Sony is Redefining the PS Vita: Enjoy Your $200 Controller

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E3 2014 was great, don’t you think?

The games. Oh, the games! There were so many of them, and they all look so good.

Well, except for what was shown for the PS Vita – I mean, was anything shown? Devolver Digital has some great titles lined up that also happen to be coming to the Vita. Plus, XSEED Games is localizing a few Japanese releases, and – well, that’s about it.

You see, Sony doesn’t view the Vita as a dedicated console – not anymore, anyway.

Game Informer reported that, in an interview with Shuhei Yoshida (Sony President of Worldwide Studios), Sony is no longer focused on the Vita as a stand-alone device, quoting him as saying:

“It’s still an independent platform you can play on. There are games for Vita, especially in Japan. However, more and more people use it as a companion device for PS4 and we are very happy that people are using it as such. We are bringing PlayStation Now to PS Vita. We are making it more of a total ecosystem, with PS4 as the central device.”

Driving the point home, Game Informer’s Mike Futter writes: “Unfortunately, Yoshida was unable to discuss any new titles coming to Vita from Sony’s pillar franchises… He instead pointed to collections of PlayStation 2 titles that have recently been announced or released…”

I get it. I really do. I’ve said on many occasions that Remote Play works incredibly well, and I’m sure there are a ton of people who use it way more than I do. But that’s the thing – I don’t use it. Instead, I’m finding I enjoy my PS Vita the way Sony wanted me to enjoy the PSPgo: As a primarily digital, portable gaming device.

It’s kind of funny how that all worked out, considering how anti-PSPgo I was when it released. Of course, the PSPgo launched in an era where digital downloads on consoles were still a mess, and Sony’s PSN Store hadn’t established itself as the bastion for sales and indie games it is today.

Oh, and let’s not forget the value of PlayStation Plus, which nets gamers a ton of “free” games on the console every year. By this point, it’s crazy not to embrace digital media – especially now that it’s so affordable.

But that’s what breaks my heart most of all. I’m ready to embrace the PS Vita as a stand-alone handheld, waving my money fervently in the air, tossing it at every new release, practically begging Sony to support it. Instead, Sony seems to want the Vita to be the equivalent of the Wii U GamePad, with the PlayStation 4 acting as a sort of mothership. Is that really what I paid for?

PS Vita Remote Play | @CripplerJones

When you account for the PlayStation 4 Camera, Sony’s approach to this generation of gaming is an interesting one. It’s as though Sony wants the PS4 to be an à la carte console that can be adapted into anything you desire.

Want Sony’s version of the Wii U, sans those sexy Nintendo exclusives? Buy a PS4 and a Vita. Want an Xbox One with the perks of PlayStation Plus? Get a PS4 and the PlayStation 4 Camera. It’s the Build-A-Bear of home gaming platforms, minus the learning curve of PC.

Admittedly, I find this to be an incredibly clever strategy, and Sony’s game plan for the PS4 is respectable: Let people create the console they want, encouraging them to purchase games from Sony’s own online store and to subscribe to Sony’s paid online gaming services.

People like options – so long as there aren’t too many of them – and if you make it simple enough, they’ll almost always choose you over the competition. What people don’t like is feeling as though they’ve been shafted, having purchased a product that has become something else entirely. Since its release, Vita owners have been clamoring for more games, more exclusives, and a better library. We’re two-thirds of the way there, but where are the exclusives?

If I’m being honest, I don’t think they’re coming, and we might as well set up camp in a field to await the Great Pumpkin. I suspect Sony will continue its push to make the Vita another controller – and a very expensive one, at that. While the PS Vita has all of the world’s potential, and in my humble opinion, is the greatest handheld console ever to see the light of day, I don’t believe Sony cares to recognize this.

So let the naysayers and non-owners whine about the Vita’s lack of games and exclusives. Making the Vita a glorified controller with a slot for overpriced memory cards will surely convince them to buy one – or they’ll just get a 3DS.

Even so, if you plan on purchasing a PS Vita anytime soon, to quote Destructoid’s Chris Carter: “I hope you have a PS4.”

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About Author

Perry currently resides in Philadelphia, PA with his wife and cat. His favorite games include Final Fantasy VI, Muramasa, Portal, Pokémon, Bravely Default, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.