Note: [All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of GamerXChange]
You probably read the title of this article, while rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “It’s always the year of every system, every year.” I agree with you. Just like this article you are reading now, many others like it have been written before. According to some outlets and individuals, 2013 was the year of the PS3, Vita, 3DS, Wii U, etcetera. In 2012 there were articles listing the same – the year of the Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, and so on. 2011, 2010, 2009, and on and on. So what makes this article any different? Why is 2014 the year of the PlayStation Vita any more than last year? What makes 2014 the year that makes the Vita stand out? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this article if there weren’t any reasons, so keep reading and find out!
“Now, there’s no way that 2014 is the year of the Vita. That thing is dead in the water.” A common sentiment some of you might be considering right now, and I might have agreed with you if it were not for a few key reasons. It’s no secret that the Vita has not been a financial success by any means for Sony. The handheld sells terribly in the West, even with a decent library of games. However, we can contrast that with its reception in Japan. Believe it or not, the Vita has consistently been one of the top selling systems week after week in Japan over the past year. Sure, the demographics are different there; it’s a mobile driven society. Handhelds tend to thrive there. One only needs to look at the Nintendo 3DS’ stellar sales and the Vita’s healthy movements in that region in contrast to each company’s home console counterpart, to see that fact. Still, there are other reasons why the Vita, for one, has been selling a bit better over in the land of the rising sun lately. That reason is none other than games.
One of the Vita’s struggles over its first two years in the West has been its title releases. Sure, there have been some great games on the handheld. But more often than not, the Vita has been deemed an indie vending machine. Or, a Vindie, as I like to call it. While I applaud many of these works, they are rarely system sellers for the general populace (unless you’re Minecraft – but we’ll get more into that later). Bigger titles with more recognizable names or more hype surrounding them have been few and far between. That is, until now. Suddenly, the West is finally getting what Japan has had for a long time – big games. Yes, we are getting localizations! True, we have had localizations of games from the East bit by bit since the system’s launch, but never in succession like we have in 2014.
In 2014, we’re getting a lot of quality JRPG’s, which played a large role in the PSP’s success, AAA ports like Borderlands 2 and God of War, Minecraft – which sells on every system it touches, and more. For just as a glimpse of some of the games that you can expect on the Vita in 2014 (many exclusively, some already released), check out this very brief list below:
- Freedom Wars
- Invizimals: The Alliance
- PS Vita Pets
- Danganronpa 1 & 2
- Conception II
- God of War collection
- Akiba’s Trip
- The Sly Collection
- One Piece Unlimited World Red
- Tales of Hearts R
- Borderlands 2
- Sword Art Online
- Hotline Miami 2
- MLB 14: The Show
- Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD
- Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
- Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd
- Hyperdimension Neptunia re Birth
- The Walking Dead Season 2
- The Wolf Among Us
I should stop while I’m ahead. That’s just a very brief taste of some of the games in store for or already released on the Vita this year (stay tuned for E3 *wink*). There will be something for everyone. Fans of shooters, RPG’s, strategy, sports, SIM, fighting, rhythm and music, and more! And yes, don’t forget the indies which continue to support the system. We all know, games sell systems, and now the Vita has a better chance of that this year with many of these games in addition to its catalog of games released in its first few years on the market.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Now
Over 7 million PlayStation 4 systems have been sold worldwide since its launch in November 2013. Wrap that number around your head for a moment. 7 million. Many of these PS4 owners are first-time PlayStation owners and a brand new market that Sony could target with the Vita. With PS4’s becoming easier to find at your local retail stores as time progresses, even more people are getting their hands on the new system and they are looking for more ways to experience all that it has to offer. What’s one special feature that Sony has touted since its initial reveal? The almost symbiotic relationship the Vita and PS4 have together. Working hand-in-hand, the Vita is able to play PS4 games on the go over an internet connection. Albeit imperfect, the remote play function is quite useful for many owners of PS4’s who want to play their game away from the big screen. In addition, it can act as a useful extra controller for just about any local multiplayer game and a second screen app for others.
