Is PlayStation Vita Nothing More Than a Fancy Emulator?

Can the handheld become something more?
April 25th, 2013 at 11:53 am

Despite having a robust and varied library of games available for it, the PlayStation Vita risks being nothing more than an expensive emulator for games already available elsewhere.

Every week, following the PlayStation Network update, I scan over the new additions to the Vita’s store – provided there are any – and while some exclusive games may pop up here and there, by and large I often see games that are either new additions to the PSOne roster or cross-buy PlayStation 3 titles.

Okay, so before I go further I’ll come out and say I’m actually a huge supporter of the PlayStation Vita. I like the system and I like the games that are available on it. And I see where Sony’s coming from wanting to present it to gamers as a PlayStation 3/4 on the go.

The only thing is, most of us don’t want that. And the sooner Sony change direction the better off the Vita will be.

Why give us the option of playing a game I can play just as well by booting up my PlayStation 3? Sure, there’s cross-save, and cross-buy and cross-everything else, but where’s the original content?

Admittedly original content does exist, though sadly not at retail where it needs to be. Games like Escape Plan, Mutant Blobs Attack! and several other key digital only titles are fantastic and fun games that should be seeing units fly off the shelves. Escape Plan alone highlights many of the Vita’s unique hardware strengths, though unless you shell out for the high price point no one’s going to know.


The games that are present on retails shelves are Uncharted, Resistance, PlayStation All-Stars and Call of Duty, all games that are available on PlayStation 3. To an average consumer they’re going to compare the two and say “No, I’m not going to pay hundreds of dollars just to play Call of Duty on a handheld,”.

Before anyone points it out, yes I’m aware of the parallels many will draw with the Wii U and its handful of multiplatform ports of Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II and others. However that’s another article for another time.

At the end of the day it all boils down to how Sony approach the Vita, and I have to say I’m not really liking the direction they’re taking. From day one the company have essentially beaten the ‘PlayStation 3 on the go’ drum, and with the PlayStation 4 and the planned streaming connectivity feature this is only going to be ramped up.

And that’s all good and fine, but it doesn’t need to be the selling point of the Vita. After all, gamers are for the most are a fairly switched on bunch. We’re going to be able to conclude ourselves that we can play game X or Y on both our PlayStation 3/4 and Vita. The general consumer though, probably won’t really care.

Digital sales of games are increasing, reflecting our desire to have access to any new entertainment content almost instantly. The PlayStation Vita, for my money, has an incredibly strong line up of exclusive digital only games. If Sony can spend a little more money promoting what’s there, instead of painting the Vita as a type of emulator then we may see it perform a little better in the market.

Or at the very least, people stop dragging the system down for being a portable PlayStation 3.

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