With Sony’s keynote once again relegating the Vita to mere mentions, the internet – and in particular the comments section on the PlayStation Blog – is awash with not only proclamations for the demise of the Vita, but also some incredibly angry Vita owners berating SCE for neglecting the platform and not showing any support. Brad has covered this far better than I could have done in his repositioning article, so I’m not going to dwell too much on what actually happened at E3, and if you haven’t read it yet, it really is worth looking at. He also includes the full quote from Andrew House, President and Group CEO of SCEI, rather than cherry-picking a few choice comments out of context for the purpose of sensationalism.
Regardless of whether we were really anticipating anything major at the show, even with minimalistic expectations we were all left feeling let down. Instead of giving any credible coverage to the platform, it arguably had one of the worse showings yet for the Vita and the conference has left many thinking that the platform is little more than a PS4 accessory, especially with some of the selective reporting in the media.
Much of the anger from the Vita community seems to be aimed at a lack of “AAA” titles, or at the very least, Vita exclusives and these are very valid complaints. You can hardly blame them for expecting the same level of support that the PSP managed to get, but PS4 Remote Play and the upcoming PlayStation Now remain the only realistic ways to playing the big name Western titles on the handheld, and for many this is simply not good enough. They want – as do we – specific reasons for the Vita to exist. The reality of course is that we are perpetually in a catch 22 situation, with third party studios incredibly reluctant to support the system with the games that would inevitably shift it. However, Sony do have first party studios (when they haven’t shut them down) and major first party IPs that still haven’t made the journey, so it’s clear that they could do much more on that front.
However, you could have the biggest names in the world coming to the Vita, but the biggest problem that the Vita faces is exposure. There are some brilliant games on the system already, and many more on the way – but most gamers don’t know this because they haven’t been discussed at length. Just a quick CTRL+F on the EU Blog’s E3 recap will yield only one specific reference to “Vita”, and that was discussion that PlayStation TV plays Vita games. I’m not picking on Fred Dutton, the EU Community Manager here, but seriously? Your recap to the E3 keynote doesn’t specifically mention Vita and you wonder why the platform has some serious negativity?
Whilst it is clear that there is a problem in getting Vita information out at a time when it needs all the exposure it can get, there is some comfort in the knowledge that currently over 100 games are in development – including Tales from the Borderlands and Disney Infinity 2 – and many other games were announced too. Admittedly many of these are likely to be indie games, and will also be on the PS4 but it really wouldn’t have hurt to name drop a few titles to create some excitement – even if Gamescom has become the more Vita-centric affair. You get the feeling that they have become far more cautious after the botched Bioshock affair in 2011. Even the biggest indie of them all – Minecraft – only warranted a simple mention at the conference and subsequent Blog post discusses only the PS4 version. You get the feeling that they really don’t know how relevant and effective this title could be with a bundle and the right push. To make matters worse, Final Fantasy Type 0, a game heavily coveted by gamers was actually announced after the conference, and very quickly retracted, citing just a PS4/XB1 version. This has pushed Vita owners heavily over the edge.
We get a lot of criticism at The Vita Lounge for our positive approach to covering the Vita, but our point of view is always to look at the best in any given situation, and there were minor positives from the show which Brad discussed. We were also told that the Vita is is an “important pillar”, for PlayStation. If that is the case then it’s time for a different approach, because the current one isn’t working too well.
We are not stupid, and appreciate that there are things well out of their control with the Vita – but there are things that can be done. More awareness, coverage and passion from Sony will go a long way. There is a massive lack of exposure for the platform both at retail and media level and this perception that the Vita is a dying platform or that it has nothing going for it needs to change. Sony are incredibly proud of the 7m+ PlayStation 4 consoles sold worldwide – where is the pride at a similar number of Vitas? We understand that at a massive gaming event presentations are limited with time, but can anyone seriously tell me that the “sizzle” trailer – embedded above – couldn’t have been featured? It was two minutes long. Do we, as Vita owners not deserve even two minutes?
And this is where this post kicks in. Sony, If you do not want to or are unable to cover the Vita in depth at your main gaming showpiece, then we ask that you cover the Vita separately. Disassociate the device from your show and give it it’s own presentations – which our Forum Moderator Kurisutina calls “PS Vita Direct”.
We have started getting the ball rolling on Twitter with #PSVitaDirect. We ultimately want the Vita to have it’s own regular presentations, where titles from the upcoming quarter get showcased. It doesn’t have to be a massive event, or even that long, just showing Vita owners what coming up, or in the pipeline. Generate some excitement, show some pride, gain some confidence from your publisher/retail partners or perhaps even show that the many millions of Vita owners – who are in fact paying customers – feel that their purchase was justified.
This is not a petition, it’s a request. It’s a movement. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as the old adage goes and this is where you, the Vita gamer can make a difference. It’s not about demands, or being hostile – it’s being united and standing together. We want Sony to stand up and notice the #PSVitaDirect idea. Every time you see #PSVita or #PSVitaDirect on social media, share or retreat it try to get it trending. There are many PlayStation individuals that actively engage with the community, we want them to hear us. This isn’t a Vita Lounge project, this is a VITA COMMUNITY engagement. We call all of those, whether you run a Vita site, visit one, play games or develop them to help support us on this. We ultimately want what is best for the Vita.
Please get involved, share ideas and spread the word. This is just a fledgling idea where we hope to get a specific Vita focus from Sony but it can stand for anything and we want you to help us make it a reality, and give it more backbone. I am currently speaking with my local GAME retailer about doing a local event, bring Vita owners together and having fun and will share the news on this when it happens, and how successful it has been. Let’s bring all the communities together and get the Vita the coverage it deserves.
Thanks for reading!