Vita is Hot!

The PlayStation Vita could do with more exposure (and a price cut, more original games, better third party support, more affordable memory cards etc.). With Christmas only two weeks away and Uncharted: Fight for Fortune now available to download, this is the ideal time to push hardware, software and the PlayStation brand.

Taking inspiration from the outstanding Vita commercials that have been running on TV the last few weeks, this is my proposal for the next Vita ad. I'm sure I'll hear back from Sony very shortly.


Muisc: We should use something very "now", mainstream yet edgy. Like Skrillex, but on X Factor.

Our opening shot is of a man sitting in a park wearing a colourful hoody. He is smiling like a mentalist and pointing at some other happy people. I suppose it wouldn't hurt if at least one of them were holding a Vita.

On the other side of the park, a white man in a low cut V-neck high fives a black fella, who then smiles at an Asian. Little Big Planet Karting.

Elsewhere, a man wearing suspenders and a belt, with a lime vest, is playing Buzz! or some shit like that. He is not holding the Vita properly, which is irrelevant as it's actually a PSP.

We switch to a real-life woman - it's not just men in colourful t-shirts who play video games - walking through central London playing her Vita, and cut away before she gets mugged. Children are milling about doing stuff (mugging?). None of these shots should last more than one second, which is the average attention span of our audience.

Next, we cut to a basketball court, where nobody is playing basketball. A male model gestures wildly at his friends to come see his Vita. Vita = fun with friends and euphoric gesturing. They look like a One Direction cover band but marginally more urban. Also: dubstep

One floppy haired knob from the above group throws himself into a slow motion forward flip, while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. He should be able to finish it before he hits the ground.

We don't have time to highlight the ready-made software library that comes with PS Plus, but that's not what people are interested in anyway.

Just enough time for one last catalogue model, furiously fingering the back panel of his Vita. He's probably playing Mario, or something like that.

Dubstep. PlayStation logo.

And cut!

The audience should now be even more confused than when the ad started, four seconds ago, and 20% more likely to go out and buy an orange t-shirt. If that doesn't sell a shit load of Vitai, then I don't know what will.


Between embarrassing sales figures and increasingly sarcastic blog posts, it has been a tough year for the Vita. Price issues aside, many argue that its failure has been down to a lack of games, but I think that it has a decent sized library for a system still two months shy of its first birthday. It is not the quantity then, but rather the quality and type of games that are of concern. Lesser versions of home console franchises (Resistance: Burning Skies, Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation), first party titles that have fallen flat (PlayStation All-stars) and third party tripe (Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified) will not help sell the Vita to an audience that needs to be convinced that their smartphone and home console are not enough.

While my enthusiasm for the hardware remains, I haven’t spent any significant time with my Vita since Sound Shapes back in August. It has seen some critically acclaimed games in that time - Virtue's Last Reward must wait until I've finished 999, and I'll be getting an import copy of Persona 4: The Golden for Christmas - but while these titles enjoy an established fan base and critical adoration, they are not system sellers.

Reports suggest that the Vita achieved healthy sales over the Black Friday weekend, thanks to substantial discounts and value-for-money bundles, which included PS+ subscriptions and memory cards. The message is clearer than ever: the Vita is desirable if the price is right. We'll soon discover whether Sony are really listening, willing to sell at a loss to resuscitate a handheld that has been left to flounder for far too long. I agree with Sony that the Vita is a wonderful gadget, and in an ideal world its cost should reflect this, but without the software to support it there is no justifying a premium price point. Sony is definitely moving in the right direction with Vita PS+, but without a large, expensive proprietary memory card subscribers may only scratch the surface of what’s on offer.

I have been very critical of Sony's handling of the Vita over the last nine months, but that's because I desperately want for the platform to succeed. I am frustrated by their inaction and, looking ahead to 2013, I see nothing in the Vita’s near future capable of turning things around. Perhaps the Vita's future lies in a pairing with the PlayStation 4, but you have to wonder whether it can survive that long. Without a uniform price cut and/or a huge exclusive, I fear that it is well on its way to becoming an expensive failure, one that Sony can ill afford. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.


  1. I started typing a comment and deleted it when I noticed it was longer than your post. So I will make it short.

    I don't see the Vita recovering. No Monster Hunter to save it. Both the system and memory are too expensive. Where's Square, Capcom, Sega? Third party developers are not making games for it and I don't blame them. Why would they? Add those to the fact that a bunch of morons are running that company and it's over.

    As a Sony fanboy I have to rely on the idiots who screwed this company up to turn it around. I don't see it happening.

    1. Ha! I think we all have plenty to say about the Vita!

      As you say, the major third support just isn't there. It's not even that they have abandoned ship, but that they were never on board in the first place. Sony have failed to make it an attractive platform and have yet to produce anything close to a first party, killer app.


  2. I understand how a price cut can increase sales, that is pretty much a no-brainer. What bothers me is the thought that a $50 price reduction or lower priced memory cards is the difference between a successful platform and a failure. The Vita is a very competent piece of hardware and its lack of software has been unfairly exaggerated. As for third-party support, we all know they are waiting in the bushes – none of them want to go to the party too early and they are waiting for sales to pick up.
    I believe what has hurt the Vita more than anything, is the negative press surrounding it (which plagued the 3DS release until Nintendo caved and slashed the price).
    Random people with very little knowledge of gaming, come to me and tell me the Vita is a failure and that I should sell mine as soon as I can. I ask why they believe this to be the case and they tell me that's what they read (or heard). And without fail this statement is followed up with the hyperbole that Vita and iOS cannot co-exist. In my opinion, that's absurd. They hardly offer the same gaming experience.
    Sony will eventually cut the price (perhaps indirectly through strategic bundles) and that should influence sales (that may even convince the Japanese to stop buying PSPs). I firmly believe once they hit a magic sales figure, 3rd party support will follow in a big way.

    1. Firstly, thanks for stopping by.

      As I wrote in my post, I agree that the Vita is a more than competent bit of kit. As for third party support, it's up to Sony to make the platform attractive and viable, which i feel they have failed to do.

      You are right about negative press, but again it's up to Sony to combat this and change the popular perception that the Vita is a failure, whether the perception is correct or not. Nintendo were very aggressive in turning around the early fortunes of the 3DS, both with price and software. Granted, Sony don't have a Mario to come to the rescue, which is why a significant price reduction is so vital for the Vita.

      As you say, iOS and Vita do not offer anything close to the same experience, but it is troubling and telling that people make this correlation. I suppose some of it is down to the difference between someone who wants to lose themself in a portable gaming experience, and the more common user who just wants to burn 10-20 minutes each day. The Vita was always going to be a tough sell to that second group, no matter how many apps or PS mobile type games Sony introduce.

      I want to see the Vita succeed, and look forward to seeing what 2013 holds, but for now at least, I'm not feeling particularly optimistic.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Diary of a Monster Hunter - Starting the Hunt

E3 2012 – Sony Press Conference

Skyrim and the DLC Return