I think the PlayStation Vita’s come under a lot of undue criticism lately, and I wanted to explain why I think it will prove those critics wrong.
Firstly, people have been labelling it ‘expensive’. Well, it’s the same price as the original PSP, much less than a tablet or top smart phone, and certainly less than any product Apple tries to flog us. So why are people calling it expensive? Well, they’ll argue that mobile gaming is becoming dominated by pointless and repetitive games that, admittedly, I do find interesting for a bit, but there really is no replacement for a proper game such as those available on the Vita (and I mean the proper ones, not the PSN downloadable ones). Not only will these games have lengthy storylines, but their graphics are going to be exceptional – dare I say better than anything else before on a handheld device – and people will love that. It is a myth that there is no benefit in getting a Vita when you already have a smartphone that can play games and more, purely because the gaming experience is entirely different. One is a serious gaming experience, while the other is a timewaster. Sure, not everyone will have enough time to play proper games, but this has always been the case, and the PS3 and Xbox 360 still sold well, and the Vita will be easier to access than the consoles. I fully expect the Vita to keep people playing with it not because it’s portable, but because the experience is so good that they won’t want to. And that is something that simply can’t be replicated by a smartphone, no matter how fast they develop.
It’s also worth noting that the Vita isn’t purely a gaming console, much like the previous installment, the PSP. It’s much better than the PSP, of course, although audio is again supposed to sound tinny. Apps like Facebook and Twitter will help the overall appeal of the console.
The battery life is, I’ve heard, equal to the 3DS, and to anyone who complains that’s not good enough, consider how much power it must get through playing the top top games, and then consider how long a smartphone lasts playing games. Not so terrible any more, is it?
Augmented reality looks to be a great seller for the console, with games like Reality Fighter looking very promising. You can take a photo of yourself, and become a fighter in the game. Furthermore, you can select a real-life location and the fight will actually take place there (well, on the screen, of course). It worked exceptionally when I tried it out, anyway.
The final point I’m going to make is that regarding the physical buttons of the Vita. This is the main reason why smartphones will never be able to compete for a true gaming experience (the screen size, at the moment, helps the Vita too). In particular, the dual analogue sticks, as well as all the other PlayStation buttons, the Vita will offer precision and accuracy in its gaming. The touchscreen interface on smartphones is usually good enough to get the job done, but it’s not the same. The Vita will also offer a rear touchpad, which is revolutionary and could be the saving grace of the console, along with its strong selection of starting games.
I hope people don’t write the Vita off just yet. While it might have been cheaper, it’s hardly breaking the bank, and it is a huge improvement on the PSP, of that I’ve no doubt.