EGX London – formerly known as the Eurogamer Expo – is the UK’s biggest gaming event and is run by the team behind Eurogamer for four days every September and we have been in attendance each year since we began. Last year over 70,000 people attended the show to experience the latest games that will be soon arriving on gaming platforms.

This was easily the most impressive show that I have been to yet as a gamer, and it just seems to get even more spectacular with every passing year. The PlayStation section in particular was very impressive with over 200 PlayStation 4 pods showcasing many upcoming games, four massive screens showing off PlayStation content, a Twitter wall, a PS Plus exclusive lounge as well as a Double-Decker bus kitted out with LED displays and PlayStation imagery. You would struggle to find anyone that wasn’t impressed with the effort that Sony put into the PlayStation section, except for one area. You guessed it – it’s the Vita…

Given the lack of focus that the platform has been afforded at gaming events over the course of the year it’s hardly a surprise, but I must admit even I was flabbergasted by what I saw. Tucked away in the corner, away from the myriad of PS4 consoles, were two pillars and a solitary wall emblazoned with imagery from the latest UK Vita advert. Sitting in this area was a grand total of four Vita units – downstairs at least.

What was equally frustrating was presentation of many of the indie games also available for the PS4. There were many there on the floor, with the EGX announced OlliOlli2, Assault Android Cactus, Oddworld; New ‘n’ Tasty, BroForce, Final Horizon, Nuclear Throne, Nom Nom Galaxy, Super Exploding Zoo, Galak-Z, Futuridium, Helldivers, Nidhogg and Hotline Miami 2 all coming to the Vita and all playable at EGX – but only on PS4, and none of them had any Vita branding. From a Vita exposure perspective it’s a disaster and extremely baffling.

Vita EGX

The games that were playable on the units were Don’t Starve, Minecraft PS Vita (which switched out for Murasaki Baby on the Saturday), Big Fest and Flame Over – which was also playable upstairs on the Laughing Jackal stand. As you can see from the picture above, it was tucked away in the corner and felt very secluded from the rest of the show. Minecraft in particular was a disappointment because it’s a phenomenon. The possible effect for the Vita from a truly portable version of Minecraft seems to have been overlooked, and a missed opportunity.

I caught one gamer leaving the PS4 version of Minecraft who was then approached by the chap on the Vita section. Before the guy could explain what the Vita was, or even that it had Minecraft the punter said “nah it looks shit”. It has the same game you were just playing on it – well, it will when it gets through certification!

Flame OverIn the Rezzed section upstairs things were marginally better with Futurlab showing off the fabulous Velocity 2X, although despite having Vita versions playable the stand had no Vita branding, opting for purely PS4 logos. This was not down to Futurlab, as they told me that they had requested both console logos but that was how EGX provided the artwork. As mentioned above there was a place for the team from Laughing Jackal and their fire fighting shooter Flame Over – which is well worth looking at when it comes out layer this year. The Vita support was completed with Minutes from Red Phantom Games, which is an abstract action game and was very addictive (before too long I had easily spent thirty minutes playing it). I’ll cover these games in more detail by the end of the week, but that was really all there was; even the obligatory GAME store that was present in the exhibition centre had nothing for the Vita, at least from what I could see. It’s almost like it didn’t exist.

MinutesWith Freedom Wars out at the end of October as well as the November release of Tales of Hearts R not too far away – and these arguably being the most anticipated titles coming – it was extremely strange that they weren’t there… especially considering they were playable at PAX just last month. It’s equally frustrating when the PlayStation representatives that I spoke with do have a passion for the Vita, but this really wasn’t represented on the show floor. How hard would it really have been to have had a few more Vita units, or to mention that these games are also coming to the system? They had a Double-Decker bus for crying out loud – that would have been a perfect gimmick to have had Vita units in to show off the portability and make a bit of noise about the system.

I was told that the Vita is currently performing far better than projections (and last year) in the UK, and this was very pleasing to hear, I have long championed the UK team for their efforts and those of us that do live in Britain will have recently seen the adverts on TV, albeit with a clearly younger demographic in mind. It just seems to have escaped the attention of those that arranged and booked everything here that a bit more coverage might have sold a few more.

Having attended EGX for the past three years it’s easily the worst showing yet for our favourite handheld. Although I enjoyed playing Minutes and Flame Over, you cannot say that the Vita focus was anything other than abysmal and seemed like both another kick in the teeth to Vita owners, and something hardly likely to entice new ones.

Maybe they should book us to represent the Vita next year?

Posted edited to reflect that Futurlab had requested dual branding for Velocity2X but it was not supplied.

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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.
  • Timberman

    This was a good read 🙂 (a good chunk of depression and frustration as well) you definitely have to cover the vita on future shows 🙂

  • PS Vita Roundup

    Cheers for the review, somewhat pleased I didn’t go now. I see Sony’s marketing has officially given up… I wonder how long the indies will keep coming as Sony UK moves to an all-PS4 focus?

