There can be no complacency” – PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan at the PlayStation presentation at Gamescom, August 2014.

I have had a good few hours and a very enjoyable sleep since I watched Sony’s press conference on Tuesday, which has allowed me to have a clearer perspective on the situation. As a PlayStation 4 presentation, it was immaculate. Showcasing many amazing titles set to launch next year, proudly announcing over 10 million sales worldwide in less than a year and expertly demonstrating the ability to share your games with your friends over the internet – everyone associated with the PS4 must be incredibly proud. In the battle for “next gen” supremacy, Sony continue to pull away from Microsoft and it’s very much objectives achieved and surpassed for all involved.

The problem is that it’s not the only platform they have, or the only audience that expects attention. Whilst they are limited to what can be achieved in an hour long segment, we once again sit here lamenting a lack of coverage for Sony’s handheld. You could probably say it was expected, especially after the lacklustre showing at E3 just two months ago. Gamescom is different, though. It’s “our” show, it’s where we were introduced to Tearaway. It’s where we got to see Killzone Mercenary for the first time. It’s where we were told that Borderlands 2 was coming, Football Manager Classic could be expected and also where we saw Shahid Kamal – he of Strategic Content and vocal Vita advocate – last year proudly stood on stage and rolled off multiple projects that would also come to Vita. Whatever your own view on the man or the show last year, it had a Vita flavour and we all left the show at least appreciative of that. It hadn’t been forgotten.

The same cannot be said of Tuesday, where the only real mention of the platform came from Mike Bithell whilst he discussed his impressive Volume title. The other mention of the Vita was when Media Molecule were on stage, taking the most unique IP that the Vita has and taking away the reason to buy it. Many owners felt betrayed. We have subsequently learned that a few games in the show-reel such as Papers, Please will be making it over. However, this was so poorly communicated that the after effects of the show resulted in a Twitter meltdown and some unwarranted abuse thrown at PlayStation employees who are prominent. Shahid took matters into his own hands as he tweeted many titles that are being developed, but this is the point; there are games coming. There are reasons to buy the platform. It’s just Sony either doesn’t want to or cannot afford the coverage to the system. This is what is disastrous and the ultimate reason for the plight of the Vita – exposure and perception. The Vita is two and a half years old and still the mainstream opinion remains negative. The bigger sites that hold so much leverage over what people buy are still in the camp that the Vita is a failure, and performances like the last two conferences only serve to back up this notion. Why do Sony not want to put the Vita on a pedestal? There are so many amazing experiences to enjoy, why not proudly demonstrate this?

Gamescom – like E3 – is a games conference conducted over a period of days but many are only focused on the keynote. We know that the next few days will result in videos and coverage of titles coming up such as Minecraft, Frozen Synapse Prime, Flame Over, Velocity 2x and many more but is it unrealistic to have shown these for a few minutes? Were the lessons from E3 not heeded? Or do those in power not care? The titles that are inbound are also incredibly divisive of the Vita audience. The vast majority of the 100 Vita titles currently known to be in development will be indie titles. We have welcomed and embraced the indie scene on the Vita, these experiences from incredibly talented studios have given us many hours of fun. We are incredibly grateful that the indie scene erupted, but even the most stoic of Vita defenders would struggle to keep a straight face and say it’s what they bought a Vita for.

However, most owners have embraced the culture, adapted their expectations and the result of that is a multiple game backlog giving many titles to play, and with the localisation of many Japanese first-party experiences Vita owners will continue to have many games to play for a long time. We will continue to promote discuss and champion these games until we are no longer needed, which will hopefully be a long time. The problem is that we only have a limited reach, are not mainstream and cannot reach the vast majority of Vita owners to tell them this. It’s why large conferences and large gaming site opinion, as well as marketing and advertising are so crucial to the success of a system.

The Vita is a platform in its own right, and there are reportedly more than 8 million Vita owners across the world, who spent significant sums of money on it. We just want Sony to stand up and be proud of the handheld they created, and demonstrate to owners, fans and potential buyers that this is a system worth buying for the games and experiences it has. Not to Remote Play, rent older titles or even to hide away out of embarrassment. If Sony cannot dedicate time to the Vita at these big conferences because of the need to compete with the Xbox One, then focus the Vita on its own, separately.

I know for a fact that the fans, as well as those actually developing the games for it would be happy with that. This is why it’s just so frustrating to see Jim Ryan standing on stage and proudly proclaiming that there can be no complacency, when we can see Sony happily being complacent with the Vita. We bought your system. We deserve some attention and support too.

