Why The Vita Doesn’t Appeal To Me

So here’s the thing about Sony’s portable offerings. I’ve tried to care, I really have. As a piece of hardware the Vita looks absolutely astounding and I remember looking at the PSP in comparison to the DS when the PSP launched. The tech that Sony were offering seemed to outclass the DS in my opinion, and UMDs seemed like a great option. I mean everyone knows and trusts optical media, it’s everywhere around us. Hell they were putting out movies on UMDs, how cool was that? Being able to watch films on the way home clearly seemed the way forwards.

Do you know what I bought? A DS. I still have that original DS, the very first iteration of Nintendo’s double-screened portable. I never got around to getting a PSP, at least partly because I couldn’t use it to play Mario Kart. If it was going to go to college with me, and it made that trip many times, then that was all it really needed to do. I don’t actually think I owned anything other than Mario Kart for some time.

[drop]That’s the sort of game that the DS was sold on really, games like Mario Kart. I don’t mean that in the sense that it’s one of the games that crops up on every Nintendo platform ever, I mean games that I can pick it up for a few minutes and then be done with it. There’s so many DS games that let me do this, I can just play a track of Mario Kart or a fight or two in whatever version of Mortal Kombat I have for it. Even Pokémon lets me do a few quick battles and then slip it back in my bag.

This is the key thing with a portable gaming system for me, it’s one of the reasons that games on my iPhone appeal so much. I just want to play something I can pick up on the bus and essentially be done with by the time I need to get off.

Yes, the iPhone’s low-end price tag on games is certainly appealing but it’s the type of games that appear on the App Store that really sell them to me. For example I can open up Flick Kick Football, slam a few balls into the new, fail dismally and then it’s time to get off the bus again.

Neither the PSP or the Vita has been sold to me in this way. Oh, I know that it’s getting some of these pick up and play titles but Sony’s advertising seems to be focused around selling me games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Back on the PSP there was a focus on these larger experiences as well, it seemed to always be games like God of War: Chains of Olympus that were pushed to the forefront.

Now I’m not saying that these are bad games, in fact the response to Golden Abyss seems to be very positive. However, I don’t want to sit down and play twenty minutes of one of Drake’s adventures. I may have spent some time talking about my issues with the Uncharted series but I still enjoyed plopping myself in front of the TV for longer than I’d care to admit and playing through the games in just a couple of sessions each.

[drop2]That’s just not how the game will work on a portable console. I know I can sit down on my sofa and play it but why would I? There’s two consoles connected to my TV right now. If I shuffle things around I can connect up an original Xbox, a Gamecube or even a N64. I can even bring in a Master System, if I can work out how to resurrect it. With all of that at my fingertips I’m not sure I’d really want to sit in my front room with the Vita for a while.

No, for me portable machines are for the bus or the train, they’re for if I have five minutes between writing one article and editing the next. On more than one occasion they’ve been for waiting for a reply to an email from a client. They are not, to me, for playing huge adventures like Uncharted.

Of course, I’m there are many of you who the Vita is a perfect fit for, and I hope you enjoy it, I really do. For me however? It just doesn’t seem right.

Now, where did I put that iPhone? Time for some StickCricket.

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136 Comments

  1. I just dont care for portable gaming. I tried playing GTAIII on the iphone last night. God its hard to control! and you are there with a tiny screen to look at cramped up like a magicians assistant in the sword box.

    Give me a DS3/ Xbox controller any day and il live happily ever after with my blockbuster games and a big TV.

    • Those games would never work on an iOS UNLESS

      • It had buttons….
        (sorry mouse rebeled on me)

  2. Yep, gaming whilst mobile is one of the key reasons for the rise of Apple

    Yet to see anything to suggest Sony are capable of taking a slice of this massive pie, originally thought PS Suite was for that, but rather disappointingly it appears to be a framework for getting PSOne ‘Classics’ on to a range of Sony devices.

    Games that are better tailored to playing whilst sat on a sofa where a home console & large screen TV are available, always seem kinda pointless to me, the niche appeal (even if it was a large niche) of the PSP proved this.

    Some people will point to the power of the Vita as a reason for success as it’s capable of home console quality gaming, forgetting that is exactly the reason for the PSP whose quality titles rivalled that of 95% of PS2 games… the home console of the time.

    I hope Sony can broaden the appeal, but I’m yet to see how they’ll do it.

    • For me the big problem was that PSP never actually ‘copied’ the console experience. It just failed to. PSVita looks like it actually can do this fine. For me God of War was bliss but far too short. Peace Walker was amazing as well because it allowed for short bursts of gameplay within an ‘AAA’ experience.

