Vita’s Vitals

I recently read an article concerning PlayStation Vita sales that led to an interesting discussion with friends.

The Vita is a sleek piece of hardware, and one friend commented that despite its gorgeous graphics and sharp interface, he was far more enamored by Nintendo’s 3DS. It’s no secret that Sony’s latest handheld has pulled-down some relatively lackluster numbers since launch, and the blame is typically placed squarely on the lack of worthwhile titles. But I think there’s more to it than that.

Sony appears determined to bring big console experiences to the handheld screen. The recently announced Cross Buy feature, with which players can buy a PlayStation 3 game and get the Vita version for free, demonstrates their opinion that gamers want to be able to play on one system and effortlessly transition to another. That’s a nice feature, but in my opinion, this makes the Vita feel more like a companion gadget living in the PS3’s shadow. Which brings us to what I believe is the heart of the problem: The PlayStation Vita doesn’t have its own identity.

Titles such as Killzone and Call of Duty will move units, but the Vita needs titles and experiences that are exclusive to the system. Media Molecule’s Tearaway is a step in the right direction that will hopefully build enough momentum to attract more developers to explore the real potential of the Vita. The sales will follow.

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