Happy Birthday to us! We look at the last year for us and the Vita.

The first post on The Vita Lounge was on July 4th, a little welcome message for everyone but I actually had written and posted the FIFA Football review on July 1st. This was where the journey began for The Vita Lounge.

It’s not where my Vita journey started though. I didn’t get a Vita at launch, I bought mine at the start of June in 2012 when Amazon’s 4GB FIFA Football bundle proved too much for me to resist at £219. As a previous PSP owner I had been researching it ever since it was called the “Next Generation Portable”, although researching is a very strong term as it was immediately evident to me that there was a massive lack of Vita coverage in the gaming media. From looking at some of the Vita fansites that were about I knew straight away that there was space for a Vita site that would cover news and write reviews, and if I could learn from my mistakes with a previous gaming website then I would be able to do a decent job with it. Thus after purchasing my Vita, Dan and I created The Vita Lounge. This is the story of the twelve months that followed.

So, July 2012. We had no theme design other than a generic WordPress one – Twenty11 – and we had no logo to speak of. A few news posts followed through the first month along with more reviews. August was Gamescom, and Gamescom brought a fair bit of news to cover. We were treated to our first news on Tearaway, shown our first footage for Killzone Mercenary and we were filled in with Black Ops Declassified. We had arrived at the Arras theme though, so it wasn’t all bad.

With a reasonably quiet September out of the way October was where the site took off. I had managed to find myself two talented volunteers in the shape of Jasper and Matt to start writing for the site, and the holiday games started to ship. This is also the point at which the press support started taking off and we were able to obtain review copies of titles. Without a shadow of a doubt this was the most crucial month in our history and remained the busiest month in 2012 for news articles. It’s easier when you have more people.

We saw out 2012 with many more news posts, reviews and the addition of Jon to the team, as well as a nice banner by Ivan. We had started to grow a following on Twitter but I knew there was so much room to improve on. We were all based in the UK/Europe and the site had a very obvious European focus, but the vast majority of our audience was – and still is – primarily from North America, and so we aimed to make our coverage reflect that. I managed to gain a few North American writers in the form of Mike and then Kyle, started getting a few NA review copies and we continued to grow.

Kyle subsequently agreed to become the Deputy Editor for the site, and our news coverage has continued to grow throughout the year. We have continued to add quality individuals to this project in the form of the enthusiastic Yuuki, Rhys (who interestingly found me through Near!) and most recently Tyler, and I will continually be on the lookout for talented volunteers for The Vita Lounge. Because the reality is however hard I tried, the site wouldn’t be where it is without these guys and the other contributors for the site. They are all far better writers than me, all I have done is give them a platform. Together we have written more than 80 Vita reviews and covered nearly 500 news pieces. And there is still room to grow on that.

The site also wouldn’t have been anywhere near as popular without the support and understanding of the games industry itself. Sony in particular have been amazing, but every single publisher that has sent us news and review codes has made this journey worth it for everyone. I hope that the coverage has helped you, and we can continue to help you throughout the life of the Vita.

But the site also wouldn’t be where it is today without you, the readers. Whether you have stumbled across the site through some lucky Google placement or by word of mouth, from a tweet or another site, we put the effort in for you, the Vita gamer. Because there are Vita games. There is Vita news. And the Vita is still a young platform. Of course, only a deluded fool would deny that the platform has struggled somewhat. But the journey is still young. As is ours.

As we move into our second year, we want more. Better quality news coverage, more efficiency with reviews, A fresh new look and renewed confidence. We have plans for new projects, such as a Podcast, a Vita Wiki (more on that later this week) and possibly an e-Magazine. We want to set up and run community nights, getting Vita gamers playing games together regularly. We are also discussing a dedicated PS Vita forum in-keeping with the site. Ideas and suggestions are also welcomed, please let me know in the comments if these projects will be what you are interested in.

I also need to figure out if and how the PlayStation 4 will fit into the site at all and where we go with that, as I don’t want to detract from the Vita aspect of the site. It’s why it runs. I also need feedback – constructive and positive – as that is crucial for us to improve.

But for now that was our first year, I hope that the journey – for us and for the Vita – continues to be exciting!

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Paul founded The Vita Lounge and is the Executive Editor, but still likes to get involved with the odd piece of news or a review. 35 years young and gaming since 1990, he has a preference for Action/RPG games, Shooters, Racing Games (despite ironically not being able to drive!) and quite partial to a game of FIFA.
  • WhyWai

    Hi, I recently discovered this site, and instantly my place to go for dedicated Vita news. Good works and keep going!

