Sony’s strategy for the Vita could work

I’m the first one to complain about how Sony is not supporting the Vita, but yesterday’s gamescom highly contributed to change my opinion on the subject. Yesterday I realized that Sony is ready to support its new baby aggressively.

I was going to try and blog about every possible game that has been announced or promoted during gamescom for the Vita and the PS3, but I had to give up: there’s just to many of them for me to even view all the trailers and sort the bad from the good. But the great news is, I’ve seen more good than bad.

If you “read between the lines”, The gamescom also revealed how Sony plans to support its gaming ecosystem in the months to come, and this is what I want to discuss here. Call it a wrap-up of Sony’s gamescom, call it an uneducated opinion, call it whatever you want… the thing is, I think there are a few “global points” that have shown that Sony is pushing full steam on the Vita, and to some extent, on the PS3.

Exclusive AAA titles, but also indIE games

The gamescom is revealing a bunch of new AAA titles: Tearaway, Killzone Mercenary, Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation, etc, etc… What’s interesting here is that these are exclusive to the Vita. I’ll pass on the gimmicks of “full use of the vita’s controls”, as I think few games actually really “need” to use the vita’s touch screen. Tearaway sounds like a good example of really taking advantage of that technology (in particular the rear touch pad), but for other, more “action” oriented games, it sounds more like an excuse. But that doesn’t really matter.

The point is, the vita is finally backed up by a decent amount of big studios. It does not stop here, as the Vita is also seeing a growing number of interesting titles, close to what indie studios would come up with: Gravity Rush and Sound Shapes come to mind… Established franchises as well as original concepts are coming to the Vita, and this is good.

Meaningful Firmware updates?

I am impressed by the upcoming 1.80 update. I think it has a lot of cool features. The main one will of course be PS1 support, which might get some of us to definitely get rid of their PSP in favor of a new Vita… hey, we can dream, maybe Sony’s upcoming updates will all be rich in features like firmware 1.80. Am I stretching it too far, or does it sound like a reasonable expectation?

Full integration with the PS3

I think the symbiosis between the Vita and the PS3 is the huge point of the gamescom. One of my major concerns with the PSP was that it completely lacked any form of integration with the PS3. Sony was basically failing at creating an ecosystem with its own devices. I was genuinely concerned that the Vita would follow the same path, but clearly Sony have plans here:

The first thing that comes to mind is Cross Buy, a new purchase program that Sony will start soon. The concept is simple: for some selected titles, if you buy the PS Vita version, you get the PS3 version for free, and vice versa. This was already the case for a few games, but this is now coming to major upcoming titles such as Playstation All stars.

In line with this, the upcoming firmware 1.80 for the PS Vita promises that you’ll be able to use the PS Vita as a controller for the games that support it. A way to beat Microsoft’s Surface and Nintendo’s Wii U controller? Sony gives you the controller of next generation’s consoles, except it’s now. If enough games support this, this could be pretty big.

Additionally, support of Playstation+ for Vita users has been announced too, and the increase of Cloud storage for your savegames is another hint: Sony is trying to get you to enjoy a full “100% Sony” experience. It is obvious that they are pushing for an increase of their playstation+ users (a subscribed user is always the best customer a company can have. See amazon pushing for their Prime subscriptions, Hulu pushing for Hulu plus, etc…), but they are also killing two birds with one stone by giving Playstation+ subscribers a new reason to buy a Vita.

Cross play compatibility might also become big. I mentioned the Cross Buy feature, but games such as Assassin’s Creed 3 (and the Vita counterpart Liberation) promise some “interaction” (I am still confused as to what that exactly means) between 2 games, one on the Vita, the other one on the PS3.

Overall, Sony is giving PS3 owners more and more reasons to buy a Vita, something that I think they had failed to do with the PSP.

Conclusion

With gamescom, it seems to me that Sony is trying very hard to make the Vita appealing to a large audience. Casual gamers, Hardcore gamers, and loyal customers who also own a PS3 and/or a playstation plus account. This is awkward as I wrote another article recently (not published yet) about how Sony lost the war with portable gaming against smartphones and tablets…and today I am not entirely convinced of that anymore.

Do you guys think the Vita has a bright future?

  1. freddy_156’s avatar

    I disagree. Except for a couple of new games, they’re all spinoffs of famous PS3 games, that strategy may work, but still waiting for a new game worth playing.

    Reply

    1. arturia’s avatar

      all nintendo games are spin offs yet why have people been buying super mario for generations?

