Will 2014 finally be the year of the Vita?
Saying that the Vita's had a rocky start would be an understatement. Since its release in 2011, the Vita has had staggeringly low sales, and has been ignored by much of the gaming community. Things didn't seem so bad when the 3DS was struggling too, but now that Nintendo's handheld has made a comeback, it's clear that Sony needs to do something about theirs.
While things may seem dire, the Vita is on the verge of success. Yes, things have been rough, but the system is now perfectly poised to attract a new audience. Here are a few of the many reasons 2014 could be the Vita's year.
Great New Games
If you ask a gamer why they don't own a Vita, chances are their answer will involve the lack of games. Thankfully, that won't be the case much longer. In 2013, Vita owners got excellent indie titles like Spelunky, pulse-pounding action games like Soul Sacrifice, and epic RPGs such as Ys: Memories of Celceta. They even received a genuine system seller in Tearaway.
Things will only be better in 2014. In February, Ace Attorney will meet Battle Royale when Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc makes its English language debut. In March, gamers can enjoy the remastered versions of Final Fantasy X and X-2. Titles like Hohokum, Metrico, and CounterSpy will ensure no Vita lies dormant. Best of all, Vita owners will finally have the chance to take Minecraft on the go.
Remote Play Capability
The Vita's Remote Play feature isn't new, but it's never really had the chance to shine. Few PS3 games have Remote Play capability, and the PS4's library is still limited. However, as more and more games are added to the PS4's lineup, the feature gets progressively more exciting. It'll no longer be a novelty. Instead, it'll be something gamers can use on a daily basis.
The first PS4/Vita bundle has already been released in the UK, and we'll undoubtedly be seeing better bundles as the year progresses. The Vita TV - more on that later - could make for some extremely affordable package deals. It'll be exciting to see Remote Play finally live up to its potential.
The Rise of PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus has grown into something truly incredible. Every month, subscribers get spectacular new games added to their Instant Game Collection. What's great about Plus is that you can take advantage of its offerings even if you don't own a particular system. Subscribers can download free Vita games and hold onto them until they have the system inhand.
If a longtime Plus subscriber purchases a Vita, they'll already have many of the system's best games. Titles like Hotline Miami, Gravity Rush, and Rayman Origins have all been a part of the Instant Game Collection. When you have instant access to so many great titles, the Vita looks pretty darn appealing. All it'll take is one nice bundle or one good sale to convert Plus subscribers into Vita owners.
The Vita TV was one of the most surprising announcements of 2013. A box that lets you play Vita games on your TV is pretty cool, but a box that lets you do that at a surprisingly low price is phenomenal. At 100 dollars, it's comparable in price to most media streaming devices, but they don't have Remote Play or an awesome library of games. It's an incredible value.
There's still no Western release date for the Vita TV, but once it's here, it should be a huge success. It's tiny, it's cheap, and it gives you a lot for your money. It'll also get Vitas into more households, which will make it much easier to get third-party developers to create new games for the system. It's a win-win.
Streaming With PlayStation Now
Sony's newly announced streaming service, PlayStation Now, looks like it could become the Netflix of gaming. The service will allow gamers to stream PS1, PS2, or PS3 games on a Vita even if they don't own the original console. Only a few titles have been confirmed so far, but it sounds like there'll be a pretty good selection.
There are so many older titles that would be perfect for a handheld. Imagine being able to enjoy games like Dragon Quest VIII or SSX Tricky during a long commute. If PlayStation Now's library is solid, it could become the reason to own a Vita. A handheld with access to tons of games from systems past is the stuff of dreams.
The Vita may have gotten off to a bumpy start, but it's about to hit its stride. It's a fantastic little system, and I can't wait to see it succeed.