State of the PS Vita: Sony’s moveable will get a second lease on life
Consoles do not ever actually come again from the lifeless, they only often grow to be area of interest. However the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s redheaded moveable stepchild, is at present having its Lazarus second greater than a yr after launch; a strong second probability at relevance. It is a resurrection owed totally to the indie group, a reality Sony’s very happy to acknowledge — simply take a look at the corporate’s current advertising and Gamescom presser for proof. However earlier than we speak Vita 2.zero and the promising future forward, let’s rewind a bit to look at the missteps that nearly pushed Sony’s powerhouse moveable off a cliff.
Twin analog sticks, rear and entrance contact panels, a 5-inch OLED display — the Vita was designed to impress and handle the gripes players had lengthy held for the PSP. Even the promise of PSN downloads for each recreation appeared to eradicate the dreaded physicality of the UMD, a proprietary Sony accent. However then got here the system’s launch and historical past did a horrible little bit of repeating: a $250 worth level, prohibitively costly customized reminiscence playing cards, and a scant preliminary lineup. The Vita was stillborn and the cussed Sony of previous knew it.
For some time there, publish-launch, it appeared as if the Vita was being mindlessly pushed down the identical rabbit gap that swallowed the PSP, making it yet one more smaller display repository for console-like gaming experiences. The outcomes of which gave us gems like Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss; video games that performed properly, but in addition struggled to organically incorporate the Vita’s distinctive touchscreen inputs. In actuality, each have been true PS3 titles with shoehorned Vita controls. However what else was Sony to do? It wanted AAA titles to promote models, or so the corporate thought.
Vacation 2012 got here and went and Sony’s attractively priced Vita bundles (e.g., Murderer’s Creed III: Liberation, Name of Obligation Black Ops Declassified, and so forth.) helped maintain system gross sales afloat, however it was nonetheless a far cry from a market share remedy-all. After which the drought got here. Vita video games fairly actually dripped onto PSN, forcing most early adopters to shelve the system altogether in favor of PS3 releases or the promise of the subsequent-gen. Vita had turn into a write-off — a misunderstood, however beloved hardware anecdote within the annals of gaming historical past. Thankfully, Sony had a imaginative and prescient in place to buoy the system and it started to put the groundwork for the ocean change to return. The corporate made a number of key strikes to maintain the system flush with consideration: it eradicated the PS Cellular licensing payment for devs, dangled the tantalizing promise of Vita Distant Play as a key PS4 function, launched a devoted indie portal on PSN and introduced key indie faves as eventual ports.
Then got here the Swedes. Guacamelee may appear to be a becoming reference level for the Vita’s about-face, what with its acquainted 2D platforming mechanics and accessible gameplay bundled right into a $15 PSN cross-purchase. Nevertheless it wasn’t till Hotline Miami that Vita had hit its true tipping level. Right here was a topdown, hyperviolent indie shooter, lovingly slaved over by a staff of two from Sweden, that served up simply the appropriate sort of addictive, snackable gameplay Vita players had been missing. And it wasn’t even an unique — Sony had the sport ported over from PC. Regardless of although, Hotline Miami had all of the hallmarks of the PlayStation model of yesteryear: difficult gameplay, a wholesome dose of irreverence, a thumping techno soundtrack and a killer dose of edge sufficient to endear the hip squadron. Lightning had lastly struck Vita and the press and public at giant started to take discover. Sony had stumbled onto a lifesaving technique and this was our first style.
Nonetheless, Sony had extra work to do if Vita was to realize traction, particularly with players eagerly awaiting (and saving for) the bow of the subsequent-gen; one thing the corporate had been publicly dragging its ft over — specifically, a serious worth drop. It might have taken Sony almost two years to do, however the firm lastly caved, utilizing Gamescom 2013 because the platform to announce an instantly efficient $199 system worth, in addition to a slight discount to the nonetheless outrageous MSRP for its reminiscence playing cards. It wasn’t fairly the proverbial two birds with one stone many had hoped for — that reminiscence card worth might stand to lower extra — nevertheless it positive alerts loftier occasions forward for the Vita. Couple that with an indie launch schedule that features the likes of Fez, Minecraft, a sequel to Hotline Miami, Spelunky, Luftrausers and the Squee / Edward Gorey-esque Murasaki Child, and the promise of PS4 Distant Play now appears a distant concern, although little question a useful added bonus.
It is truthful to say that, proper now, it lastly feels good to be a Vita proprietor.
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