2013 – PS Vita’s last hope

2012 was a rough year for the PS Vita. Though it launched in the west to acceptable sales with a slew of high-quality titles at its helm, the excitement for the system dissipated hastily in the months that followed. The launch software, though composed of many critical successes, lacked strength at retail; and while summer saw the release of 1 or 2 gems, the general lack of any software whatsoever was alarming. Vita’s weekly sales dipped as low as the 30Ks, while the 3DS was selling more than 10 times as many at some points.

The subsequent fall and winter after the summer drought looked a lot more promising with 2 blockbuster franchises on the horizon, but neither ACIII: Liberation nor Black ops: Declassified, despite both proving fairly popular bundled games, managed to spark enough enthusiasm to make this holiday season the cataclysm the Vita needs to turn its desperate and dire situation around. At this rate the PSV won’t last beyond 2 years. 2013 needs to be a turning point, so what will it offer us?

As it stands, the biggest and best of the lineup is as follows:

(Port | Japan exclusive)

  • Sly Cooper Thieves in TIme
  • Killzone Mercenary
  • Tearaway
  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Rachet & Clank QForce
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Tales of Hearts R
  • Guilty Gear
  • God Eater 2 
  • Valhalla Knights 3
  • Dead or Alive 5 Plus
  • Demon Gaze
  • Monster Monpiece
  • One piece
  • Senran Kagura
  • Atelier
  • Runner 2 Future of Rhythm
  • Warrior’s Lair

There are a few things I notice about the list, the first being the abundance of much needed Japanese titles, a step in the right direction. The second being that most of these titles will struggle to hit anywhere near 1 million units, a step back. The third being that most of these games are expected to release in the first and second quarter, leaving a gaping hole in the second half of the year. It’s likely that we’ll receive announcements for those third and fourth quarter games up until and at E3, potentially adding some real firepower to the lackluster list.

Let’s talk about those potential titles. The most notable of which with realistic chances of releasing next year are another Uncharted from Bend, and GTA Vita. Golden Abyss is Vita’s best performing game (currently approaching 1 million units sold), leaving no doubt in my mind that it’ll get a sequel, and by November 2013 it will have been 2 years since Bend finished GA, which is the expected development time of a sequel. GTA on the other hand isn’t so blatantly obvious. There have been no announcements, official statements or hints from Rockstar or Take Two. But luckily there is evidence, albeit anecdotal; ex-IGN news writer Jim Reilly tweeted way back in summer of 2011 “Rockstar Games is developing Vita games“, and Rockstar Leeds, the co-developer of the 2 PSP “GTA stories” games have only had the L.A. Noire PC port to deal with since 2009.

As mentioned, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is Vita’s best performing title, and the 2 “GTA Stories” games on PSP sold over 11 million units combined, an incredibly impressive number. These 2 titles releasing in tandem next holiday season could do wonders for Sony’s handheld. Other potential big name titles include God of War, but with Ready at Dawn (developer of PSP’s GOW games) working on “an exciting new AAA IP for a Next-Generation home console game system“, a GOW Vita from them has pretty much been ruled out. Gran Turismo is another potential title, but with Polyphony being Polyphony, we can only expect a release 3-4 years after an announcement, effectively making a 2013 release unlikely. Both of these can of course be outsourced, but that often presents a great risk to the quality and integrity of the title, especially if given to Nihilistic.

So, among the Uncharted sequel and possible GTA Vita, we can expect to see a range of smaller downloadable titles (think Sound Shapes and Super Stardust Delta), more PS3 ports with cross-play functionality, and hopefully some exciting, ground-breaking new IPs in 2013’s fall and winter. Not bad, certainly better than 2012’s disappointing holiday season.

Next year’s software line-up alone is promising, but even to its fullest potential it probably won’t push the Vita to where it needs to be. What will, you ask? Simple, The inevitable price cut. Sony held off from slashing the price this year, and hopefully this translates into a more aggressive, daring cut late next year, say of $50-$80. With the help of Black Friday deals, 160K Vita’s were sold in the last week in the US alone, this shows that there is in fact demand for the Vita, but at a lower price point. Bundle that cheaper PS Vita with that Uncharted or GTA and you’ve got a winning recipe that’ll be able to combat the probable 3DS cut and its software offerings in the same time period.

