Recently, the discontinuation of the last line of PS Vita production in Japan was announced. But let’s be honest… It doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Let’s face it, PS Vita has been dead for years now as many consider, this is just an official confirmation arriving late to the party.
Sony also announced already that they are stepping away from handheld gaming in 2019, erasing any potential competition Nintendo could have… Wait, there’s also SmachZ, but we’ll see about that when it’s released.
At this point, everybody knows the PlayStation Portable, also known as the PSP, which was the first handheld gaming device by Sony. Much like the PS Vita, the PSP had a FAT version and a Slim version.
The estimated amount of total PSP units sold worldwide is around 80 million.
PS Vita was a step forward in many ways compared to its predecessor; the second joystick appeared to save the day, a touchscreen was added (back and front), it received an integrated camera as well as a hardware boost among other features. All these brand new things sound more than enough to be considered a serious advance, but was it really enough?
The estimated amount of total PS Vita units sold worldwide is around 16 million.
Here are some of the main problems PS Vita carries until today, problems that, in my opinion, probably lead Sony’s handheld system into a death ahead of time.
1. Lack of Official DualShock 4 Support
PS Vita has extremely tiny buttons, making the controls feel awkward at times. By simply allowing the DualShock controller support, this issue would be instantly fixed. In addition to that, it would be extremely useful in case any given button stops working, otherwise, you’d have to contact support to get it fixed (that if they still receive PS Vitas for repairs…)
Oh, and before you even say that maybe it’s not possible for Sony to allow this compatibility due to different software or any excuse you could come up with, let me tell you a hacker has added this already. Even the DualShock 4 TouchPad acts as the touchscreen. So you heard that right, it wasn’t Sony’s talented and massive team of engineers but a single person instead… *mind blown*.
Another question worth asking is why wouldn’t they allow this in the first place knowing it can be done, but unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that. Missed opportunity here.
2. No Dual Sticks For PSP Games
This is just straight lazy porting. Some people -include me in- bought a PS Vita to play some of the classic PSP games, like for example Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories.
I’m still not sure why would I ever assume this obviously mandatory feature was a real thing, but I did (and for that, I’m the one to be blamed). Every playable game on the PS Vita should take advantage of the second joystick, no matter what, but that’s just my point of view after all.
3. PS Vita Memory Issues
The lack of internal memory on both PS Vita models is just shameful. Why? I hear you ask… What’s the reason behind it? PS Vita only supports Sony’s overpriced memory cards. So yeah, it’s all about the money.
But wait, there’s also a solution for this… A plugin that hacked Vita owners can install (yep, again…) allowing SD cards being put to use. Sony could have unlocked this feature in order to give some more lifetime to the PS Vita, given the lack of stock in most countries, but it’s too late now and I highly doubt it’s being/was ever even considered.
4. Downgraded Future
Officially (according to Sony) PS Vita Slim is better than the regular PS Vita (FAT) but please allow me to doubt it. The Slim version got a LED screen instead of an OLED screen, therefore losing quality for the sake of a cheaper production.
The battery lifetime allegedly improved, but I’ve read it didn’t in forums according to most users. The thing I’ve seen the most is people recommending the first model over the Slim, which seems to be nothing but slimmer since the material also feels, and probably is, cheaper.
Making an improved model that isn’t really improved will never help a console life cycle, just like 2 + 2 is four, both statements are obvious.
5. Sony Gave Up on the PS Vita
Even when Sony saw the Vita slowly and painfully dying, most content updates added nothing but ways to stop the hacking work. Don’t get me wrong, this is a legitimate move by Sony; protecting both their hardware and software from piracy, but at the end of the day, it brings nothing new to loyal and legitimate customers, other than having to apply an installation file reducing their already limited space for games and for the same capabilities. This is giving up; fighting against piracy but not against Vita’s death itself.
With the amount of support Sony is giving to VR on PS4, I think they could have taken VR to PS Vita as well, adding that way a new feature, a reason to sell more consoles and devices (this was all about the money, right?) and adding even more variety to the game catalogue. This could seem a risky move, but desperate measures were needed, and high risks potentially mean high rewards.
Overall, it seems that Sony couldn’t care less… Fan feedback is there but it hasn’t been applied, it’s almost like Sony wants you to hack your PS Vita, at least their lack of care is encouraging you. How crazy is that? The real potential was there, having Cross-Play, Cross-buy, and the second screen feature for PS4… But again, all the reasons mentioned above were never addressed and that sure contributed to an end.
So, what are your thoughts on this matter? Do you agree with these reasons? Let us know on the comment section below!