  3. So who is financing all the Vita hate? I’m guessing Microsoft, but it could be Nintendo US, both of these invest heavily in viral marketing and disruptive marketing techniques.

    Someone want to point out to this idiot, that he has the choice of full-blown games AND throwaway titles thanks to the PSN Minis…

    Either he doesn’t want to see, or is being paid not to see.

    • He doesn’t even touch on the Vita’s location based gaming, and augumented reality gaming…

      bizarre.. Considering they aren’t here yet, i’m guessing everything he has written was simply given to him in a script.

      • Here’s my guess – you’re new here.

      • Calm down, dude; he does stress throughout the whole article that he’s only expressing his own opinion about the Vita and that it’s not the right machine FOR HIM…

      • How about there is no conspiracy which opposes your point of view, another human being just has a different opinion.

        No, that’s too far fetched, obviously it’s much more likely Microsoft employ every single person who happens to think differently to you.

        This comment was brought to you by Microsoft PR.

      • Dear microsoft employee/mole/conspirator/plant…….. Gis a job ;)

      • C’mon guys, you all know you’ve broken the first rule of the internet here, don’t feed the troll! You’ve all fed him, now he’s gone off happy and will return another day with stupid comments making a mess of the comments.

      • Yeah this site is clearly biased against Sony. I mean look at the name of the site for one thing.

      • Aww come on guys, give the lad some slack as TSBoneyman pointed out he’s new here…TBF there is no conspiracy around these here parts mate (read around the site) it’s just a view via one of the writers (a heretic view granted) :P

    • To be fair, minis are quite bad, Monsters Probably Stole My Princess was the only good one.

      • and you have played every mini?

      • tbh all the mini’s I have played with plus – that’s about 50 – are shite, apart from Age of Zombies

      • Fieldrunners is oddly addictive

      • some mini’s are pants… some are great. Pinball Fantasys and Pinball Dreams are great flashbacks to my child hood from the Amiga… Tetris is a good mini as is the monopoly mini, then there is angry birds and whilst it isnt as smooth as the iphone version… its still great to play. age of zombies is also awsome. and i enjoyed monsters stole my princess…. moral of the story here is that not all minis are bad… you just have to know the ones you want.

    • Yeah, because everyone must feel the same way as you, lapping up what ever their company of choice throws at them and shouldn’t be allowed to form opinions of their own with everything they’ve seen so far.

      • So are you saying you don’t accept gifts, lavish product launches and freebies from gaming companies?

        Do you have a easilly accessible policy on this, so we know what what we read is actually someone’s opinion, rather than a paid mouthpiece.

        The only gaming site I know, that has a clear policy, is Joystiq:

        http://www.joystiq.com/ethics/

        (however, they all openly broke it by accepting Microsoft’s free Xbox360 bungs at E3 in 2010).

      • Holy shit, the guy’s serious.

      • Troll hunter just came out on Blu Ray, great film, go watch it peeps.

      • Oh, i take back my previous statement…

    • I have played quite a few minis and have honestly yet to find any that have actually held my attention. If you’ve been here for as long as some of us then you’d know that these are ridiculous accusations against the writer.

      • Agree with Benny Boy, these rants are over the top and unfounded.
        Although as for minis, I love Fieldrunners, and my sudoku and crossword minis.
        Mind you, they’re on iOS too.

    • Parts of gaming doesn’t appeal to everyone. Kris is entitled to his own opinion so why complain?

  4. The time it takes to start a game on Vita needs to be similar to iPhone games too. At least, it does for me. Is it?

    • Apparently Vita is very quick in this regard, specially when you are ‘multitasking’

      • Have to go through a Live Area though, don’t you?

    • For PSN Minis, which are the equivalent of iPhone games. Of course they do.

      Why wouldn’t they? The Vita is 10x more powerful than the iPhone4s, and designed specifically for gaming, not as an afterthought like the iPhone.

      • So you’ve used a Vita then have you?

      • I have my Vita on pre-order, but I’m fairly sure it’s NOT 10 times more powerful than an iPhone. Smartphones pack a hell of a lot more power than you think.

      • hate to change your worldview here but Apple had gaming very much in the forefront of its mind, it knows what makes a device sell.

      • 10x more powerful? That’s a ridiculous statement when nobody can actually can actually agree how to measure the “powerfullness” of a device.

        I could argue that the vita is 11x more powerful than the iphone, because it has 11x more buttons on the front. Since there is no other spec where the vita beats the current iphones by about 10x I assume that’s your definition of power?