Another factor, often glossed over when discussing Vita’s future, is the compatibility with PS4. This could add numerous incentives for PS4 owners to buy a Vita, such as a Wii U-esque setup for select games, or streaming PS4 games onto the Vita via Wifi or 3G, a strong possibility if Sony are looking to take advantage of the Gaikai acquisition.

I think it’s safe to say that 2013 is the last year PSV has to prove itself, but luckily for Sony the future looks brighter than the last desolate and dreary year. What’s your take? Does the Vita still have its best years ahead of it, or is it already dying?



25 Comments on 2013 – PS Vita’s last hope

  1. Next year? It’s already dead. People are saying those 160.00 units were great during Black Friday but those were extremely cheapend bundles and even launch bundles and compared to the competition it was nothing.
    The Vita is not selling in Europe and even in Japan.
    It’s over and it’s Sony’s very own fault as the PlayStation brand has been vastly deteriorating over the past console gen.

    • Agreed… it’s dead… there’s no coming back for the Vita… no big miraculous leap in sales figures.

      2013 is an entirely different ball game to when the psp came onto the market. Today, the Smart-phone rules the handheld market(with the 3DS doing a good job of carving it’s own unique market). The Vita is just the wrong idea at the wrong time. Yes, it’s a beautiful piece of hardware (I’ve got to admit that) but the market just isn’t there for it anymore.

      RIP VITA 🙁

  2. Sony is already leaning in the right direction with the newly released Cross-Buy program. Buying the PS3 version of a game and recieving the PSVita version for free, allowing players to save to the cloud and take their game on the road with them. This is the future for this kind of handheld gaming. Not PSVita exclusive games, but games that allow players to play on the PS3, then take it with them on the Vita.

  3. @John

    I assume by your candor that you are some type of industry analyst and not just a Nintendo and / or Microsoft fanboy that is just proclaiming doom and gloom upon their device of “non-choice”?

    Let’s just assume you are correct for the moment. Let’s assume the PS Brand is dying. Sony’s PS3 is only a couple of million in sales behind the Xbox 360 (which had a complete YEAR head start). If the PS Brand is dying and near death wouldn’t that put Microsoft with 1 foot in the grave?

    We hear this crap all the time in comments and on occasion in articles. It’s just wishful thinking. Every Sony console that is released seems to have a crowd of knee-jerk idiots ready to burn it and piss on the ashes.

    Sony weathered slow PSP sales, all the while ass-hats like yourself that were “self proclaimed” experts saying the unit was dead.

    The PSP has moved well over 75 Million Units. That is MORE than Xbox 360. More than NES, more than SNES, more than N64. In fact it is in the top 10 best selling game systems of all time.


    Look if you want to share an intelligent reason for a system failure, by all means do a little research and make a case.

    If you are just going to shit on a system because “you don’t like it”, you are only going to make yourself look like a stupid ass-hat.

    • Assuming Dorkdicker, that you’re sincere and not some multisite spamming [deleted] PauperStation fanboy (which everyone knows you are).
      The Vita sales show the brand IS dying, at least for the handheld and the PS3 being last place at the end of this console generation already shows the decline in interest for the consoles as well.
      Vita has no market share to speak of and customers won’t get screwed over like they did with the PSP. Only mules like you fall over the same stone twice.
      And if you want to make a good statement don’t use numbers from some guestimate site like VGchartz, it makes you an absolute [deleted] doing so.
      Sony will go bankrupt in a very short time and they are too arrogant to do something about it. They will drag PlayStation down to hell with them.
      That’s not wishful thinking, that will be fact. A truth that you and your horde of N4G[deleted] can’t handle and will never comprehend. Sony’s financial position will soon be unbearable and their stock and rapidly declining credit ratings reflect that more and more with each passing day. There’s your analysis, shove it!

      • I say don’t keep it all bottled up and tell us how you really feel. Don’t know if its good or bad, but between launch and Aug 2012 worldwide sales were 2.2 million Vita units sold.

