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Forget the Shipjumpers: Here’s Why the PS Vita Deserves a Chance To Succeed

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Posted by: Robert Workman

I’ve only had my PlayStation Vita for about a week now, and I’ve logged a great deal of hours messing around with it, downloading music and games, tweaking options and registering trophies like a bandit.  I’ve also been working my way through a number of the system’s technical features, including its twin analog sticks (perfect for Super Stardust Delta I'm telling you), its rear touch screen (finicky) and its front touch-sensitive OLED screen, which isn’t half bad.  And to be honest, despite too many gimmicks going into it (gyroscope, twin cameras, etc.), it’s growing on me.  It’s like what Sony was really trying to do with its PlayStation Portable in the first place – and a hell of a lot better than whatever the PSPGo was.

That said, not everyone shares the same kind of optimism that I do.  Lagging sales in Japan have some people wondering if the Sony handheld has staying power, and there are rumors that a few developers have already abandoned hope for the PS Vita without giving it a chance, putting some people in cautious mode when it comes to its longevity on shelves.

But let’s be honest.  As heavy as it is on gimmicks and the fact it uses GB style cartridges for play – a definite improvement from UMD discs, in my eyes – the PS Vita still deserves a chance at success.  And here are some reasons why.

Sony’s getting it right this time around on handheld gaming

The PlayStation Portable did pretty good on the market, I admit.  But there were mistakes as well, like all the incessant UMD movies (they’re STILL on shelves)< some lackluster games, and an analog nub in place of a reasonable controller – a cardinal sin for heavy action games.  However, with the Vita, it’s removed the UMD situation entirely (even though it’s also cancelled the Passport program it talked about earlier – kind of sad), it’s working a little better on games (only Little Deviants and Dungeon Hunter Alliance feel like they’re completely lacking), and the analog sticks – well, as wobbly as they are, they’re still a step ahead of a nub.  Sony’s fixed its mistakes, and until it runs into game development that’s going the wrong way (which I doubt will happen), it’s on the up-and-up from here.  And the next level of games, like Mortal Kombat, Unit 13 and Resistance: Burning Skies, aren’t looking bad at all.

The thing’s a powerhouse

Again, I know it’s heavy on the tech specs, but let’s talk about the raw processing power of the PS Vita.  It is right up there with the PlayStation 3, and without the need to pack in a huge, lumbering operating system that could possibly overheat.  It’s a suave little handheld, yet it’s beastly enough to handle the likes of Rayman Origins and Uncharted: Golden Abyss without breaking a sweat.  Considering that the 3DS is looking like an also-ran with some of its dated software (Frogger?  Really?), this is a welcome change of pace – and something that could push Sony into the next generation, provided they put their proper franchises, and new games, in the spotlight.  A new Ratchet and Clank would hit the spot, thanks.

Actual online gaming that matters

Say what you will about the 3DS and the Mario Kart community, but Nintendo’s handheld doesn’t really have a truly dedicated game network – not yet – to uphold the demand.  And by the time it gets there, the PlayStation Network (or SEN, whatever) will be fully integrated into the PS Vita and its games, and it’ll start building mad popularity.  And considering its only serious competition right now is Microsoft’s Zune…which doesn’t even come close…they’ve got a good chance to take the lead.  Let’s see if they do.

So as you can see, despite some developer worries and some retailers being irked at the cheaper digital versions of games being offered on PlayStation Network, there’s still plenty of reason for PS Vita to flourish.  All we need to do now is see how this week’s full launch goes, and take it from there…

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