Sony’s PlayStation Vita has a wealth of potential, thanks to a variety of features that could make it a hit amongst the gaming community.
On the flip side, those same features could seal its fate.
There’s no question that it’s a technically impressive device, with near PlayStation 3 quality graphics and a sexy five-inch screen. Sony’s monster definitely puts other handhelds to shame.
That being said, and if the company isn’t careful, the following could spell doom for the highly anticipated handheld.
Too many gimmicks
The Vita is the Swiss Army Knife of portable systems. There’s a touch screen, rear touch pad, two analogue sticks, 3G support (more on that later) two cameras and a gyroscope, everything a gamer needs, right?
Not necessarily. If anything, it’s more confusing to casual and non-gamers trying to wrap their heads around such an overloaded system. Developers will shoehorn touch controls into games for no logical reason (other than they can), while the rear touch pad could prove troublesome, since it’s tough gripping the device without interfering with it.
Bottom line, people love iPhone because it’s pathetically easy to use. Vita, not so much.
Not enough casual games…yet
If Sony wants to lure Apple fans away from their “i” devices, it needs to Vita to run similar games, such as Angry Birds, Infinity Blade and Cut the Rope. So far, the company has yet to reveal a strategy for casual gamers. Instead, it’s been business as usual, with new Wipeout, Hot Shots Golf and Uncharted games on the way. Those won’t pry iPhones from people’s hands.
Two different SKUs
Revealing two models of Vita made Sony look ridiculous. Consumers won’t flood stores to pay $50 more for a 3G enabled Vita when they can grab the base model for $250.
If anything, Sony should have debuted one system with 3G built in, then allowed gamers to decide whether or not they wanted subscriptions.
Unless Sony drops the price of 3G Vita, systems will collect dust in stores for months.
No phone support
Let’s face it, an all-in-one device should include a phone; iPad is a rare exception. The fact that Vita doesn’t allow users to make calls may drop its stock considerably among consumers that would rather carry one gadget instead of two or more.
Sony knows it somewhat dropped the proverbial ball with Vita’s predecessor, the PSP. That’s probably one of the reasons why the publisher decided against naming the system PSP2. Sure, the handheld has done well across all territories, but Sony’s own bumbling resulted in a bizarre and disappointing software drought; Nintendo’s DS also had something to do with that.
Despite the name change, we’d bet there are plenty of gamers that feel burned by the PSP and are wary of handing Sony another $250. On that note, the company will need an aggressive marketing strategy moving forward.