      • @john

        sorry that your shove it statement is plain dumb. for a moment you talk like as if you make sense. but one with the right mind can see through you as just someone who hate the brand Sony for whatever reason you have. That is fine if you hate their stuffs. Seriously it don’t matter as long as there are still people that appreciate their work/innovation. Regarding your statement, yes Sony as a whole does indeed have some financial issue as many knows about it. But you don’t try to talk as if you are one of the board of director that knows everything that is happening inside the organization. Business secrets needs not to be revealed to the public. Also Sony brand is not only about gaming. Despite the decline in their share is not something that their Playstation brand that is causing them. You have miss out the point that they have many other stuffs that make up the entire Sony share as a whole. An organization will drop something that affect their business when situation is forbid them to carry on in order to be able to remain in business. However given a brand like P;aystation that is one of their sector that still make profit, Sony will keep it going. Any organization with a right mind will do the same. So stop assuming people are trolling when you are worst. Thief calling others thief.

        • Personally, I think all of the consoles will face a downturn in sales for the foreseeable future. It’s lie to say that the U.S. and many other prominent consumer based countries haven’t been gripped by this economic downturn. Buying a handheld system at the price of a traditional console is not ideal in any situation. What Sony needs to is to encourage more developers to produce games solely for the PS Vita. Porting over games from the early generation consoles to the PSV is nice for the die-hard fan, but why would you want to consider buying the handheld when you can play it on something you already have?

          At the same time I think we’re on the verge of a creative limit. How do you get more real than reality? I offer up this block from Futurama:

          “Leela: Fry, you’re wasting your life sitting in front of that TV. You need to get out and see the world.
          Fry: But this is HDTV. It’s got better resolution than the real world.”

          We have advanced since 1958 from a dot on an oscilloscope to the realistic perfection brought to us by the graphics of the Luminous Engine. Unless my view of the world is totally off base, it’s hard to get excited about the future because nearly everything has been done before. What makes this worse is that AAA companies that produce blockbuster games are actually feeding the problem. Most AAA games produced today are sequels to already great games milking their audience for similar to exact gameplay featured in their previous titles “cough, EA yougoddamnbastards…” “cough, Ubisoft cangosuckaloadofhorsemaneur…” ”COUGH! Nintendo letMarioretirealreadyimsickandtiredoftryingtorescuethesamewomanforthelast20years…”. Ultimately it is the developer’s creative imagination and hard work that will determine whether a console will fly or flop.

          Just in case you are wondering I own the PS3, the Xbox360, the Wii, 3DS and the Vita. Each system has it’s pros and cons and I enjoy each for the select games that they do not share in common.

      • iits it 1 year it can still sell if they made gta or gran turismo for it and then bundle it with a vita it will sell cause hardcore gamers dont care about games like angrybirds or al least i dont

  4. I Think gamers have been too involved in the media this gen. I’ve talked to people who say I dont wnat a wii u becuase its not as advanced as the ps3 and xbox. Bull shit the wii u can run circles around those system. People say the vita has no games. bull shit. lots of options for play. People are listening to peoples opinion who shouldn’t have one. How could you not own a wii u and say hey its this or say its that. How can you talk about the vita when you don’t have one. I love my vita its actually a large part of my life. Either way this article is shit because the system isnt doomed. its just going to have a long life. Are their million of systems sold already … yes. then its a mute argument. Looking at what Pacther is saying 1 million for ouya to be a success. Then the vita is already a large success. People should stop talking if they arent in the business,

    • “this article is shit because the system isnt doomed.”

      Where in the article do I say the Vita is “doomed”? I doubt you read the full article, because if you did you’d see that I’m actually quite optimistic about the Vita’s future. I even conclude by saying “luckily for Sony the future looks brighter than the last desolate and dreary year”.

      There’s no need to be so emotional. Chill out.

  5. The article is good but yeah, Vita last hope of making an impact in 2013.

    Personally, the line up isn’t looking like it will likely make a dent outside of Japan. Which might be the plan as most of the PSP’s success was built on its success in Japan but the question will be if it can replicate that without having Monster Hunter almost exclusive to the Vita as it was the PSP. Games sell systems, if the Vita can’t have some exclusive content that brings in gamers, it isn’t long for this world.

    • It’s strange, you’d think pso2 would draw in a crowd, that’s quite popular in Japan, and has a better fanbase than most niche titles in the western countries. That’s and it’s essentially a free mmo very much akin to monster hunter, however, they need to market it, if they did and made a major push to the public ‘here’s this mmo you love still for free on the go’ then it should garner a huge and stead sales spike. If they did all that and still nothing but a infinitesimal blip then I’d say it over for the vita, which would be a serious loss for Sony and gamers.

