E3 Shows it's Time to Get Worried About the PS Vita

By Ian Dransfield on at

Armed with a 64GB memory card, various battery-charging peripherals and a case to keep its screen free of damage and blemishes, I do not leave my house without the Vita.

It's an essential to me, and I know it's the same for many who picked up Sony's oft-overlooked handheld. Those who have a Vita, love their Vita. Almost as much as those two chaps in the image above.

I, and the aforementioned other owners, become evangelists for the handheld that gets ignored and overlooked, slated and slandered wherever you look. I'd probably defend it to the death, such is my love for the Vita.

Alright, maybe not that far. But you get the point.

PS Vita promo shot edited

This preamble is just so you know how much I love this device. I think it has a lot going for it, and I would recommend people pick up a Vita unreservedly. It is honestly the best handheld I have ever used.

But I'm worried about it. I'm worried Sony is moving away from using the Vita as an actual gaming device, and is aiming to push it more as a peripheral for the PS4.

Look back to Sony's pre-E3 presentation. How often was the Vita mentioned? Was it talked about at all, beyond a section on Vita TV? It took until after the conference to find out about this 'sizzle' reel, not featured in the presentation:

And in that reel is a bunch of games that, while great looking, aren't the sort of massive, triple-A productions you would expect from a company that's actively pushing a device.

Don't get me wrong: a massive selection of indie titles on the handheld is brilliant - I own some true greats, and I have intensely fond memories of playing Hotline Miami on the Tube, as well as wiling away a long flight with the company of handheld Spelunky.

But these aren't the big-hitters. These aren't the games that sell machines. These are the great games that it's brilliant to own - but they're not reasons in and of themselves to drop a couple of hundred quid on the machine.

I'll love Velocity 2X, Grim Fandango will make me insane with joy and Hotline Miami 2 will mean I travel by underground train more than I have to again. But it needs something bigger, just to show it's being held in high regard - and to convince others to buy it.

I'm worried, and I think it's about time the rest of us Vita evangelists got worried - the future doesn't look bleak for the handheld, but it by no means looks bright.