      Reply

  2. DrROBschiz’s avatar

    You clearly haven’t seen Soul Sacrifice then. Very exciting new IP and vita exclusive

    Reply

  3. Cercata’s avatar

    I’d like to have a PS3 instead of a Xbox 360 now !!!!

    But, what do I do with my hundres games ? And some of them I plan to replay them …

    Reply

  4. StepS’s avatar

    Wololo, I think you have confused the “Microsoft’s Surface” with “Xbox SmartGlass”?

    Reply

    1. Ronald’s avatar

      No he means surface because as soon as it comes out it will definitely have xbox 360 compatibility.

      Reply

      1. Josh’s avatar

        Surface is just a tablet like any for the Windows 8 tablets. SmartGlass is the app that will let you control your Xbox, and that’s for any PC running Windows although tablets and phones obviously make the most sense.

        Reply

        1. StepS’s avatar

          oh ok. Just I thought that it’s another tablet

          Reply

  5. psp411’s avatar

    tnx for the good news wololo, but I want to see remotepla ps3 titles in my vita, a feature already for ps3cfw users, wy we have to hack our ps3 to play remote our ps3titles? and a pdf reader on vita I’m an asiduos reader wy carring 2 devices if I can carry onli one (psvita)? do you have the same problem on the airplain, or in the bus?

    youtube was a hometun I agree, facebook too, but there is no other aplications usefulls on vita already.

    yea we looks like oliver please sony do I have more?
    but vita isn´t cheap right? I want some more to my expensive device, something to make me feel in the tecnology avangard, I feel not grong on this

    with that remoteplay ps3titles (legaly) and pdf reader we finaly can be proud to have a vita

    cheers and respects

    Reply

  6. Watching The World Burn’s avatar

    Vita now has a library now all we need is for Sony to realize that HBL is only a emulator and everything will be awsome with the vita. :)

    Reply

  7. man_of_power05’s avatar

    eh still not many good looking games, ps1 game compatability should have come at launch, ps plus is crap $50 a year for a *chance of good deals and good freebees, that cross buy feature is a good idea but…knowing sony its only gonna be for games buyable on psn and since psn prices for retail games are horrible there’s little point, the fact that you can use vita as a ps3 controller is a good idea but i doubt many games will work with it, a system that’s locked tighter than fort knox, and oh yes still a high price. the game exact price as a ps3 unless you get the useless 3g model then its actually more than a ps3. i don’t think a handheld’s price is supposed to be so close to a home console’s price.

    but then again maybe i’m being too harsh. it took 3ds a while to take off as well. 3ds had a bad launch too.

    Reply

    1. Gradon’s avatar

      They said on PS blog Cross Buy its for retail disks as well.

      Reply

      1. man_of_power05’s avatar

        oh really? consider me suprised. but its only for first party games that has a vita and ps3 version. can’t imagine that’d be a lot of games. i know playstation all stars but what else? maybe god of war asension?

        Reply

        1. CycloneFox’s avatar

          The so called Cross Buy accounts for:
          Motor Storm RC,
          Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time,(Cross Save and Cross Control also),
          LittleBigPlanet™ Karting,
          Ratchet & Clank®: Full Frontal Assault,
          All Stars Battle Royale,
          Warrior’s Lair,

          … Those are all just first party titles, I know, but 3rd partys will follow, as Sony is in talk with other developers atm. Every coming Kojima Production title will come for PS Vita and PS3 simultaniously. The MGS HD collection has no cross buy yet, as the two versions came out at different times, but ZoE HD might be cross buy, if you ask me.
          And as Gradon postet, cross buy doesn’t only apply for download games like Motor Storm RC, but it was already said at E3 2011, that Ruin, renamed to Warrior’s Lair will have a PS3 Disc and a PSVita Card in the same retail pack.

          Reply

          1. CycloneFox’s avatar

            sorry, i forgot soundshapes. it looks pretty awesome, supports cross buy, cross save, cross play (for best lists) and just costs 12 bugs… maybe i’ll give it a try…

  8. Pirate Cat’s avatar

    When you pay for a system that’s this restrictive, the least they can do is provide real updates.

