The Playstation Vita is still relevant

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Vita is not performing well in the marketplace.  The prevailing public opinion seems to be that “there aren’t any games for it,” and that “it is too expensive.”  Are these claims true?  The purpose of this article is to examine the Vita, and to determine its strengths (and weaknesses) and how Sony could shore up sales of the Vita.

System specifications:

The Vita runs a quad core, ARM-Cortex A9 CPU (one of the four cores is set aside for system use, leaving three cores free).  This is a 32 bit processor designed for high end mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc), and is comparable to, but quite a bit more powerful than, the ARM11 CPU in the 3DS (if you follow these sorts of things, the original Tegra chipset uses an ARM11).  It is also less powerful than the ARM-Cortex A15 which is in the Tegra 4 (which was just announced in January of this year).  As far as CPU power goes, it can safely be stated that the Vita outpowers any device currently on the market (unless I’ve missed a Tegra 4 release), and there should be no bottlenecks in the area of the CPU.

GPU wise, the Vita uses a quad-core SGX543MP4+.  This is a modified version of the PowerVR GPU that powers that iPad 3, which runs at 7.2 GFLOPS—equal to the Tegra 3, and outpacing the Pica 200 that powers the 3DS (sadly, I could not obtain solid numbers for this as Nintendo does not release tech specs for their systems anymore).  There are mobile GPUs that outperform the Vita (like the Adreno 225 and the Tegra 4), but not many.  Some have compared the Vita to a “portable PS3,” but the performance of the Vita is nowhere close to the PS3: the GPU in the PS3 outputs 176 GFLOPS.

ps3

Sorry little Vita, I love ya, but you’re not in the same class as your big brother.

Other neat features of the Vita include a capacitive back panel and front touch screen, dual analog sticks (yay!), Sixaxis motion controls, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, wifi (b/g/n), front and rear cameras, a 960×544 OLED screen (which is beautiful), and 3G (on certain models).  The Vita also sports 512 MB of RAM and 128 MB of vRAM, which is more than adequate for such a small screen/ low resolution.

When taken as a whole, the Vita is an impressive piece of hardware, even a year after its release.  These technical specs are actually a drawback for the system in some regards, but this will be discussed later.

  OLED

The difference between OLED and LCD is huge.  Go to your local game retailer and pick up a Vita for a test run if you don’t believe me.

Games:

There are not many games out for the Vita.  There, I’ve said it.  It is demonstrably true; there is no point in arguing the matter.  The assertion that there are no “good” games on the Vita, however, is demonstrably false.  Some AAA releases are:

  • Persona 4 Golden
  • LittleBigPlanet Vita
  • Rayman Origins
  • Guacamelee
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
  • Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Apologies if I did not list your favorite game here.  The point is, there are plenty of great games on the Vita, and more are coming.  Anyone who tells you that the Vita “has no good games” is either a fanboy, uninformed, or willfully ignorant.

LBP

Show this to anyone who says that the Vita has no good games. 

Problems:

The Vita is a great system, and it has some terrific games, but it isn’t perfect.  The biggest problem with the system is the cost.  The system alone is $250 ($300 for the 3G version).  In addition, the system is barely functional without a memory card.  Sony, in their wisdom, decided that memory cards would be proprietary and expensive—you’re looking at spending at least $30 for a small, 8 GB memory card.  Don’t forget that you’ll want a case to protect the screen, too—this is not a clamshell design!  Digital distribution is neat, but the discount for digital games is negligible at best.  The whole set up, from the initial purchase to the accessories to the games, feels like it is designed to bleed you dry, and that isn’t a good way to build a consumer base.

Stack Of Cash

Sony’s business strategy: You have money.  We want money.  Give us your money.

The lack of breadth in the game line-up is another major issue the Vita has.  If you don’t like one or two genres of games, that could knock a huge percentage of decent games off the list.  There are few multiplatform titles on the Vita, and this all relates to power: outside of Sony, few developers seem interested in making the leap from PS3 to Vita (the Vita just doesn’t have the horsepower), and few seem interested in making the leap from mobile or the 3DS to Vita (Vita owners reasonably expect those ports to look good—that’s more work).  It’s an interesting problem to have, really: the Vita isn’t powerful enough for most console ports, and is too powerful for handheld ports.

rayman

I like this.  More of this, please.