  6. Having just bought a Vita (and loving it btw..) I would say that the problem lies, not with the system itself, but whats possible with the system. Console quality games. Does anyone really want that?

    The gameboy had stff like Pokemon which in itself was a system seller and had no parent game on the main system. same with the DS. SO much exclusive IPs.

    While I am enjoying Uncharted on the Vita and the MGS HD collection i would prefer that instead of ports and reboots of console games we are given a AAA new IP.

  7. first of all, they made memory cards that only work with ps vita,, WHY WHEN THERE IS ALREADY MICRO SD CARDS>>>>>>>> RIP OFF STUPID PEOPLE… they charge £90 for a 32 gb card.. which has no use whatsoever outside the psvita system.. which means for a lowsy 32gb ps vita you payying £300 for a handheld system aleady…. 2nd the games prices are on par with console games……. HELLOOOOOO why would i buy COD or FIFA for the PS vita when i already have it for the PS3 or XBOX…. think about it rippppp offf… if designers were like NINTENDO and concentrated on bring outt innovated systems that make gamers have fun, rather than trying to RIP PEOPLE OFFFFFFF.. then maybe theyll do well… the next GEN consoles,, i think PS orbis and 720 are doomed unless they copy Wii U…. I couldnt bring myself to pay £40 or even £50 for a ps vita game….

    they should lower the game prices to £20-£30 earn less per unit but aim to sell more.. noone is interested in paying £40 or even worse £50 for a handheld game we can buy for a console…. I actually want my money back if PS vita get discontinued…

  8. i have a vita and i have to say i have loads of games most of the games out can be bought for between 10 and 20 pounds so if you look around you can get loads, but i have to say there are an abundance of certain game genres and a lack of games in others. It seems more oriented towards fighting games, childish apps and racing.

  9. Well, the holidays are over and it appears we at sony screwed the pooch with the vita. We thought gamers were stupid enough to buy yet another piece-of-crap memory card format just for the privilidge of repurchasing their psp games. An overpriced, under supported handheld is all we thought anyone would want but then people kept purchasing more psp’s than vita’s. I think even our original black and white gameboy is outselling our top-of-the-line vita. It appears we make more money licensing sackboy dolls than off of the entire handheld division. Sony staff meetings have become nothing but finger pointing and ritual seppuko fests. I know how to fix this – make sackboy our vita mascot! That will bring in more sales from you round eyed devils!

  10. >>>telepathically retrieved from the mind of a sony executive:

    Well, the holidays are over and it appears we at sony screwed the pooch with the vita. We thought gamers were stupid enough to buy yet another piece-of-crap memory card format just for the privilidge of repurchasing their psp games. An overpriced, under supported handheld is all we thought anyone would want but then people kept purchasing more psp’s than vita’s. I think even our original black and white gameboy is outselling our top-of-the-line vita. It appears we make more money licensing sackboy dolls than off of the entire handheld division. Sony staff meetings have become nothing but finger pointing and ritual seppuko fests. I know how to fix this – make sackboy our vita mascot! That will bring in more sales from you round eyed devils!

    note to self: stop selling ps2…embarassing that it keeps outselling vita

  11. they should get gta 3 vice city and san andreas on the vita even bully rockstar collection box it would be helfy for the vita likes also a new gta for it and sum decent fps no black ops declassified god that game was bad it felt so rushed short and it was boring hostile mode u fight the same enemys every round least on mw3 u got dogs helicops nd more msre challangeing aw nd zombies 4 player wood of been gid tae

  12. While I feel that there is still some hope for the vita, I have to remain realistic. Unless Sony is keeping their aces SQUARELY to their chests until the next E3, this lineup is sorely lacking. And since that COD for the vita was a complete waste of resources, its going to take some serious top quality titles to bring it back into the fight. My vita is really just sitting there in the dust while I’m planning to get a NEW 3ds because it has a bigger screen. Make me play my vita again Sony. I’m begging you

  13. Ps vita has wayyyy to many anime style games…after awhile they all start to look the same. Sont needs to cater to their vita gamers here on the west like they do in Japan…or vita is doomed to fail

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