Opinion: PS4 Announced, But What About the Vita?

Finally! The PlayStation 4 has been officially announced. The Next Generation of consoles is among us, and Sony has set the stage. While many will argue whether the two hour long press conference delivered or not, I am here instead to ask the question, “What about the Vita?” I mean, that is my official title here at Analog Addiction – The Vita Aficionado, or something of that nature…

Honestly, I am a little surprised that there was little to no mention of the Vita at the conference. Yes, the CEO of Gaikai, David Perry, is quoted saying the end goal is to have all PS4 games playable on the PS Vita via Cloud technology from Gaikai. Here’s the thing though, how many times have we been burned with the promises of Remote Play before? Is this different? It does nothing for me until I see actual proof in my hands. Furthermore, we won’t be seeing any of the PS4 titles until the end of the year when the console releases (If Sony sticks to the Holiday 2013 release schedule). Does this do anything to spur more Vita interest? By all accounts, the status quo remains the same.

I understand this was a conference about the future of PlayStation, but doesn’t the Vita play a greater role in that future? Perhaps a role that goes beyond its current state as a console sidekick? The PS Vita (and to a lesser extent, the PSP) have always played second fiddle to its console counterpart; why can’t someone be dedicated to making games for it just as much as another developer is dedicated to creating games for the PS3 and PS4? There was a lot of talk about the games that were mentioned at the Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Vita event this past Monday, mainly discussing the games shown; however, there are two very obvious issues that are present today regarding that event.

One, there was no price cut for the Vita. Really? Japan just got a price cut for the Vita, but Europe and North America get nothing? If the long-term goal is for consumers to marry the Vita and the PS4 together, the best bet is a price cut, one that has already been given to a large portion of the consumer base already. Secondly, the games announced. I realize that out of all the games shown, only 4 of them are actually coming to the West (If I recall, the titles include Soul Sacrifice, Valhalla Knights 3, Dragon’s Crown and FFXHD). However, we already knew about these games too and many of us passed it off by saying, “Oh, well they’ll show the games for the West soon! And a price cut of course!” Nope. Did not happen. Am I disappointed? Kind of, yeah.

Personally, I think the Vita is worth every penny as is. However, they aren’t trying to convince me. No, they are trying to convince every consumer who doesn’t even know about the Vita. That is a failure on the marketing department; but frankly, that’s a whole other discussion.

Okay, I hate being the negative editor – I do have some positives to take away from this whole conference. Obviously Sony plans for the Vita to be an integral part of the PS4 ecosystem. While David Perry did not specify when we could expect its services to be available on the struggling handheld, he gave us some hope. He demonstrated PS4’s first game that was announced, Knack, playing on the PS Vita through Gaikai’s could service.

I was legitimately impressed, but that was the same way I felt about Killzone 3 on the Vita. When the product comes out, I want it to be exactly what was advertised. That is to say, I want to do what that guy did. Again, the end goal is to get the PlayStation’s entire incredible library playable on Vita, including PS4. That’s an admirable goal, which, if achieved, would be a huge selling point to the small handheld. It would essentially redefine the whole “cross-buy” campaign and give consumers a huge incentive to purchase the Vita. However, will it be too late? Will titles like Soul Sacrifice, Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenaries keep the system afloat long enough? God, I hope so.