Anyone that visits us regularly at The Vita Lounge knows that we are among the biggest supporters of the platform. However, it goes with the territory of being a Vita owner that we should never really get our hopes up with announcements. When you hear the news that Sony have called a meeting to announce the “slimmest” member of the PlayStation family, would you really have expected that a solitary colour, with a suggested RRP far in excess of what the previous incarnation is selling for was what they had in mind? It hardly seemed worth it.

Of course, being the only western area to have confirmed the release of the PCH-2000 system outside of Japan, SCE UK should be commended, it’s a very brave decision to have been the first to take it on, but have they completely missed the point of the redesign? The Vita’s poor fortunes have been very well documented over the last two years, and here PlayStation UK an had opportunity to potentially address a few issues, and set a precedent. Create some excitement for the coming year, but we for one have been left somewhat underwhelmed.

The first thing you need to know about the new Vita is that the OLED screen has been downgraded to an LCD one and the system has been tweeked to be lighter and slimmer. In Japan it was released in six different colour schemes – some of them quite catching – whilst the unit also boasts 1GB of internal memory and an improved battery life, handy for increased gaming on the go. The rear touch pad has been reduced in size and overall many people report that it is far more comfortable to hold, and at a cheaper price the unit sold quite well in the initial weeks on sale.

If you look at why the Vita hasn’t sold well, you could argue that colour choice and price would be on there somewhere, so releasing it in the same colour available with an RRP higher than you can currently purchase the original unit for seems extremely baffling. It remains to be seen what the actual price will be driven down to when the retailers start competing, but the current RRP is not realistically going to catch on. I also understand that shelf space is a valuable commodity with bricks and mortar shops but having a choice would have helped somewhat? And whatever has detered gamers from buying a Vita before is not going to change because the unit costs more, surely? PlayStation UK’s Fergal Gara has accepted that the RRP may be a little off the pace. If that is the most feasible current price for the unit, then perhaps it would have been better not announcing it until you can charge a lower price. Putting the emphasis onto retailers who already have a limited pool of retail games to drive sales for the system hasn’t worked out too well so far.

There is also the question of the meeting itself. Was it even worth calling the meeting for this? Many of us hoped – and expected – for far more. Where is the Vita TV? Revealing that would have been far more useful to many gamers, not only those looking to play selected Vita titles on a bigger screen, but also for the convenience of remote playing their PS4’s in another room. Where is the much needed 64GB memory card, or a welcome cut on the price of the cards? We saw a reduction after Gamescom 2013, but it simply wasn’t enough. Gamers are extremely annoyed with the price of the cards, which they see as an additional tax on the price of the unit. We abhor piracy completely, but this proprietary security measure is making gamers not buy the system completely on principal, which is therefore avoiding software sales. And yes, you can point to the additional memory in the 2000, however this is negated when you use a memory card and not really particularly useful.

We were told not to expect games and as such it would be foolish to lament the meeting for this, but it may have been useful for creating more anticipation, especially since games were actually discussed, albeit nothing new. The indie game bundle is very welcome, all of the games listed are decent quality and well worth buying and there were affectionate nods to the upcoming titles for the Vita, as well as a mention for Invizimals, which has already been released in some EU territories and in North America. Thanks guys. What about mentioning when we can expect Borderlands 2? Minecraft? Football Manager 2014? Sony are doing an amazing job with the PS4, making plenty of noise with every sales figure they can find and rightfully so; so it’s very easy to see that they don’t have the same attitude towards the Vita. Are the same marketing teams working on both platforms? If not, it might be an idea. Is this the best that can be expected this year? It suggests that there is very little to get excited about, which we very much hope isn’t that case. We know how quickly the tide can change, though, the work that Strategic Content have done has been amazing and this is expected to continue this year.

The Vita is almost two years old, and this was the perfect opportunity to start the year in style and set a marker out, defining their intentions to reinvigorate the Vita division this year, but it just seems that their announcement has had the opposite effect to what they intended, at least to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the slim is a great – and necessary step – towards taking steps forward with the Vita, but if you don’t learn from your mistakes it will all be for nothing.