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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.
  • MonoAudioStereo

    It is true that there are alot of games in develoment, but these are indie games. Dont get me wrong, I like indie games and Im looking forward to some of them, but we also deserve triple-A games. Playing indie games for a long time can be tiring. I have powerful device in my hands so I would also like to see beautiful 3D game where I can use both sticks. PS Vita have few AAA games, but you know what? I enjoyed EVERY of it. There is no bad AAA game on the Vita ( maybe expect Resistance).

  • Phelan

    “Shahid took matters into his own hands as he tweeted many titles that are being developed, but this is the point; there are games coming.”

    That was really embarrassing part of post-gamescom show… I can’t believe that grown up man can throw such huge tantrum because people asked for Vita games. And what is worse that some people and some gaming sites… eg. Colin Moriarty or sadly Vita Lounge had to appear with large bottle of lubricant and show him how much they “love” him… for f* no reason. This guy is one fat liar! He is supposed to bringing Vita games… and he achieve is allegedly Tales of Herts R…what’s more?! oh of course he bragged also about bringing Type-0 (good lad, right?) and about #jRPG? what left of it?

    I was blocked on twitter just because I asked him politely telling him that I respect his preferences but I’d rather him to name only 3 retail games coming to EU apart from Freedom Wars and Tales of Hearts R.

    That’s what I expect from Vita retail games. And not only Japanese games, there was one great guy who responded to me naming few titles that will come to EU… guess what… 4 out 5 were NISA titles.

    That’s emberessing.

    People are not buying consoles to play indies, those can be fun, and I don’t deny it. But those are mainly fillers between big releases. Of course there are games like Bastion which are even better than most of big games… but how many gems like that there are? Velocity? hardly so. Olioli? nope. Metrico? that’s a joke.

    Even big games are not coming to EU with nice retail editions… if you are digital fan that’s not a problem for you… but if you prefer retail games… than pack your s*** because you have no place in Vita community.

    • When many vitriolic tweets are being sent his way with us included in it, we need to disassociate ourselves from them. I can assure you that we are more than unhappy with how things went, but aiming abuse at that man won’t achieve anything. I’ve said what I am unhappy about, and done it without being an arse. Whether it will make a difference or not, I don’t know but at least I know I’ve done something positive to try and change things.

      • Phelan

        But not by telling how great job he is doing.

        You either are with us or with them. There is no 3rd way. sorry that’s how it works. There is nothing worse than gaming media fawning over people whose products you should review. If you are… than there is no place for jurnalistic objectivity.

        The thing is that guy is PlayStation Strategic Content manager, he is responsible for bringing new games. And that guy cried for more than hour throwing huge trantrum spamming indies titles people even didn’t care about…

        And when they said that they reather hear about big games… he blocked them

        You see… he cried wondering why people are mean to him… it was obvious! He is F* PlayStation Strategic Content manager! He is the man to take a blame

        • Life isn’t black or white, Phelan. From a personal point of view I think the strategic content team have done a great job in general in getting niche titles on to the handheld. They may not be for you but these games are what I understand their role to be.
          I can also express unhappiness at the overall situation. I/we are able to represent things from both sides. Just because we generally like the games that are coming out doesn’t mean we favour “them” anymore than we favour “you”. The reason this site exists is to bring Vita news to Vita fans.
          It is worth pointing out to anyone that isn’t clear, we are not affiliated with Sony or an official publication. I started this site because nobody else was covering the Vita, and we have built an audience and catered to fans, from a fans perspective. We are not qualified journalists, we aren’t on the SCE payroll, we don’t even get paid. This is done in our own time, out of passion.
          Shahid didn’t help himself with his responses last night, and selectively replying to pro indie comments and ignoring the clamour for bigger name releases isn’t going to make the problem go away. Sony need to stand up and be accountable for letting down legions of fans down.

          • Phelan

            Nope niche titls are games like Demon Gaze, Danganronpa, Last Reward, Akiba’s Trip, bullet girls… that’s a niche game. And if not for NISA we wouldn’t probably even see a single one of those anymore. Shahid did nothing to bring games like this to west… if you don’t believe ask NISA.

            Indies are not niche titles… those are usualy various genre games: puzzles, arcade etc.

            And no you won’t sell a handheld device offering only ported from PC indies. That’s simply not possible. To think like this one would need to be either SCE employee or disillusional.

