I’ll bet you’re all feeling pretty damned silly right now.
Yes, you – the naysayers, the doom mongers, the doubters. Everyone that pored over Japanese sales figures desperately watching the download slope and rubbing their hands with some kind of twisted, discordant glee. Everyone that decided Uncharted: Golden Abyss was utter shit because it didn’t kick out the appropriate number of pixels.
Everyone that wanted PS Vita to fall on its arse before giving it any kind of chance.[drop]Guess what? From where I’m sitting it’s doing all kinds of goodness in every circle of friends I can witness. Yes, the UI needs a bit of tweaking, and yes some of the games are somewhat overpriced. But you know what, as a console launch I can’t think of one that’s created as much buzz and excitement and had such a comprehensively strong line-up of top tier games.
Uncharted’s bloody brilliant, WipEout’s magical, Everybody’s Golf’s super addictive, FIFA looks and plays like FIFA and MotorStorm came from absolutely nowhere and is being rightly critically acclaimed for its impressive price and some genre-leading asynchronous gameplay – Sony have courted the right developers, enticed the right publishers and, just when it really mattered, on launch week, got their marketing in gear.
And there’s every possibility that it’s all paid off.
We’ll know for sure once those all important figures come out (and the cheap headlines fall over themselves to be the most sensationalist and embarrassingly dramatic) but around me, on Twitter and across the big forums the Vita is alive with the sound of ringing cash tills and that hugely important first week of frantic chatter, tales of midnight queues and hundreds of pounds worth of haul photos.
You know what? Sony might just have done it. In a market that has gradually gone the way of games that cost eighty pennies and last less than that in minutes, Vita’s come along and said – hey, listen – delivering on the promise of console-quality gaming on the go. And arguably for the first time, too – the Vita’s games look almost as good and play almost exactly like they do on PS3, and that’s some achievement.[drop2]At the last minute, then, everything came together. Distributors got the games out to the stores (well, those with money), Sony’s team of online managers got the PSN Store stacked with everything available and there’s a range of price points and demos to ensure that everyone gets their chance to just play some games. I can’t see how all this can be anything more than a success from here.
So, yes, over the next months we’ll probably see the figures slope downward, that’s inevitable after a launch, but they won’t be because of the Vita itself or the efforts of Sony. The mobile market’s a notoriously different prospect now, one with a landscape and user base that has changed massively since the PSP came along, but it doesn’t react now to Sony’s new machine then it never will do. Vita, then, is the shot in the arm that it needed.
I really, really want the Vita to do well. I want it to show that people are prepared to pay for games that offer intrinsically good long term value, to show developers and publishers that it’s worth investing in, and to show everyone that decided this thing was going to be a failure from day one that – well – they were wrong.
Next Generation Portable? I’d say so.