In today's mournful edition of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter aw3str1k3r, early adopter and believer in Sony's latest handheld gaming system, commits his purchase to an early grave.
The Playstation Vita is dead.
I say this as an early adopter of the handheld. I feel like the system has already been abandoned. Sony made that much clear at E3, where they showed very little support outside of a pair of spin-off games from two major console series'. What makes that fact even clearer is that we will now be entering a 6-week period that does not contain a single retail release for the Vita. Sony continues to make the same mistakes as they did handling the PSP, and seems to find new and exciting ways to disappoint me, the consumer.
I know system launches are a slow time for games. Most people will point me to the 3DS and how it had a slow burn launch. I tell them that at least the 3DS had Zelda by month 3, with promise of Starfox, Mario, and Kid Icarus in the near future. Here we are in month 5 of the Vita, and the closest I've seen to a major title is Gravity Rush, a game the received mediocre reviews and has more niche appeal than broad appeal. Now there's a 6 week span of NO GAMES, followed by a period of... not much. Assassin's Creed III: Liberations and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified do a fine job of placing big names into the Vita's future, but little brother versions of AAA releases would not sell a person on a whole new gaming system when the big brother variant comes out at the same time on systems many people already own. I can scarcely think of another game coming out at all beyond those two. This is a huge problem as it leaves me without much hope for the foreseeable future of the system. That is not a good quality to instill in your customer.
Beyond the content problems facing the Vita, Sony is showing to be one of its own worst enemies in the business sense. Sony created a very high bar of entry for the Vita. Talking to people, I've seen people express interest in the Vita because of the sophisticated hardware and were on the fence of purchasing one. The first thing I see that makes them turn tail is learning that the Vita does not include any storage medium and even the game cards require an additional memory card to be purchased. That person went from "on the fence" at the $250 mark, to an outright "no" when faced with additional purchases. If Sony had gone with SD cards for storage, this might not have been a problem. Sony, in all their great wisdom, had decided that expensive, proprietary cards were the way to go. At least the Memory Stick Pro Duo and the Memory Stick Micro from the prior generation handhelds were used in other Sony products. At least Blu-Ray had a broader purpose and impressive technical specs. With this Sony just had to make this a whole new format, that performs at the same level as similar formats, for one device. This increased, separate cost causes potential purchasers to turn away and leaves those who did purchase questioning why they are getting such little use from something they spent so much on.
I really tried to give Sony a chance with the Vita. I purchased early in hopes of seeing Sony support the Vita in a much grander way than they did the PSP. I wanted to see great, unique games come to a system that has so many tools to offer the player. I now stand (sit?) before you today a burned man, a person who took a chance on something and see nothing in return. Maybe Sony can turn things around next year, but this year I think I'll just go play 3DS.