            The thing is indies shouldn’t get as much spotlight as they are getting now. Because those are just indies! Atm I am working on my own game even it is is small VN (using Ren’Py) so I think that I have right to think that way as I am aspring to be “indie dev”. Did you see any serious gaming site talking over and over and over again about for example Banished? Game is great! It was made by one guy and it is far better than most of indies offered on PS… nobody talks about it and yet people still know that it is great game.Or did you see anyone talking about Bastion like a savior of PC? I didn’t

            And what SCE is doing? It is talking over and over again about indies like they were AAA titles. How much Metrico or Velocity got spotlight from SCEE? How big hype was created over those titles?

            Futurlab for example… I wouldn’t even dare to call it indie studio anymore… I mean… come on they are just working for SONY and getting more help than any other company is getting. You saw what they are doing? Fawning over SCE employees? making for them avatars? stupid cut scenes? How am I to treat company like that? They are degrading themself to role manserver. If Shahid stepped on something I’m quite sure they would be more than willing to lick it off.

            But I agree with “Shahid didn’t help himself with his responses last night, and selectively replying to pro indie comments and ignoring the clamour for bigger name releases isn’t going to make the problem go away” He acted like kid… and if kid do something wrong there should be parent to spank him.

          • Phelan

            Oh and one more thing… seeing as you are trying to launch Vita only conference… either you will have to do it yourself or just forget it.

            I already proposed it

            I’ve been ignored. Truth is they don’t care… they don’t want to do anything for Vita.

    • Karl Smith

      I have to agree, the only games that the Vita community only gets are indies and niche titles. But this is the problem. Most of those niche titles DO NOT have a European publisher and we Europeans always get screwed over when it comes to these games. I had to wait 3 months for Persona 4, 2 months for Dragon’s Crown and now I have to wait 2 months just for Akiba’s Trip and 2 weeks for the rest of the games ALL PUBLISHED BY NIS AMERICA for Europe which I mentioned!!

      And in speaking of Niche, we EU gamers get screwed over by having the games digital only.

    • ruefrak

      I was shocked at Shahid’s behavior following the conference as well. Yes, he became the focal point of a lot of rage from unhappy Vita owners. Did he really suspect any differently? He has proudly claimed the title of Chief Vita Evangelist at Sony so when people are unhappy with something Vita related, he is who they turn to.

      If he has a problem with that, then he should let people know where they can focus their passion or complaints. Yoshida? Nope. Adam Boyes? Nope. On twitter the only guys you can find are the ones who deal with software. You can send a message to @playstation, but that’s just a joke.

      Just give the Vita five minutes of stage time. It’s not like we’re asking for much.

      • Phelan

        True… and there is no even single way to contact anyone without twitter.

        Most people do not even know that there should be some news about Vita this week…. it was said only on twitter… and our lovely BLOG MANAGER spends more time on twitter tha on blog :/

        • The blog does need more Vita attention, these people are too happy to ignore the questions asked of them, this is his job. More than Shahid, Fred’s role is to interact with the community and deal with this stuff first and foremost.

      • Rodolfo Ferreira

        Shahid as Vita Evangelist at Sony. Tell you what, if this guy who failed to use the Vita as his stairway up to the top when he proudly screamed out loud ‘Type-0 was the biggest achievement of my career blablabla’ and then his party was over as the blog admitted it was a mistake; if this guy who ‘announces’ Vita (indie) games silently on Twitter (and admittedly I wouldn’t know of it if it wasn’t for TVL) and finally if this is the guy who thinks he’s bringing up great stuff by introducing more indie games… Well, he’s a fat liar indeed, not only that but he also is ashamed of representing the Vita and is looking for no big games, just ‘hundreds of indie crap’. And he’s proud of it! I told you guys the Vita could do much better without him. You guys were mad, but I expected you to see through my message, it was no rant, it’s the truth. Now the PS4 is represented by ambitious guys looking for the big gems on the market to help boost the console sales whereas our rep is a fat punk who doesn’t know what’s best for the Vita, somebody should have kicked his dirty ass out of the building already.

    • JoJo_718

      Don’t even mention Shaihid, that man is a scam and lost every single bit of credibility when he proudly said how much of an achievement Type-0 HD was on Vita (which by the way, was announced on a PS Blog), how we persevered so much to get it and at the end it was a typo, how the heck can the PlayStation Strategic Content manager do a mistake of that magnitude? I firmly believe he doesn’t cares about anything that isn’t an indie and Tales of Hearts R isn’t even his achievement, it’s a result of Namco Bandai bringing more games to the west, heck, they even made a statement about it last year, just like Jojo’s Bizzarre Adventure All Star Battle.

  • vongruetz .

    As a PS4 owner, the conference was pretty amazing.

