A smorgasbord of gadgets came into my life this year, iPhone 5, Retina iPad, Wii U, etc. So picking favorites should have been hard, but it wasn’t. Sales wise, the PS Vita had a rough year, and according to some gamers it has ‘no games’, but I couldn’t have asked for a better PSP successor.
The PS Vita is a beautifully crafted piece of hardware. It’s jammed packed with features, from the dual thumbsticks to the rear touchpad. For inputs it’s easily the most interactive handheld ever. It feels like a true next generation device, unlike the 3DS, which just feels like a DS with better graphics, 3D, and one circlepad (I still love my 3DS by the way).
But the next generation feel goes beyond the hardware. The PS Vita was the first gaming handheld/console to make all of its games available digitally from day one. This changed how I consumed games, I always said I’d never go digital. And while I haven’t converted 100%, the PS Vita is slowly pushing me in that direction.
But wait, the PS Vita doesn’t have any games, right? That couldn’t be further from the truth, the line-up may not appeal to everyone’s taste, but saying it has no games is downright disingenuous. Gravity Rush, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Sound Shapes, Persona 4 Golden, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, Assassins Creed III Liberation, Luminies Electronic Symphony, etc. All of these are great games, but most of them went unnoticed by the gaming public and it’s back to “PS Vita has no games!”
Now I’ve criticized the PS Vita’s library on more than one occasion. It needs more original games like Gravity Rush, but Sony is turning it into a PS3 dumping ground. This is why most PS Vita games get lower scores than they deserve; reviewers feel the need to compare them to their PS3 counterparts. If you do that disappointment is the only thing that awaits you. But if you look at them for what they are, handheld games, you’ll soon realize that they’re some of the best ever created.
I imported my PS Vita from Japan around this time last year, it set me back $500. Now you can get one for $179, and it comes with a game and a memory card – I could have saved a ton of money if I had exercised some patience. But I don’t regret my decision to import; I’m still in awe every time I turn the system on. It’s my dream handheld, and it brought me some of my favorite games of 2012.
Moving forward Sony needs to slash the PS Vita’s price. The $179 bundles really boosted sales – make this permanent. More original titles are also a must, and give Japan a Monster Hunter game. The PS Vita may be my favorite gadget of 2012 — but I’m far from delusional. Making a great product is never enough, Sony needs to aggressively market this thing and pay for a few quality third-party exclusives, if they don’t it may not still be around in two years.