Well, would you look at that? 10 years of PlayStation Vita. While Sony’s support barely lasted as long as the system’s own battery life, there’s still a lot of love for the Vita here at TSA.
Looking back at the Vita, a lot of the things we loved about the console in the early 2010s can almost seamlessly be applied to the Nintendo Switch as well. The Vita may not have ended up with a comparable lineup of stellar first party games, but the simple notion of being able to experience traditional, console-quality games while on the go still appeals to this day. I still have my original OLED PS Vita launch model and it was only the other week that I found myself glued to it once again, hammering away at Final Fantasy X.
We can only praise the handheld so much without talking about how the PlayStation Vita ultimately fizzled out. In short, this came down to a combination of factors:
- The casual mobile market was soaring.
- Sony couldn’t maintain a lineup of must-have games.
- PlayStation didn’t enjoy the rabid fandom it boasts today.
With the dust settled, the Vita has clocked a total of 10-15 million units according to the latest figures, compared to the estimated 80 million PSPs Sony managed to flog. This may seem like a failure, but only if you’re wearing your boring industry analyst cap.
As a gamer, the PlayStation Vita continued to exude life well after Sony called a retreat. For many the console became an indie powerhouse, showcasing gems from OlliOlli, Fez, and Guacamelee! to Hotline Miami and Rogue Legacy. It’s just a shame a lot of these games are now hidden with the Vita’s online store no longer accessible via browser, making bargain hunting during the digital sales a lot trickier.
If not indie games, the Vita became home to various Japanese imports – mainly visual novel games and JRPGs, including the much-praised Persona 4 Golden. One game I have particularly fond memories of playing is Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – a twisted, murderous visual novel I cradled well into the night. If my only option was to play it on PC or console, I would have 100% passed.
To say that Sony didn’t support the PlayStation Vita at all is a lie. While many of the platform’s best games weren’t its own, Sony crafted several new IP, ported big PS3 hits, and Vita-lized existing series such as Uncharted, WipEout, and even Killzone. For me personally, it was the best way to play through the Jak, Ratchet, and Sly remastered trilogies, as well as Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 in HD.
With Sony now confidently leading the current home console war, there’s once again speculation that it may be considering another handheld system. As proven by the popularity of the Nintendo Switch and the fact that punters are lining up to preorder the Steam Deck, there’s still room for portable gaming consoles, even if smartphones are more powerful than ever and cloud gaming becomes an increasingly relevant option.
What are your fondest memories of the PlayStation Vita? Did you pick one up on launch day? Do you still play it now, and which games ranked among your favourites?