So the Vita is almost available for retail consumption.
I think this is a device that the consumer population does not need. Am I going to get one? Absolutely, but it’s not necessary. Think of all the other devices out there already that do more than what the Vita does. The only thing the Vita has going for it is that it’s a dedicated portable gaming system. But let’s break this down a bit more. Portable? Maybe in the sense that it doesn’t have to be plugged into the TV, but it’s hardly something you could fit in your pocket. Although, the 5 inch OLED screen is the most beautiful thing these eyes have ever seen – it actually makes me feel like my vision has gotten better. But still, the system is just too big. Like Sega Game Gear big, but skinnier. It’s basically a small iPad or a large iPod touch, either of which serve as a multipurpose device to a much greater degree. It does however answer my main complaints about those devices. I always felt that gaming on apple products and tablets was a waste of time. The games available for it are largely casual and can never really be considered viable for the core gamer audience. In addition, the lack of button or a control pad of any kind hinders gameplay. The onscreen control pads are awful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my large, obtrusive thumbs getting in the way of the action. And without the direct tactile sense of control, they never are as response as an analog stick.
Now since it is a dedicated gaming system, what does it offer in games? There will be 16 games available on the 15th and another 6 by the 22nd. But are any of them a system seller? Uncharted is just about the only game that would be a must buy, and Sony knows it since Uncharted is the only game with a $50 price point. All other games falling somewhere between $30 – $40. Sony wants to cash in on the one game they know everyone’s going to buy. Here’s the list so you can make up your own minds:
- Asphalt: Injection
- Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour
- Lumines Electronic Symphony
- FIFA Soccer
- F1 2011
- Dungeon Hunter Alliance
- Michael Jackson: The Experience
- Rayman Origins
- ModNation Racers
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
- Wipeout 2048
- Hot Shots Golf World Invitational
- Ben 10 Galactic Racing
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss
- Little Deviants
- Ridge Racer
- Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
- Touch My Katamari
- Army Corps of Hell
- Dynasty Warriors NEXT
- Ninja Gaiden Sigma PLUS
Sony has thrown in a few goodies with the $299.99 3g version, most likely due to the poor reception of the system in Japan. An 8gb memory card and a free game download will be bundled in now, making my earlier prediction on the US getting a price drop on the system shortly after launch seem less likely. I still believe it’s a waste to get the system at launch.
I’m surprised at myself that I’m not giving in to my usual, “I WANT THAT!” impulse when it comes to a new console. The last time I’ve cared so little for a system launch was when the Atari Jaguar came out. But I would never insult the Vita to compare it to the Jaguar that way… even though I kind of just did.
So the PSVITA released in Japan this past December to less than even good sales. It’s underselling anything Nintendo has out and even the older PSP is still selling better. Not even a full month after launch and the price has dropped by as much as 20% by Japanese retailers for the 3G version of the Vita.
In America, the Vita will launch on 2/22 with a wifi version retailing at $249.99, and a wifi/3G version at $299.99. Considering that the PSP has NEVER had good sales figures in America, and their game support for the system has been terrible, and add now that the price has already dropped in Japan, I’d say wait to get the Vita. Pre-orders for the system are far below what the 3DS had and Nintendo dropped the price of their hand held by $80 within the year of its release. Logically we’ll see a rather rapid price drop in the Vita after it’s American release as well.
On top of that, I’d wait to see what other options their 3G service might have to offer. As it stands right now, AT&T has secured exclusive rights to manage their 3G network. And it appears they’ll have data plans that run just like their iphone plans – $14.99 a month for 250MB and $24.99 a month for 2GB. Personally I don’t see the need for having 3G on a gaming device. Where are you going to be playing that doesn’t have wifi? Seriously.
Lastly, their only reasonable launch title is Uncharted and they KNOW it’s the only game they’ve got going for them because it’s the only one with an MSRP of $49.99, all the others are $39.99 or lower. So unless you MUST have the new Uncharted game, wait to get the Vita.
I’ve heard of some homebrew and emulators working on the Vita already and that’s probably the main reason I would eventually end up getting one, but I’m not going to spend 250 bucks to play games from 20 years ago.