  • vrfm87

    Sometimes i feel that Sony really doesn´t cares about Vita. At all! C´mon, is that hard to assume the risks? The mobile gaming market changed a lot since the PSP´s glory days, but Sony must be more aggresive towards Vita. The PS3 delayed to make a real profit, but was suceed nowadays. Why not a huge cut price in Vita Cards? Where is the amazing first-person shooters? The Gran Turismos and Need for Speeds? Why not pay lots of money to Capcom do an awesome Monster Hunter Vita? Sony must do a huge investiment on Vita; i sincerely don´t know if one day Vita will have a sucessor…

  • PS Vita Roundup

    All sounds about right, as much as I love (and blog about the Vita) Sony’s marketing decisions make me want to cry. I suspect the price will come down officially when Sony launches what I assume will be the one big game of the year in November. Whatever that title is, it won’t be enough to shift Vita units, so nothing much will change.

  • fatdog21

    im in a lose of words here. i brought the vita one day when it launch in japan because i was so excite about having the successor of the psp which gave me awesome and excited games like mgs and gta and awesome jrpg games like star ocean and ff crise core. plus i heard all the third party companies were makin games for it like rockstar and capcom i was more hype about it…..its been two years and what do i have in my collection… ports….indie title….and niche japanese games. very few games had standout out on the vita (killzone, tearaway, and persona 4) but most (even though some were great) were ports and indie title that i can get on other platforms…..cheaper. what happen to 2014 being vita year? i know the year just started but its starting on the wrong foot….i look at the games coming this year for vita and dont see one game thats goin to move units. borderlands not goin to do it. ffx hd isnt goin to do it. im really thinkin of gettin rid of my vita..awesome system but im startin to get tried of same shit. no im not goin to get excited for a game thats been over 2yrs. no im not goin to get excited for 2d platform game. and not im not goin to get excited for some niche japanese games……

  • Marty DiBergi

    I love my Vita for various reasons, but it still hasn’t shaken the perception that it doesn’t have any games. And while I would argue to the contrary, it’s getting harder to tell people otherwise. Not with what Sony is doing. Sony had essentially two big releases for the Vita in the entire second half of 2013. Two. How does that shake the perception that this thing is dying?

    I can’t even think of a single first party major release for the Vita in the west for 2014. Neither Soul Sacrifice Delta or Freedom Wars are announced for outside of Japan or Asia. Sony can’t depend on everyone else to prop this system up — if they want people to care they need to spend money, even if it’s initially at a loss.

    I never bought into the rumors of this being a “relaunch”, but Sony needs to do something. This feels like a last ditch effort to remind people the Vita even exists — yet instead of capitalizing on it, they shrunk back into a corner with nothing. No second color? No better prices on anything? Announce at least a semi-exciting localization of a first party game? Hell, at this point even give us the vague promise of a Gran Turismo or something.

    It’s getting asinine.

  • Terramax

    It’s worth mentioning that when the slimmer model was released in Japan, it was not released at a lower price to the original model. It remained at 20,000yen. Therefore it was never Sony’s intention to make the model to sell it cheaper to the audience; only to cost less to produce and give more money to them. So expecting the unit to have been cheaper than the first model, when released in the UK, a country notorious for higher rates, apparently due to tax reasons, wasn’t likely. Also, I believe the Vita was released with more than one colour in Japan pretty much from day one, so it’s less surprising that only the black model is finding its way to the west.That being said, putting the price higher is reiterating how stupefying, ignorant, or just plan stubborn certain people in Sony still are right now, as is releasing with one colour when multiple colours is most definitely a selling point, as echoed with the numerous colours the 3DS has.

    It baffles the mind how they can be so on the ball with the PS4 release and yet continuously do everything in their power to make the Vita a failure. I’m genuinely wondering if Sony are indeed intending the Vita not to be a success, as that’s the only logical answer one could conclude with some of their past decisions.

    Back on the subject on the UK, I wonder what the intention was to release in the UK solely first, and not either the US, or the whole of Europe?

  • Lester Paredes

    Couldn’t agree more. I’d say more, but I think that’s pretty well covered in the comments already.

  • WhyWai

    I really like the Vita 2000, more funky design & usb charging port. but LCD screen kills it. will never upgrade for it.