I was dreading buying both versions of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. So I was excited when Sony announced their Cross Buy program. Now the game just needs Kat from Gravity Rush and Crash – but that’s a story for another day. The Cross Buy and Play promotions are great ideas, but ultimately they’re making the PS Vita look like a PS3 accessory.
I’m sure you’ve read countless articles about what the PS Vita needs. It needs a price cut, free memory cards, more third-party support, etc. Well, here’s what it really needs – an identity. Right now Sony is turning it into a portable PS3 and this isn’t a good thing. Most gamers don’t want watered down console ports on the go and two copies of the same game.
The PS Vita needs original experiences that take advantage of its hardware. Trying to emulate console games will always lead to disappointment. We don’t need PS3 games on the go – we need PS Vita games on the go. Gamers need a reason to buy a PS Vita, and why would your average PS3 owner buy a handheld to play the same games they have on the PS3?
Right now the PS Vita feels like it’s Sony’s second favorite child. They announced a ton of great new games for the PS3 at E3 2012 and left the PS Vita on the sidelines. Both systems should be treated equally; neither one should overshadow the other. Say what you want about Nintendo, but the DS and 3DS have never played second fiddle to their older siblings.
Could you imagine if The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls were PS Vita exclusives? Sure, that would piss a lot of PS3 owners off, but it would also make a lot of them go out and buy a PS Vita.
Instead of having B-List studios (no offense Sony Bend, Golden Abyss was great) make ports of popular PS3 games and Cross Buy titles, Sony should round-up all their top studios and tell each of them to make a new IP for the PS Vita (Media Molecule has the right idea). A new Naughty Dog IP exclusive to the handheld would get gamers’ attention. Sadly this will probably never happen because most AAA studios think making handheld exclusives are beneath them.
Now there’s talk of a PS3/Vita combo pack that could go head to head with the Wii U. Sigh — this is a terrible idea and it would cheapen the PS Vita. It’s degrading because it deserves to be more than an accessory. Besides, it would barely put a dent in Wii U sales since most PS3 games wouldn’t take advantage of the second screen.
Maybe the PS Vita will find an identity once the PS4 hits (by this point Cross Play PS3 titles will be uncool and outdated). I still think it’s the best handheld ever, but I don’t need a portable PS3 or a second screen to play LittleBigPlanet 2.