As Kotaku pointed out earlier this week, the Playstation Vita turned four years old on Monday. While it’s still relatively young, the Vita has had a topsy-turvy life cycle.
Originally released in North America on February 22, 2012, the handheld was billed as Triple-A gaming on the go. It was supposed to cater to hardcore gamers with console-level games in the palms of our hands. In its first year or two of life, the Vita attempted to live up to the promises with franchises like Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, Resistance, Killzone, Silent Hill, LittleBigPlanet, and Call of Duty. Unfortunately, only a few of these top tier franchises did well-enough critically to warrant gamers’ time.
While exact sales numbers are hard to come by, the Vita did not sell as well as Sony initially hoped and sold far worse than the Nintendo handhelds during the same time frame.
Whether it was the continued rise of mobile gaming, dominance by Nintendo in the handheld market, or missteps by Sony, the system has been labeled by many as a failure.
To make matters worse, in October of last year, Sony admitted it had stopped all first-party game development for the Vita.
That should be it, right? If Sony doesn’t care enough to make games for its own system, then the system is dead isn’t it?
What makes the Vita so curious, is that it’s not dead. Despite not living up to its initial billing, the Vita is thriving thanks to a loyal fanbase and a treasure trove of Japanese and indie titles.
And their not just obscure Japanese game and indie titles, their really good ones. Take a look at the games with the highest Metacritic scores on the Vita. Of the 28 games with scores of 85 or above, I would only list three or four as top-tier titles. The rest are just excellent out of the box titles like Shovel Knight, Broken Age, Guacamelee, and Tearaway.
I don’t mean for this story to act as a sales pitch for readers to buy a Vita. However, I do hope to, at the very least, change your perception of this “failed” system. The Vita may not have sold well, but that doesn’t mean its not worth your time.
All things considered, there is a lot to like about the Vita. It’s got a great library of both top-tier titles (Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy, LittleBigPlanet), fascinating experiments (Soundshapes, Gravity Rush, Tearaway), and excellent niche games (Danganronpa, SteinsGate, Virtue’s Last Reward).
The Vita has an amazingly diverse library to only be four years old and I encourage any of our readers who don’t own one to give it a try.