    As a Vita owner, the conference was a huge let down.
    As a PS3 owner, the conference was a huge let down.
    As a Move owner, the conference was a huge let down.
    As a Wonderbook owner, the conference was a huge let down.

    Sony always received credit for supporting their old consoles even after the new ones have come out (think GOW 2 on the PS2) but that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. But Rime does look so good.

    • Wert

      What’s a move? I only ever got to use mine for Killzone 3 and some Sackboys prehistoric adventure. Always loved it(and my gun holder), just never got enough software support.

      • vongruetz .

        I used mine for…. let me think. Sports Champions, some Wonderbook stuff… and not much else. That isn’t to say it didn’t work well with those games, just that I haven’t used it much.
        I also miss 3D gaming. That was a big push for awhile, and Killzone 3 was great in 3D.

    • Do they really need to with the ps3? there are already several major titles releasing on the ps3 this year. Also ps move will get new life with the Morpheus soon enough. I would be willing to bet most of the indie games shown at gamescom will come to the vita if not you can always count on more japanese games for the vita. For the wonder book… well fuck the wonder book.

      • vongruetz .

        NO!! Wonderbook is great. Or rather, it could have been great but it was dropped pretty fast. They talked of some Disney stuff that they had in the works but none of that came to fruition. It’s too bad because things like Diggs Nightcrawler work really well.

    • Rodolfo Ferreira

      You forgot this part “As a PS/VITA TV pre-owner, the conference was a huge let down despite it’s going to be released in EU, no words on current Vita games support.”

  • This was a great editorial, bravo Paul. You can have over 150 games but if you’re not up there SHOWING the people whom BUY your software that you’ve got the content coming or that you care to publicize the platform which you “support”, then it’s only going to go downhill. Exposure, pride in the product, listening to criticism and handling it…things Sony has done terribly regarding the Vita. Nintendo would never make people feel like second class citizens.

  • nonscpo

    I for one came out very dissapointed with this affair. We got no Gravity Rush 2, no 64GB memory card, and no coverage. I wonder if the Nvidia Shield will get more coverage at this years Gamescom than the Vita? The sad thing isnt that I asked that, but that I even had a reason to ask that; cause thats how much attention the vita got.

  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    Paul, here’s my take: sony’s lack of focus does not reflect on other softwarehouses’ support for the PSVita. That’s why sony not caring about it anymore does not mean it’s not going to get anymore games. However, the scenario would be much better -in therms of content- as other devs would do the same thing they did to the PSP: Vita games, should sony care about it.
    On the other hand, though, since sony gave up on it with excuses like ‘fewer games’, it means 3rd party support won’t last much longer. I’d say just a few more months. Admittedly, Vita’s destiny has been sealed after the lack of content from sony at gamescom. It’s a condemned handheld, but I won’t leave the platform, I’ll hold on to it until Steamboy comes out.

    • Anthony Brinklow

      Sadly, I’m looking forward to a Steamboy too.

      • Rodolfo Ferreira

        AFAIK, so far, is that it will come with 32GB of internal storage and microSD support (hopefully featuring micro SDXC to support cards with bigger capacities). I hope it won’t become just one other streamer like the Shield, we don’t need an other one of those. On the other hand, though, lets suppose it’s a device which will have its own games – in this case, I’m afraid the battery will become an issue for there’s no battery on the market that will handle a device with enough power to play a PC game on the go. If Vita’s battery can barely handle it for 4 hours, how about Steamboy? 2 hours (based on a regular notebook)?

        And finally the reason of me fear: Steamboy isn’t represented by Valve, it’s a third party company project, that’s why I think chances are it’ll become just another streamer on the market. Here’s hoping it won’t.

  • Dio Brando

    At least we have TGS to look forward to. It’s mostly aimed towards the Japanese, and they love handhelds. We’ll see some vita games then. And not indie games, oh no. Probably a Freedom Wars + version with more content – think Soul Sacrifice Delta, maybe Gravity Rush 2, since it is made in Japan, and loads of JRPG’s. Hell, even Persona 4 Dancing all night will show up, so that will be pretty cool.
    All we can do is hope for the time being.

  • ClayMeow

    I don’t even care if they focus on PS4 during TGS, just mention one Vita exclusive: Gravity Rush 2. Not just a teaser though; I want a gameplay trailer. Sony’s mishaps with the Vita will be forgiven if GR2 is confirmed and is still a Vita exclusive franchise.

    • Sadly I fear for GR2, especially as a Vita exclusive. I really hope I am wrong, but I have a really bad gut feeling.