Finally, the anti-piracy measures taken are downright draconian.  This is somewhat understandable since the PSP was hacked wide open for nearly its entire shelf life, but it still sucks for the consumer.  I need to run a background application to connect my Vita to my PC?  I can’t just connect to my PS3 and transfer data without all kinds of stupid security layers opening up?  I need an overpriced, proprietary memory card ($100 for 32 GB!  I can get 32 GB of SD memory for $20!) just because I can’t be trusted to look at my files?

hamburglar

I’m not a criminal!  Stop treating me like one!

Solutions:

1)  The system needs a damn price drop.  I could get a 3DS XL for $200.  Yes, I know it isn’t comparable, but to the average consumer, it is.  You take it with you and play games on it.  Also, the price of the memory cards needs to drop to reasonable levels.  Get SanDisk to start making them, I don’t care.  These proprietary memory cards are unreasonably driving the cost of the system up, and I believe cost is the primary factor driving Vita sales down.

memory

The bane of my existence.

2)  Sony needs to fix the game problem with a two-pronged approach.  First, they need to start actively courting 3rd parties to make more games for the Vita (and kicking 1st and 2nd parties into gear—where the hell is God of War?  We don’t even have an announcement).  Second, they need to start advertising.  The Vita has a small but great line up of games.  Why, then, does the rumor persist that the Vita “has no good games?”  Because Sony hasn’t told anyone.

vita ad

I know if one thing tells me “we have good games,” its an ad with a girl with breasts on her back.  *sigh*

3)  CMA has got to go.  Also, there must be a better way to connect to my PS3.  For crying out loud, it’s one closed Sony system connecting to another!  What kind of hacking am I going to do with my Dual Shock 3?

Conclusion:

The Vita is a really nice piece of hardware with some great games.  It is powerful enough that I suspect future games will really shine—if there are future games.  Sony has some work to do if they want to make the Vita competitive with the 3DS.  As a Vita owner, I hope they act before it is too late.

  1. One’s avatar

    The vita doesn’t have many games that’s still a fact…

    Reply

    1. josh’s avatar

      Vita will fail, and Sony is just too proud to ever take a look at the freaking facts. I’ve had a vita since release, and honestly, I’ve only used it to play little big planet, and MGS. (which is about 10 times). Then, I bought a nexus 4 and gave the vita to my dad(all he uses it for is to look at nature pics -.-)

      Vita, there’s no other way to put this, you’re a fucking waste of time and money.

      Reply

      1. clyde’s avatar

        Relax your testicles Josh! Sony (to their fault) admittedly has not handled marketing the device well but that doesn’t mean the Vita will fail. The PS4 is due to be released soon and the cross functionality between the two devices sounds amazing and I’m staying hopeful for the coming E3 announcements pertaining to the PS4 and Vita.

        There are still many games in development and still so much more potential to be unlocked. Don’t let your own ignorance get the better of you. Good things will come eventually, and things have only just begun. A system isn’t DEAD because you say it is.

        Reply

    2. squiggs’s avatar

      you are aware that the 3ds came out with only 1 game. you sir do not know what you are talking about.

      Reply

      1. Ry’s avatar

        When the 3ds came out the titles available were Street Fighter, Rayman, and FIFA, a year later it was Ocarina of Time and Pokemon.

        PsVita released with FIFA and Ridge Racer… a year later the releases are Rayman and FIFA

        Reply

        1. KuroRyuu913’s avatar

          A year later we got Ragnarok Odyssey, Soul Sacrifice, Dead or alive, Street Figher X Tekken, etc.

          It takes time for each console to get games, 3Ds owners from day one should know how that feels.

          Reply

    3. gunblade’s avatar

      yea sony got mostly psp game n like fifty vita or so games u.s i guessing. sum of the apps r alright. the game that r out r prety short resistence .. assasssins creed was alright. cross play with like marverl vs camcom alright network wise i guess touch screen prety lag.. lil deveient sum mini games alright.. they should have had internal storage in the vita atleast with like sixteen or twenty and have the merory card jus as add on storage realy if the 32 was like a 120 GB i can see wy it be like a hundred dallers but shity if he limit on the vita is jus 32 since the ram like 512 i seen cheap android with like two GB ram multy touch screen but he cpu is good for a mobile cpu but every one have likethe four core thingn its mainly vitural n micro processers i be like put two laptop core slots n like steam box graphics a n like windows 7 starter n like the ita os like pstree n outher os jus they can be more like pc in background n play games.. but they jus made a mobile upgrsde to the psp but they game n piracy..