  • i really like the idea of e-magazine, hope it would be readable on vita.

    You should include ps4 when it launches as vita is best companion device for ps4, so in the future there would be many vita-ps4 combo news.

    • Many people want to only go to one place for their gaming news, but many others also don’t.

      I don’t want the Vita coverage to become second fiddle to the PS4 here, which is why I probably won’t cover news or reviews as much, mainly just overviews on how they handle on the Vita via remote play. But I’ll have a think on it.

      The e-magazine probably will launch in the later part of this year, as long as we can do justice to the format and enough people want it.

      • ya i am alsk talking about all ps4 news related to vita, not total ps4 coverage.
        hope the e magazine turns out to be successful as i would love ps vita centric magazine

        • That’s what we thought. (about the magazine.)

          I don’t want to discount the PS4 etc but I’m primarily in the mindset of keeping it pretty much separate. We are growing our audience because people want Vita news, and I wouldn’t want to threaten that. 🙂

  • Rhys Hughes

    Happy birthday!

  • Yuuki

    happy birthday dear TVL!

  • Justin Konzon

    Hi ! Just want to say that its nice to find honest reviews , 99% of the time I totally agree with your scores ! Happy birthday and I hope your site and the Vita have many fruitful years to come : )

  • Jonathan Harding-Rathbone

    Makes me excited on what we will be a year from now, given the huge progress we’ve made so far!

    • BastianSiv

      First of all! Wow what a great website! You guys have even given me a Vita game through that twitter competition the other week 🙂 I think a goal you can set for yourselves is to introduce Video Reviews maybe in the future 😀 would be great. Otherwise, NUMBER1 place to go to for Vita news and reviews. Keep it up! 🙂

      • Thanks dude. Video reviews are something that we want to do, but we want to make sure that if we do something, we do it well. Tyler does that kind of thing on his Youtube channel. 🙂

        • BastianSiv

          Can you point me to Tylers channel. Would love to subscribe to it.

        • Jonathan Harding-Rathbone

          Yeah I tried to have a go but it was so difficult to edit and so time consuming it would have taken all my focus off writing and with the games we still need to cover I didn’t want to do that, but as we grow it’s definitely something we are looking at for the future.

  • Undrey

    Happy birthday Vita Lounge!

  • Baran Altuncu

    Cheers TheVitaLounge! You guys are great!

  • Justin Foster

    happy bday! How about adding a Google+ sharing option though?

    • We will be both looking into adding that, and sorting out our Google+ page. 🙂

  • Noobtaco

    woohooo!!!

  • Kyle Wakeling

    Happy Birthday TVL! =D

  • I’ve only been here for a short amount of time but I love where this site is headed. I’ve actually been a guest snooping around reading reviews and news all the time! Anyways I’m glad to be apart of this team and a big happy birthday!!!! 🙂

  • Buckybuckster

    Congrats to Murphy and the crew at the Vita Lounge on an outstanding first year of providing Vita owners with the best news and reviews for our beloved little handheld. Looking forward to the journey into what I’m sure will be a great second year for the site… or more questionable puns from Murphy! : )

  • Escapethemoi

    Thank you guys for existing, you’ve been my number one source for vita goodness ever since I finally got my Vita a few months back. Keep up with the good work and let’s hope the Vita surpasses the PSP!

    By the way, had to share this: Since I live in Europe, and have a certain dislike for digital-only releases, you can not fathom the joy I felt when I managed to score a used “proper” version of Ragnarok Odyssey, US release, from a local gaming store for a mere 35 euros, totally worth it.

  • Lester Paredes

    Happy Birthday, Vita Lounge! I found the site by accident when searching for a review of the Jak and Daxter Collection. Stuck around because no one else seems to cover the vita as much as you guys do. Sadly, Vita news is but a trickle, but you always seem to have it first!

    • Thanks for checking us out! Hope you plan to stay with us. The summer is a slow time for all gaming news though so be patient I’m sure we will start hearing more news as summer gets closer to being over! 😀

    • There’s a few bits we haven’t covered enough though, so we will catch up. We will also have a few more reviews to do over the summer. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • I enjoy being a part of this site very much. I hope we can go on for many years to come and realize the goals we’ve set for ourselves :).

  • Terramax

    A big congratulations to every contributor for this first milestone. I suspect it can’t always have been easy, seeing as work and person life also gets thrown into the mix. Upon reading this article, I have to remember it’s ever more important because this is a collaboration due to those with a similar interest – the Vita – as opposed to being something you’re all being paid to do.