    Reply

  9. Acid_Snake’s avatar

    I still say next year could be decisive for the vita, if sony manages the following:
    - Mainstream games
    - Lots of features
    - Proper price drop
    - Keeping PSM open (or allowing homebrews in some other way)

    Reply

    1. CycloneFox’s avatar

      -Mainstream games were never Sony’s main area
      -I think, the Vita already features more features than anything else, or I don’t understand your point
      -Price drop won’t come this year. Maybe later next year
      -With Playstation Mobile, anyone will be able to develop games for the PSN, which will run on PS Vita and other PS-certified devices.(Experia, HTC, Asus, Wikipad, others should follow…) As it looks like for now, releasing a homebrew via PSN will be familiar to releasing something on Apples App Store.

      Reply

      1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

        - Yes they are, they’re the main vain of playstation

        - Nope, it lacks many, many, many features for such a powerful device.

        - If you actually read I wasn’t talking about this year, I’ll quote myself: “I still say NEXT year could be decisive for the vita”, it is too early for a price drop this year.

        - PSM is not a homebrew solution: you have to pay for the license, your homebrew has to be approved, your homebrew can’t be free, and your homebrew has to be compatible with the most low end PS-certified device.

        Reply

    2. arturia’s avatar

      i read somewhere that sony ceo doesnt want to give vita a price drop anytime soon. maybe cause they know the wii u is coming out and want to rival it. the 3ds is crap its only 3d lens on a ds nothing much to challenge about.

      Reply

  10. Gradon’s avatar

    If you follow the Playstation blog Wololo, its unfortunate but they noted that the Cross Buy is only if you buy the PS3 version. Still a good deal in my opinion though.

    Reply

  11. bsanehi’s avatar

    Looks like we lost wololo to the dark side of the force.

    Reply

    1. DigiTak’s avatar

      Why do you say this? Because he’s finally enjoying the portable console he owns now? -_-

      Reply

  12. Norml’s avatar

    So to some it up, the Vita is just a gimmick device for the PS3.

    Reply

  13. Sakuryu’s avatar

    I personally love my vita and feel it was an amazing buy for what I got. I am truly looking forward to all of this stuff including PS1, More PSP, VHBL, and possibly ps2 titles being pulled over :D (I’d love to be rocking Shin Megami Tensei Avatar tuner on my Vita)

    Reply

  14. Mr_Lick_An_Areola’s avatar

    As long as that PS1 support comes out im all good

    Reply

  15. Micheal’s avatar

    I do think the PS vita will have a bright a head for it. But with its current price at 250$ and 300$ its still going to make people reconsider buying it. Sony said there wont be a price drop for this year cause its to early and would cause big probables. I am considering buying a Ps vita before the year ends but i don’t want to pay 250$ then see 3 or 4 months later they announce a price drop. Showed i wait or buy one?

    Reply

  16. Asmith906’s avatar

    it’d be idiotic from a business standpoint if you could buy the vita version for $40 and get the ps3 version which cost $60 for free. Also Sony isn’t going to drop the price of the vita until it’s cheaper to make. They’ve gone on the record and said that. I have a vita and i can tell you it’s well worth $250. And if that’s too much for you it can easily be bought for $200 on amazon.

    Reply

    1. CycloneFox’s avatar

      I already found some used Vitas in good shape at local retailer for about 169€. It has even still got it’s warranty… Okay, that’s not exactly the dollar price, but as you know, for some reason, when it comes to electronics, it’s €=$…

      I bought mine as preorder for 250€ with a 4 gig mem card and a discount for Rayman Origins, and it was abolutely worth it.

      Reply

  17. SSJ-Vita’s avatar

    I just wish there was a way to financially ruin adobe for not letting my vita view weather in motion. I had a really old old-school phone way back in the day that could and it just doesn’t seem right that my handheld powerhouse can’t. That said, youtube should have never become an app on any device *unless as a shortcut to the www*, because it has almost none of the functions youtube offers other than play, pause and comment. From an anti nwo point of view it looks like they turned one of the worlds leading information websites and castrated it by ‘app’ing it. Frog in a blender psp anyone?

    Reply

  18. M3rror’s avatar

    Still waiting for that Remote Play update. I know that’s enabled from the developers who created the game, but it’s not hard to change a setting through a patch. Unless Sony is being real jerks about it and making it cost developers to update their game for something that would help Sony greatly.

    Reply

  19. Aggie’s avatar

    What do i need a psone for? why no PS2!!?? this mad device earns better!!!

    Reply

  20. ADX2’s avatar

    sony should unlock its full potential of ps3 remoteplay feature ,making all the ps3 games playable on vita using remoteplay ……….. THEY SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

    Reply

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