      Reply

      1. gunblade’s avatar

        i think most mobile now days try to be thin n lite so battery r usual smaller litter but then u use more enerygy saving parts.

        Reply

      2. gunblade’s avatar

        sony should have had better speckers to sum beats audio or atleast a small subwoofer ..wow prety shity but like a 7.1 surrond sound be prety mean in mobile. but then the vita has bluetooth.

        Reply

  2. One’s avatar

    Nintendo will fall and Sony will learn…one day…

    Reply

  3. annon’s avatar

    LOl

    sony is too stupid, they WILL NEVER learn anything

    for ex.
    everyone says “you can listen to music while you are playing”

    no it s not true….and it has 512Mb of ram
    I CAN DO IT WITH MY PSP WITH 32mb OF RAM!!

    Reply

    1. gunblade’s avatar

      then the 512 would be like 170 70 50 64 32 8×2×4…

      Reply

  4. Germain’s avatar

    I am thinking on update my Vita , i have it on 1.81 with the exploit , but this is so boring… cant play online or see what’s new on the store

    Reply

    1. gunblade’s avatar

      if u have 1.81 try using xli.nk dont no if it works but i guess u can play monster hunter but dont no if here much people onlinenow days didnot go on it n a while. think 1.81 has ark so maybe it works.

      Reply

  5. laval’s avatar

    this is so true there is nearly no advertisement for this awesome handheld, the games are ok but need more price drop yes, less money for the memory card

    Reply

  6. Prank’s avatar

    El error de vita, es que Sony lo haya sacado después del 3DS sin haberle puesto 3D al vita.
    El 3D es el peor problema :/

    Reply

    1. Germain’s avatar

      No hablas en serio verdad?

      Reply

  7. mushimushi’s avatar

    i aswell am disappointed… i rarely use the thing to play games. nowadays it’s just a youtube player, because there isn’t much more to do with it.. all the new games to be released are some extremely boring arcade games that you might try for 2 minutes and regret that you wasted your time on those. i noticed that the vita hasn’t got absolutely no legitemate rally games, only some very very cheesy arcade racers (yes, wipeout is not for me and even my buttcrack is more appealing than wrc). from the looks of it i’d say if the vita won’t breath soon enough, it will die. derp.

    Reply

    1. stOneskull’s avatar

      Sonic Transformed is good fun, man.. it looks and plays great on Vita.. and the game loading times are the best around..

      Reply

      1. Germain’s avatar

        Is a great game , i really like Sonic all star racing trasnformerd

        Reply

  8. psvita-freak’s avatar

    The games are way to expensive for me. but i’m sure that if the vita got’s hacked, the vita will be sold more then before… yes, it’s an idea for sony to let it be hacked… if they want the cash… :)

    Reply

  9. chazychazrox’s avatar

    Choosing between 3G or Wifi was also my problem at first. Luckily, I bought the 3G/wifi system last year on europe.

    Reply

    1. Germain’s avatar

      Lucky? are you serious????

      WIFI is the best deal for anyone , are you thinking to pay the 3g every month?

      Reply

  10. Deamon’s avatar

    Please forward this article directly to Sony and hope they improve an otherwise great mobile gaming system.

    Reply

  11. lim’s avatar

    the most weakness that i found is sony released few vita game cards

    Reply

  12. StanSmith’s avatar

    Some very good points made.
    But the same goes for the Wii U. Its also got no games and priced too high. Both have a owner that doesn’t care for it.
    Someone needs to kick both Sony and Nintendo in the ass and make them stop their bullshit and start helping everyone out by;
    1, dropping the price to make it easier to afford.
    2, get game devs to actually make and release games for it.

    How will the console last if game devs dont make games for it? If there are no games people wont buy the system.
    OR if they want to stick with the crap ways they have now then they have no choice but to ignore the hackers who release mod chips and other hacks for backups to run. Thats another way to sell systems.

    Piracy does NOT hurt sales. It helps it. Does the PSP still sell to this day? YES. Has it had piracy all its life? YES. Has piracy hurt sames of the PSP? NO.

    SO if they arn’t going to fix it themselves here are 2 points to help the hackers.
    1, leave them alone, dont sue them.
    2, leave the exploits open, dont patch the holes that make these exploits work.