    Funny how the likes of Andrew House go “Vita has its own little niche” while Sony says sales are up this year, yet the promotion and marketing remains in terminal decline.

  • Supersmith2500

    This is the problem, both SCEE and SCEA doesn’t even care about their handheld at all.

    • nonscpo

      It’s not that they don’t care, its that the handheld market isn’t on par with the console one.

  • Phelan

    “OlliOlli2, Assault Android Cactus, Oddworld; New ‘n’ Tasty, BroForce,
    Final Horizon, Nuclear Throne, Nom Nom Galaxy, Super Exploding Zoo,
    Galak-Z, Futuridium, Helldivers, Nidhogg and Hotline Miami 2”

    So…. out of all titles only Murasaki Baby was exclusive for Vita… and it’s less than 2 hours long…

    SCEE is responsible for situation of Vita in Europe. Those guys really are incompetent, I know that some people will defend them and say various things to say that it is pointless and yada yada. But it really is their fault, and their fault alone.

    Vita is great piece of hardware, we all agree on that right? Just let’s take a look at Killzone which really is gem among games. And EU is a great place for gaming. Both PS3 and Vita sold much better here than in NA.

    And yet SCEE fails to do anything that would make sense. Jim Ryan, Fergal Gara and Shahid Kamal are just a tip of an iceberg called inompetency. Those guys shouldn’t even stand beside consoles.They screwed up everything they could regarding Vita.

    Vita TV changed the name to PS TV (btw. I have a feeling that Vita TV also wasn’t presented at EGX, mright?)… it’s not good move. Sure you will sell maybe 5% more consoles than you would (arguable)… but what’s more important you are sending clear signal to developers “Vita is piece of shit! That’s why it’s better to avoid that name, period!”

    And that’s not true. Vita is great name for great device, it can do nearly as good as PS3. Isn’t that amazing!? They really are digging the hole under their feets. Because let’s be clear… they just refused to support their own device. There is no longer point of upgrading Vita… there won’t be 4th portable device from SONY… and even if there will be only few people will be wiling to buy it. I wouldn’t buy it for sure! After seeing how SONY screwed up with Vita? I would have to be either stupid or mad to believe that “this time they will suport it”

    So yeah… they are just cutting themselfves out of handheld market, leaving Nintendo as the only player on market.

    And than again… let’s say clearly 9kk consoles sold isn’t bad result. It’s not bad result at all, you can still profit on this! But you must want to do it!

    Freedom Wars not shown at any conference
    Oreshika … game phantom… we will hear about it week before digital release and “sorry it’s too late to release retail of it”
    Tales of Hearts R – this is like Final Fantasy franchise… it is important game!

    When did we last hear anything about Freedom Wars? They are even refusing to properly advertise this game! When did they wrote anything about Freedom Wars on PS Blog? I can’t even remember this! And games like Velocity 2x were just spammed on PS Blog… Freedom Wars should learn from them at least when we are talking about writing on PS Blog.

    TV commercial? That’s a grand joke! SCEE is earning from whole EU not only UK! We saw that commercial during gamescom… but it will be airing only in UK! What’s the point? Look… in Poland where I live I see at least 5 times per day commercial for Xbox One… GOOD ONE! Very good commercial! Filled with action, and content for mature gamers not kids (as kids are not buying games, adults do!)… and I’m not even watching TV that much (1,5-2h per day)

    (and btw. that consoles is selling here probably even worse than Vita)

    SCEE can’t realize that EU is not UK. That they need different methods to sell Vita. Remote Play? PS NOW? That’s cute… probably nobody in eastern Europe cares about it. In most EU countries internet ifrastructure is so lame that playing via internet is just plain stupid idea. So why would you adveritse those features as bad ones from Vita? That’s stupid!

    And showing indie games on gaming conference? Really!? Sorry, I will be like broken record. Most of times I can play indies on PC:
    -way cheaper
    -way earlier (~1 year)
    -with the same experience as on consoles, as I can plug my controler to PC and use it with steam
    -indies will never ever become system sellers (ok maybe Minecraft, but that’s exception)

    so… really SCEE screwed up everything they could

    (btw… only 70k? and it’s London?! that’s not much… Poznan Game Arena (PGA) has about 45k viewers… and it’s not even capital city (o.O) btw. soon PGA 2014)

    • ruefrak

      I don’t think changing the name of the console from Vita TV to PlayStation TV has much to do with how Sony supports the Vita. The fact is, the PSTV is not a Vita. It has similar technology and can play quite a few of the same games, but conceptually it is completely different. The Vita is handheld, a portable gaming machine. The PSTV is a box that plugs into your TV and stays there. It plays PS1/PSP/PSVita/PSNow games as well as streaming video, music, and other content.