    • The psp had the most awesome sleep mode. At the flick of a switch the game was saved and off them the flick of another switch you were back into the game. Instaneous. Turns every game into a pickup and play title. I sunk so much time into monster hunter
      5 minutes here 5 minutes there. I am so psyched for deep, satisfying games on the go. On a system with actual controls.

      • Yep. But the designers have to have been drunk when they chose the placement of that switch. I couldn’t count the number of times i’ve put it to sleep unintentionally.

      • Bladesteel, agreed that the placement of the button was not good. But what it achieved from a usability point of view as great. Once you have started a game it makes Gran Turismo just a s quick to get into as Jetpack Joyride.

      • I have never – ever – put my PSP to sleep accidentally.

  5. I absolutely love ‘hardcore’ portable gaming, however one thing that you can’t say is the PSVita doesn’t offer offer pick-up and play titles. Uncharted is the big game on it. But Escape Plan, Modnation Racers, Gravity Daze, Little Deviants, Rayman Origins, Super Stardust, Hustle Kings and yes, Wipeout do say hi. People always say that Sony just ports over the ‘console’ experience, then they go and play Zelda, Starfox or Mario. I think the problem yet again lies with Sony’s marketing and ambition to take a great idea and execute horribly. Where is PSSuite?

    • PS suite is a framework that Sony has used to port PS1 games to various Sony devices.
      PS1 was a home console too, not always (or even often) ideally suited to gaming whilst mobile

      • Like I said its Sony’s horrible marketing, PSSuite is a developer framework of which PSOne classics are just a small part, Pinball Heroes (hardly a groundbreaking exclusive) is available through it and the only non PSOne game. ; )

    • Where’s the +1 on this thing? :)

  6. I just can’t justify the expense of buying a handheld thats only going to get used for a few weeks each year when I’m on holiday.

  7. Even though it hasn’t released here yet, it doesn’t seem to have that hype or buzz about it that the first PSP did.

    • Any surprise when crap articles like this “I don’t want one because it doesn’t play MarioKart” nonsense is trying to kill it before it launches.

      • His opinion is valid, whether you like it or not, the article is entitled why it doesnt appeal to ME” its as simple as that.

        no-ones killing anything so calm down.

      • I don’t see how your comment relates to mine TrialByFire. At the end of the day it’s simply down to personal opinion.

      • So if another writer on TSA comes out and writes an article titled ‘Why The Vita Does Appeal To Me’ would that readdress the balance. As Democrodile pointed out TSA or it’s writers are not trying to kill the Vita, they are expressing individual opinions.

      • There’s been a series of positive articles by TSA members who’ve forked out hundreds & hundreds & hundreds of pounds for them

        Of course picking up on them doesn’t suit the commenter’s agenda

      • Seriously mate i think you have missed the point on this article!

        You need to calm down.

      • Why are you still around?
        People that don’t understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion should be banned from this place. It doesn’t matter what someone’s opinion is, they have a right to it. Talking and discussing opinions is allowed and welcome but being abusive or attacking someone because you don’t agree is not. So please grow up.

      • As someone who can’t wait to get my hands on a Vita I like this article. It’s a personal it doesn’t suit me. Whether or that actually someone I agree with, it’s not my opinion being spoke but the writers.

        I actually think TSA have managed to report on the Vita on an even level with even the staff spilt on whether or not the device is good or not. I like this, it’s a sensible grown up attitude to all us readers who won’t always agree with each other.

        Also maybe by having pieces like this up, Sony might find a way to appeal to non Vita owners and grown more.

    • I would say it has more buzz than the PSP.

      • Really? Well PSP was like 5 years ago, I was much younger and got excited by everything. Now I don’t so it probably has the same if not more buzz but I don’t perceive it the same. I won’t be getting a Vita. Because I don’t have time for portable gaming any more and it’s out of my price range.

  8. How short are your train journeys?
    I’m quite looking forward to my daily 50 minutes spent on a train being taken over by Nathan Drake.
    And WipeOut, and Modnation, and surely any racer that doesn’t force you to spend stupid time driving the same track for what feels like years (looking at you, Gran Turismo) is a good example of pick up and play.
    And of course, never underestimate FIFA in this regard.

    • I’m looking forward to cod on the train ;o)

      • I wish. All I could get was a limp egg and cress sandwich for about a fiver and a coffee that melted it’s way through the bottom of the bag before immolating my leg – and I paid 6 quid for that privelige – gah! Nice bit o’ cod would have gone down a treat.

  9. Well argued points. I can appreciate that people prefer the smaller, pick up and play games like Angry Birds, Doodle Jump etc for train/bus journeys. Hopefully Vita will offer these styles alongside Uncharted and the like, as I love the potential of AAA blockbusters in my pocket.

  10. Vita sucks. Come at me.

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