The PS Vita has been on the market for over 4 months now so it’s about time we gave you an overview of what it’s like, how it’s been doing and what’s coming next for it.
Since its release in December the Vita has sold over 1.2 million units. That sounds like a lot and Sony are certainly hailing it as a success but is that the reality?
First of all, lets look at its predecessor. In the first week of its release in 2004, the PSP sold 1.15 million units which the mathematically minded will quickly realise is only slightly less than the Vita sold in its first 4 months. It’s also worth noting that the PSP sold 70 million units since its release and is still selling strongly. However, compare this to the Nintendo DS which has sold 152 million units in the same time period and it looks like Sony are coming in well behind Nintendo as the Gameboy sales have also far exceeded the PSP.
Based on the sales it would seem like the Vita is not as successful as Sony might have hoped but we need to remember that the mobile gaming sector has moved on vastly since 2004. There is a huge amount of mobile gaming competition out there in the form of Tablet computers and Smart phones so the Vita will need to stand out from the rest so consumers will invest in what is a pretty expensive item.
How will Sony make the Vita standout? By developing games that utilise its features that other portable gaming providers simply will not be able to process i.e. titles like Wipeout 2048 and Gravity Rush up against Angry Birds and Super Mario Kart. Don’t get me wrong, I love all things Super Mario and I enjoyed Angry Birds as much as the other 500 million users who downloaded it, but true gamers will understand that the Vita is delivering gaming at a very different level.
The Vita has all the features that we would expected from a modern portable console ie. 3G / wifi connectivity, front and rear cameras, six axis motion sensor, touchscreen and GPS. However, it’s the following features that make the Vita unique in terms of mobile gaming.
- The Quad Core CPU which makes it more powerful than an iPad 2.
- Its Rear Touch Pad is a completely unique feature that offers another level of interaction and control.
- The Dual Analog Sticks that allows control that no other portable console can compete with.
- The ‘Near’ app which uses the GPS to show gamers psychically nearby, and allows you to see what games they are playing to encourage social network gaming.
- The ‘Remote Play’ app that allows you to pause games on your PS3 and pick it up on the Vita which means you literally have your PS3 in your hand. (Note that this works with some but not all PS3 games).
Currently there are over 40 titles available and they range from RPGs, (Dungeon Hunter Alliance), to shooters (Unit 13) to adventure titles (Uncharted: Golden Abyss). In 2012 we can look forward to the release of familiar titles including Call of Duty, Bioshock, Assassins Creed, Killzone and Little Big Planet. This means that all the power of the PS3 will literally be in your hands and you’ll be able to play these fantastic games on the move.
Apart from ‘Near’ and ‘Remote Play’, the apps that are currently available are not hugely impressive but it’s still early days so I’m not concerned about that. Needless to say that Facebook and Twitter apps are available and NetFlix is available in the USA so I’m confident that the selection of apps will start to roll out over the coming months. This will make the Vita even more competitive against the tablets and in my opinion will make it a more attractive purchase. Tablet functionality and top of the range gaming rolled into one piece of technology makes a quality combination that should appeal to a lot of consumers.
Sony is yet to confirm the existence of the PS4 but you can be sure that it’s out there somewhere. Whatever they end up calling it, (the latest rumour is the ‘Orbis‘), the connectivity between it and the Vita will be critical to the Vita’s success. Remote play with the PS3 is so far not as impressive as Sony would have suggested but my guess is that the integration and connectivity with the PS4 will be far superior and the 2 consoles will complement each other. That’s also a clever way of encouraging consumers to make two purchases instead of just one.
In terms of price the Vita isn’t exactly cheap but it’s cheaper than most of the good tablets on the market. Based on Sony’s history, they won’t be replacing it with an upgraded version in a year or 2, (unlike some other companies who shall remain nameless), so there’s no need to worry about a ‘Vita 2’ coming out in 2013. On a personal note, I’m extremely happy with my Vita purchase and I’ve only barely begun to get into its features. I’ve mostly been playing Wipeout 2048 on it and it is simply stunning. The team at Studio Liverpool have made it so good that when I’m playing it, I quite literally forget that I’m looking at a handheld.
So far I’m totally immersed in my Vita and I can’t wait to get a few more titles for it so stay tuned and make sure to check Gamerillaz for more updates on the Vita over the coming weeks. In the meantime take a look at this video that shows how cool Wipeout 2048 on the Vita is.