What about legacy games? You know, those games on the PS1 but especially PS2 and PS3 that you would like to play on the go but can’t remote play or download on your Vita? Well, with PlayStation’s upcoming PlayStation Now service, all of those worries may soon be a thing of the past. While it will initially be launching on PS3 and PS4, the game streaming service is also set to be coming to Vita later this year. This will give you even more value for and incentive to have a Vita.
Back to the PS4’s for a moment though. I have come across several individuals who are interested in the PlayStation Vita only because they recently purchased a PS4. No doubt, those individuals aren’t indicative of the gaming community as a whole, but that interest is sure to grow as more people continue to get PS4’s throughout the year. But the PS4 isn’t the only system that will turn some heads. Don’t forget, a new model of the Vita is launching this year too.
The Vita 2000, or Slim Vita, is launching in just a few weeks. On May 6th, you can get your hands on a brand new, shiny, lighter, and arguably better version of the PlayStation Vita, bundled with a game, a larger (than usual) memory card, internal storage, all for the MSRP of $199.99. That sounds like a deal, doesn’t it? Here’s an overview of what you can expect to get when the new Vita 2000 launches this year:
- 20% Thinner System Size
- 15% Lighter System Weight
- 1 GB internal memory
- 8 GB memory card
- 5″ LCD (which doesn’t really look *that* much different from the OLED)
- Borderlands 2 voucher with 6 DLC packs
- Longer battery life to 4-6 hours from the original’s 3-5 hours of gameplay.
A new model can act as a bit of a relaunch of sorts for the Vita. Just like the slim PS3 gave that system an extra boost and the same with the PSP, PS2, and PS1 slims prior, we might see history repeating itself with the launch of this new PlayStation Vita model.
The Rest Is Up to Sony and You
Sony has a foundation laid out ahead for a great year for the PlayStation Vita: Hot games, more media apps, a new model of the system, and an insanely popular new home console that it works great with as a companion device. They could take all of this raw material, market the Vita with a nice relaunch campaign, and see some success from the ailing handheld this year. But Sony can’t put forth all of the work. If they do their part, so should you. If you have ever wanted to get a Vita, there’s no better time than now. Enjoy a large library of great games on a great piece of hardware at a great price. The Vita is by no means perfect, no system is, but it’s getting better (in before the memory and OLED/LCD complaints).
If you take that step to get the Vita and some games – support it – then you can be sure to see even more support from devs and publishers worldwide which will continue to give you confidence in your purchase.
I have yet to meet a real owner of a Vita who was truly disappointed with his/her purchase (you don’t count, internet trolls). So don’t let the fear of buyer’s remorse hold you back if you ever wanted to get the Vita or play a game on the handheld. It’s well worth it to me and many other gamers worldwide.
A lot is happening and a lot more can happen for the Vita in 2014. This is why I’m calling it the year of the Vita. Many of these announcements about the Vita and what’s coming for it this year have been very subtle or under the radar, so you may not have even noticed it. They’re happening though! But it doesn’t mean 2014 has to be “THE” year of the Vita. 2015 might be an even better year for the Vita too or it could turn out worse. With all that the system has to offer this year though, I hope the latter is not the case; But only time will tell. I’m not saying the Vita will be the best selling or best received system in 2014 either. I find that highly unlikely. What I am saying though, is that the Vita can rise from the ashes and truly turn things around starting this year. This is its year to shine and get back on track. So what do you think? Do you think the Vita has the potential tools for success in 2014? Why or why not? Will you be getting a Vita in 2014? What games do you want to play on the Vita this year? Sound off in the comments below!
P.S. – Sony. You really need to make a deal with Mojang to get a Minecraft Vita bundle out this year. If nothing else in this article makes the Vita a success, Minecraft will. Make it happen. Love – Gamers worldwide.