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Gameverse | May 29, 2017

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Is PS Vita Becoming an Indie Console?

T.L. Bodine

ps_vita_angledIn the land of handheld gaming – already a dying breed – the PS Vita is a clear loser.  It’s sold just a 10th of the models as its predecessor the PSP, and the Nintendo DS has outstripped sales 20-to-1.  The system’s woeful performance is a clear indicator that Sony needs to come up with a new strategy or leave the handheld gaming market altogether, and it would seem that their solution is to shift the system’s focus toward indie games.

There are a few reasons the Vita has done so poorly.  One, it’s not priced competitively.  The 3DS sits at a cheaper price point and offers something unique; the Vita has better graphics, but the lack of novelty and higher price tag make it unattractive.  Two, its game selection is poor.  Missing the flagship titles that make the system worth buying, the Vita simply fails to offer anything that’s not available elsewhere.  Finally, dedicated handheld gaming devices are losing steam altogether in a world where mobile phones are the de facto choice for people looking to play on the go.

So what’s the point of owning a PS Vita?

Really, the system is good for two things: Remote play for your PS4, and playing small games like ported-in classics and indies from the PSN store.

In many ways, it makes sense that indie games would do well on the console.  They frequently have lower-quality graphics that don’t need the visual power of a full-size engine, and many of the titles distributed by Sony offer a simplistic arcade-style game play that yields itself to playing in small bursts.  Since most indie games purchased on the PS Vita can also be played on the PS4 without securing an additional copy, gamers get a little added value that wouldn’t be possible for a PC or mobile phone.  Coupling these strengths with the obvious reluctance of top-tier gaming companies to produce titles for the struggling console and it becomes clear that the Vita is an indie console whether it wants to be or not.

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  • nonscpo

    I totally disagree with your first point about the Vita not being priced competitively. Its around the same price point as a Nintendo 3DSXL and depending on the region for the price tag your getting a memory card and game vouchers. More importantly when briging up the argument of the Vita being a Indie platform, people forget to take into account all those middle-tier japanese publisher, developers, and localizers that are briging us quality games outside of Japan.

    • novurdim

      He clearly has no idea about vita library and that works pretty well for making hollow but provocative article.
      But let’s not break his sweet delirium. He has worked real hard to bait that click.

      • nonscpo

        Its not that its a bait-click article that frustrates me, its that this is the general mentality of people who dont own the system or have played with the system. Wheres the recognition for all those wonderfull niche titles, and the companies that bring them over? Why arent we praising NIS for giving us Dangan Ronpa, Atlus for Persona, Sega for Hatsune Miku, and KoeiTecmo for Dynasty Warriors!