love my vita for being able to display it. On my nightstand I have this awesome handheld which enables me to play my ps4 and a ton of dedicated content whenever I want! And with the vita it's the same story as the Wii U: they don't just need bigger or more games, they need better marketing, they need to be understood by the masses. People still refer to the vita as the PSP whenever they see me playing it, so Sony needs to re-introduce the Vita so it will be just as well known as the 3ds.... And let's be honest: with which handheld would you rather be seen in public? The vita or the 3ds???

adf86

#29

adf86 said:

I think Gamescom will be the big test, after all Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway, Football Manager, Murazaki Baby & Borderlands 2 were all announced there, I still wonder about that GTA City Stories trademark. The 3rd party initiative that brought Borderlands 2 to Vita may not stop there. E3 had to be all about PS4 frankly where's europe with Gamescom seems to be a bigger market for it E.G. Slim Vita released here first instead of U.S.

Heiki

#30

Heiki said:

What sets Sony apart from Nintendo is that Nintendo isn't giving up on the Wii U, even though it's in the same predicament as the Vita.
Just look at E3. It was all about the Wii U. They could just focus on their best-selling 3DS and enjoy more sales, but they are learning from their mistakes and trying to turn the tables on their home console.

I just don't see Sony doing that for the Vita or even for the PS3. Just look at how many amazing games are coming only to PS3 and PS Vita (Persona 5, Freedom Wars, Tales of Xillia 2...), and yet Sony hardly mentioned them.

As for me, I still love my Vita and my PS3 (and my Wii U and 3DS, for that matter). I honestly don't feel compelled to get a PS4, though that may change soon with more Japanese games coming. I just hope the Vita manages to find its place, because it has amazing games.

divinelite

#31

divinelite said:

Had a big hope in 2012, a mild one in 2013

Now i resigned for fate in 2014. I love all japanese translated games supports that it had but for western non inide game other than child of light is simly non existant

And that is why vita cannot get more new people in the west... Such a wasted opportunities

divinelite

#32

divinelite said:

Looking amount of game with 3ds vita surely won but it had super smash and pokemon (again) which surely no game for vita in 2014 can even having the same level... sigh

Vita is good for everything but reason for normal people to buy it. And looking at US sales i really afraid of it

rjejr

#33

rjejr said:

@sinalefa "PlatinumGames is tempting me to get a Xbone instead"

Plat should be tempting you to buy a Wii U instead ;-) (Just kidding, I'm off to try my luck at 100cc)

feelthesarcasm

#34

feelthesarcasm said:

I prefer handheld gaming and my console is secondary right now but even with that in mind, I'd only get a Vita if I didn't have another sony system. Marketing is part of the problem but another one is exclusives. It doesn't have to be AAA games but it should be games I can't already get on my PS3. Are some games better suited for handheld? Of course, but that's not enough to make me spend as much as they want for a Vita and memory card.

Out of the next 14 games listed on Amazon for release, 10 are 3DS exclusives.

Out of the next 15 games listed on Amazon for release, 5 are Vita exclusives.

Back to marketing though, not only does Sony not market the Vita enough, but they really only market it to PS owners. As if the only people who should get a Vita are people who have a PS3 or PS4. They don't have many options for a casual gamer or those games that everyone, including hardcore gamers can enjoy (like LBP and Smash Bros for example).

sinalefa

#35

sinalefa said:

@rjejr

When PlatinumGames released the wonderful The Wonderful 101, I was there day 1 with my launch day Wii U. After beating it, I went and bought each and every Platinum game, except for Infinite Space and Madworld since I already had it (also day 1). So Xbone getting an exclusive PG game is forcing my hand.

I kid you not, if for the last three years I could buy a console each holiday season based on the games I want to play, I would be getting a third Wii U this Christmas.

Good luck at MK. Since none of us are stellar players, maybe we could play it someday.

alphadrago5

#37

alphadrago5 said:

I love my vita and all the games on it. I'm fine with games only coming out now and then, and I can accept that it's not one of Sony's priorities..
But they barely even mentioned it at E3.. Instead of that boring segment with technical stuff that everyone hated, they could have easily talked about all the stuff that's coming for vita. I didn't even know tales of Xillia 2 was coming for vita, something like that would've been fantastic to hear and would've been enough to keep me excited, but the lack of any attention for the vita is just abysmal. Remote Play isn't an insta-seller for the vita. I've used it once.. maybe twice in total since it came out.
Show the handheld some love sony.. <3

ShogunRokAdmin

#38

ShogunRok said:

As time's gone on, I've found myself coming back to my Vita more often. It's got a rather formidable library of Japanese titles, many of which are RPGs that boast a lot of content and replayability. The console's become a bit of a JRPG haven for me.

ObviouslyAdachi

#39

ObviouslyAdachi said:

Once again the Vita's future is looking bleak. The only titles I'm looking forward to are Minecraft, Hotline Miami 2, Home, and Hohokum. Freedom Wars? People are excited about that?????? Boring. I don't like the art style, that gameplay is tired, and the premise certainly is not "brilliant" as IGN might like you to believe. I mean come on, million year sentences and doing good deeds to lessen them? Sounds like a ten year old made that up, no offense ten year olds. This doesn't look promising AT ALL but I am sure we'll get some more "blockbusters" eventually.

ToddlerNaruto

#40

ToddlerNaruto said:

Sadly there are only 11 PSVita games that interest me, while the 3DS has 19 games.

I'll probably still end up buying a PSVita next year though (after I buy a 3DS this Christmas), if the Wii U doesn't release more games I want, that can't be played on a PlayStation or Xbox.