    There are 2 ways to go, the legal way or the not so legal way. Its up to them now.

    Reply

    1. TStrauss’s avatar

      You’re talking about two different things under the same label. Hacking =/ piracy.

      Hacking is enabling unsigned code to run on a device. This enables homebrew (a good thing) and usually enable piracy (a bad thing).

      Piracy does hurt sales. I’ve heard all the facile arguments before, so spare me. If you can get the game for free, most people won’t be troubled to buy it. Piracy figures and trends are troubling, and Sony would be foolish.

      Homebrew, on the other hand, opens a device up to some really cool homemade software. XBMC was originally homebrew for the Xbox. Wololo’s Wagic is homebrew. Cave Story started out as homebrew.

      The problem for Sony is, if they leave the door open for homebrew, piracy always rides its coat tails. So the smart business move for Sony is to kill all hacking. It sucks for homebrew enthusiasts like me, but pirates ruin it for everyone. The PS mobile thing was probably Sony’s attempt to placate homebrew without compromising security. I doubt it will placate anyone in the homebrew scene, but it’s a start.

      Reply

      1. VoDkAvi’s avatar

        Very true. But regarding piracy, when they take a game off the store because of licensing issues it’s BS that I missed out. I wouldn’t mind paying for it but if you dont give me the option piracy becomes justified which wouldn’t hurt any sales because its not even on the store for me to purchase.

        They say it’s about sales but the PSP did amazing….. they really just want to try to monopolize things. Its like justifying linking games to your account to stop used game sales. I can see why they’re mad that it “hurts sales” but i would love to buy certain games direct from sonys store but they dont offer it….my only option is to pirate..its ridiculous to think im going to buy a PS1 and go through a bunch of trouble and put money in peoples hand through amazon and ebay (not sony) when they couldve made $250 from me buying a vita cuz it just made my life easier

        Reply

  13. prince dess’s avatar

    in all relevance the vita is a great console and like anything its gonna take work to overcome obstacles ive owned mine since launch got loads of psp games on it bought a few game cards and i love it people just dont give it time . look at the ps1 for example it was a “waste” of money at first but sony is wise and knows the.consumer well just wait for holiday season this year .

    Reply

  14. Hellinferno’s avatar

    If sony dont work with great companies like Snk and sega vita will be dead sooner or later.Snk are making games for IOS and cellphones,that sucks,some of the creators of Kof said that it will be interesting to release the game on vita but i guess sony let that pass away.Incredible games like Metal slug,king of fighters,castlevania,sonic,bloody roar,tekken,rage of the dragons,power instinct matrimelee-matsuri,GOD OF WAR,skullmonkeys,gran turismo,crash,spiro,medievil,kingdom hearts,dragon ball,naruto,fairy tail,fatal frame with motion camera it will be amazing, and many others are not present on thee vita so that’s why is going down.

    Reply

  15. michael’s avatar

    to annon,doyoueven

    Reply

  16. michael’s avatar

    to annon, do you even have a vita ? as playing cod just now and playing my music

    Reply

  17. Anon’s avatar

    PS Vita has around 100 games (US).
    I don’t really think 1 game every ~4.6 days(US) is that bad.

    Reply

  18. Pirate’s avatar

    the wrong with sony is they released ps vita then after one year, they announce PS4?? so the sale of ps vita would go down, because not anyone is a rich person that can buy the 2 consoles together, some people saving their money for PS4, they forget the ps vita and wait for the ps4…
    that’s not a good plan from them…. -_-

    Reply

  19. jeebs’s avatar

    I wont be surprised if Vita will sink so badly, that SONY will give people a hint on how to truly hack it. (No PSP emulator crap)

    The follow up will be :

    - popularity increased by 1000% followed by sales
    - new emulators and cool apps will start to show (taking advantaged of Vita powerful hardware)
    - torrents will be flooded by vita games
    - since it will be unlocked, the memory cards will surely be replaced by chinese cheap ones. But still good enough.Actually dont even be surprised if one day you will see an SSD drive hooked up to a fully hacked Vita.
    - and lastly people will still buy great games. Whoever says piracy will totally kill Vita, then answer me, why Gran Turismo sold 3.86million units on that fully hacked device called PSP?!?!?