      It seems to me that a part of the problem is with people just not giving a crap about portable gaming (in the West at least). The guy who wouldn’t even look at Minecraft on the Vita because it “looks shit.” It’s Minecraft… it looks the same on everything! But a lot of people like their video games on big screens. They want the grand experience and the comfort of a couch. Portable gaming isn’t for everyone, and it’s diminishing to an even more niche market than it already is.

      Nintendo may have a lock on the portable gaming market, but even they aren’t selling anywhere close to what they had. The DS sold like crazy, and while the 3DS is doing all right, it’s only doing well compared to the Vita. Smartphones and tablets have really taken a huge chunk of that market and claimed it as its own. Parents used to buy their kids Gameboys, but now for nearly the same price, you can get them an ipod touch where the games are inexpensive or free. Hell, an “expensive” iOS game costs $5.

      I don’t know where this is all going to go, but if Sony can fit the Vita in for the niche, hardcore gamer then they have a dedicated audience that will stick around. Nintendo could be in trouble if they rely on being the kids’ handheld as more and more of them move away to mobile devices.

      • Phelan

        “It has similar technology and can play quite a few of the same games, but conceptually it is completely different.”

        That’s the same device, though remodeled and removed buttons and screen. But you can still find the same components as in PCH-1000. So no, you are wrong. It is Vita and Vita to the bone. Even PCH-1000 has ability to be plugged to TV… though they didn’t release cable for it.

        And yes on Vita you can play PSX/PSP/PSV games. It’s already there alright.

        PS Now is not available in EU, and won’t be available for a long time in most of countries.

        And thx. for bringing up Nintendo… which despite the fact that Wii U isn’t selling well (worse than Vita… despite the fact that it is home console). Still is doing many things to make it work, and Bayonetta 2 is fine example of this.

        • ruefrak

          The Vita has the ability to be plugged into the TV? Really? Wow. Did not know that. I’m sure all those people who modded their Vitas to allow for video capture feel utterly ridiculous now because they could have just used that port for video out. The fools.

          I still argue that just because they have the same components, they are two completely different things. One is a complete, portable gaming console. One is a micro-console that has no touch screen, no sensors, no camera, no controls, and no screen in general. It does not play all Vita games and can play a larger percentage of PSP games than Vita games.

          • Phelan

            http://hackinformer.com/2014/03/04/ps-vitas-mystery-port-explained/
            sarcasm not needed.

            … it has the same components yet it is different thing… makes sense… It’s Vita, and Vita is powerful, deal with it.

            Which PSP are still not playable on Vita? Asking because I don’t know, well obviously those on UMD discs are not… and probably large part of minis. But I can’t seem to recall major PSP titles (I might have not noticed them in shop)

  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    If you ask Shahid Kamal “why the lack of focus on Vita at the event, despite it’s being selling much better than predicted this year?”, he’ll ask you back “what event are you talking about?”.

    The Vita is terribly represented by a selfish, lunatic, irresponsible and a liar. And that’s what you get, a hole in the middle of nowhere downstairs.. I feel bad for you, Vita. Since our beloved device cannot count on anyone at Sony, it’s our goal to get to the developers and make up their mind, we want Vita games! Support the Vita, sign the petitions, retweet opinions…

    Start here: [Petition: Skygamblers on the Vita] https://www.change.org/p/bandai-namco-games-atypical-games-bring-sky-gamblers-rise-of-glory-to-the-playstation-vita – please sign it.

    [Retweet if you like]

    — Rodolfo Ferreira (@rdlf2048) September 19, 2014

    — Crescent Moon Games (@CM_Games) September 22, 2014

    It may look like doing so won’t make a difference, but boy are you wrong! Devs need feedback, the more they get it, the better. Make your opinion impact on their decision, don’t remain shut. For Vita’s sake.

  • APA

    Excellent report! I get mad at SCE’s Western branch because, they always say that PS Vita doesn’t sell, but they don’t do any effort to change the situation (at least in The Americas)… D*mn! A fully portable Minecraft experience, all of those indes, the awaited japanese jewels (Freedom Wars and Tales of Hearts R), should have been playable on PS Vita at EGX!
    It’s like they don’t want to acknowledge the existence of our handheld (because the way they’ve been treating it, it seems is not their product anymore). They had every chance to show Vita love at all of the previous expos, and this increasing Vita market, they just barely show it…

    And to think the PS3 was in a much more worse situations at 2006, but with a titanic labor, they could overcome it, and make of said system, a success! Why don’t put 1/10 of that effort on the PS Vita? It has games, already! Just let people know about them!

  • Buckybuckster

    Have the Lounge represent the Vita at next years EGX? Honestly Murphy, I don’t think that you could do any worse job than what Sony has given us so far lol. Make sure your passport is in order because need to have you guys show up at E3 too!