AeroZeppelin

#41

AeroZeppelin said:

@adf86 Yeah I'm sure Vita will get more attention at GamesCom and TGS don't know why people still think E3 is the be all end all of game conferences it used to be that but not anymore

Gamer83

#44

Gamer83 said:

@adf86

With recent news indicating a surprise for those who re-buy GTA V on PS4 I'm guessing the City Stories is related to that. Sony could still have a Vita announcement or two for Gamescom, but I wouldn't count on it having anything to do with GTA at all.

ThreadShadow

#45

ThreadShadow said:

I think we're all gathered here today to say goodbye to ... sorry, ran out of memory.
The 'Vita' is a walking dead machine. Poor little fella. Sony's idea of remote play won't save it either because now developers can ignore it even more. It's just a controller, something to mildly compete with the Wii U Gamepad. It's being positioned as an optional controller, not a game machine in it's own right. So expect an excruciating trickle of titles, mostly digital only softcore-'stuff' from Japanese devs, and any quality stuff when Sony finds time to throw it a bone.
Think about it. Square-enix spent the money to reengineer Type-0 for PS4, and xBone of all things, not Vita. That's a real punch in the gut when they know they make money in the portable market and release games on 3DS/iOS relatively often.

I wonder if Gravity Rush 2 is being rebuilt for PS4.

Gamer83

#46

Gamer83 said:

@ThreadShadow

We can only hope Gravity Rush 2 is going to PS4. As great as it would e on Vita, it would be even better backed by the power of PS4 and the larger userbase means more people to potentially get it out to.

R-L-A-George

#48

R-L-A-George said:

I kind of agree with everyone, it doesn't seem to be terribly alive on the market. Some of the marketing attempts seem to have a futility. I still want one. However would never give up having 3DS for one. (Before I can afford Vita, I really need to get myself a 3DS XL, because of a certain thing.)

get2sammybAdmin

#49

get2sammyb said:

@Gamer83 @ThreadShadow I'm starting to think that Gravity Rush 2 will be a PS4 game. We haven't heard a peep about that for a long time. I kinda hope it is a PS4 game to be honest, too — there's so much potential to the franchise.

Sutorcen

#50

Sutorcen said:

Is it me or we are going to see a PS Vita 2 next year, with faster CPU more RAM, backwards compatible and with better battery life?

JMC

#52

JMC said:

@get2sammyb
I kinda hope it's not, as it's the ONLY game that I want for the Vita in the foreseeable future and I don't intend to get a PS4 so soon.
I love my Vita, but I'm really disapointed with it as it's not getting any love at all. I'm primarily a handheld gamer, as I don't get too much time to play my consoles at home, so the lack of support to Vita is really bad as I don't care much abou indie titles.
My 3DS gets all my love and I play it every day. THAT machine has a ton of games that are very good and I play so many games in it that I even haven't got around to play all the ambassador titles I got way back because there's always something new and interesting. I'm looking forward to playing Persona Q, Theathrhythm Final Fantasy, Layton Vs Ace Attorney as well as Super Smash Bros.
If the Vita got a few more bigger titles it would definetely get more love. But it's disapointing as the best game for it this year (at least for me), as Final Fantasy X/X2 HD as there was nothing else... The Type-0 announcment mad it just that more sad...

AVahne

#53

AVahne said:

Memory.
Freaking.
Cards.
They need to bring the 64 GB card over and drop the prices of the cards again. Sony keeps showing mostly just indies and download only games, yet they require us to sell an organ in order to buy the storage needed to download those games. Is Sony really that stupid?
I personally love my Vita, but I really hate Sony's attitude toward it. Are they really bleeding so much money that they can't put equal amounts of focus in multiple consoles?

baconcow

#54

baconcow said:

Vita + Indies = Incredible future for the machine... for me. There is no other portable producing a platform for indies, like this.

fishwilson

#55

fishwilson said:

In my two years+ of owning the Vita I have played one game on it. And that game was Gravity Rush. And even if its the only game I'll ever play on my Vita I still won't regret buying it. But its kind of sad that a handheld with so much potential don't get the games it deserves.

FATHASUN

#56

FATHASUN said:

What is HOME? On Vita? I'm usually well kept up on all gaming news but obviously I'm missing something.

rjejr

#57

rjejr said:

@sinalefa - "Good luck at MK"

I played the 1st 3 cups on 100cc - switched to the car for fear of crashing - and the good news is I won the gold cup on all 3 first try, bad news I only 3 starred 1, 2 starred another and zero stars on 1. How can I win the Gold Cup and get zero stars? Nintendo really wants me to replay these cups forever. :-)

rjejr

#58

rjejr said:

@JaxonH - "That would be fine, if they didn't sell it to me as a separate platform first."

So you took my long thought out Apple TV - Vita comparison and dismantled it in 1 short sentence b/c Steve Job stated that Apple TV was a hobby while Vita was supposed to be a home console in your hand?

I only have 1 thing to say to you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9_8YxDQYCo

617Sqn

#59

617Sqn said:

I think in a few years time, the vita will be seen as a cult machine, it will be the last true great handheld, gamers will miss it once its gone, and all we have to play on the bus or in our lunch break is **** android/IOS app's, But they will have no one else to blame but them selfs ... "won't buy a vita till the mem cards are £2 cheaper !"

JMC

#60

JMC said:

@617Sqn
Vita won't be the last true great handheld because Nintendo will keep making great handhelds that have tons of games.

Ralizah

#61

Ralizah said:

As someone uninterested in PS4 but who loves his Vita, I was a little annoyed by the lack of support from Sony. Thankfully there are a ton of localizations and indies to fill the gap.

Dizzard

#63

Dizzard said:

I got a Vita recently. I feel pretty safe because a big part of that purchase was because of the Japanese niche games it has. Not to mention there's old ps1 and psp games I never got to play.

The Indies don't hurt either.

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