    PC games dont sell that good ffs. We need CFW!

    Reply

    1. TStrauss’s avatar

      You really believe this? Sony will open up the Vita for hacking?

      Reply

  20. Aaa’s avatar

    Vita problem….

    First problem, exemple : photos…No folders, the OS is very closed…. In resume…there no one simple past and copy (PC)…as psp1

    …. Second problem

    NO GAMES in deep…
    no, resent evil, gran turismo, snk, and many others …. Get the PS1 or PS2 …there many games…

    Metal gear is great, but is only one port of PS2….

    …. Gran turismo and resident evil, as others ….. Sony need to learn that ” is the more important ” yes sony you are great but…. No games no win…

    Gran turismo 5 is great, but forza 4 is amazing too, and of corse i will buy the new Xbox720 we will have forza 5 ….in a little time….

    New playstation 4 …yes is great, but I don’t think to buy it…
    ….gran turismo 6 or 7…..yeah… In next 3 or 4 years…..

    The problem for Sony is ….games ….

    We can see the Nintendo …
    I have both, the Nintendo and the psvita ….
    Well psvita is very better, hardware, screen …and etc…

    BUT, I have 4x time more games than psvita ;( ….

    Normally I use the psvita only for movies…because the iPhone screen is small….but if I buy one galaxy S4 …. Is preety sure that I will leave the psvita in the box of my desk ……

    The psvita need GAMES and one OPEN system …( as android )

    Reply

    1. jpolvora’s avatar

      agreed.

      Reply

  21. VoDkAvi’s avatar

    Vita, and even the 3DS are phenomenal pieces of hardware. Hacking is a HUGE benefit. ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT PIRACY. I wouldnt mind paying a measly $5 for a classic game but due to licenses and a whole bunch of other bullshi+ Sony doesnt give me the option to. So how are you losing out on money if its not even in the PS store to make profit in the first place. Plus with hacking I’d be able to play Nintendo games on a Sony device, which legally would never happen. And thats still not even taking money from Nintendo because even they dont have games you want on the online store.

    At this point in time you would think hacking devices would be easier but yet I find myself looking for a PSP 1000 to mod which would end up putting money in someones hand off amazon and not in Sonys. They need to realize shi+ like this and stop being tards. Think about the gamers and your profits will come.

    Reply

  22. VoDkAvi’s avatar

    Sony can’t stop hacking throughout all devices nore are they monopolizing any market. Therefore I don’t have to buy a PS Vita. If you want to lock it down FINE. Is Sony not aware that people will still hack something else or buy something like an android gaming tablet or those dingoo handhelds to do things you wont allow us to do on a Vita? IThey actually would make more money selling the $250 Vita instead of worrying about the $40 crap games they’re trying to protect. I would count every Dingoo or android gaming tablet as a loss for the Vita. Those are where your losses count, not piracy.

    Reply

  23. skpg’s avatar

    I really don’t give a shit about Sony at this point. If the Vita is fully hacked and modded, I will play all the pirated games I want, same thing goes for the 3DS. Besides the Vita being fully hacked will only bring more notoriety for the Vita, which will boost sales.

    I would like to play some snes and genesis games on the Vita though.

    Reply

  24. steve’s avatar

    hey sony i spend over 250$ for a vita. lets go make some game!! where is skyrim mass effect gta turismo helloooo anybody work in sony for making games. a lack of all. game are to expensive for a really crap. come on hurry up

    Reply

  25. ramen’s avatar

    I was seriously considering buying a vita but in all honestly there are no games for a lot of core gamers.
    We have played persona 4 to its death on ps2 and a straight port of fifa 11 console version just meh. What elst teh vita has got? Well let’s see, an uncharted and a barely functional assassin’s creed. Step up the game Sony.

    Reply

  26. Kyu’s avatar

    Good thing that I plan to get Jak trilogy and disgaea 3 (I only got 3 on ps2 and I have not rushed to buy Disgaea,foolishly waiting for a sale or sth lol)

    Reply

  27. tmulaku’s avatar

    i have just bought a vita and to be honest, was a little bit worried when the retailer ler told me that he had no games with him in store. now i have to SEARCH for them myself.

    Reply

  28. sander’s avatar

    GPU power is 4times , 7.2Gflops. not only 7.2Ggflops alone. GFLOPS(@ 200 MHz,per core): 7.2

    Reply

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