Attack of the Fanboy

How Sony plans to save the Vita

by William Schwartz


Sony’s handheld PlayStation Vita has been off to a relatively slow start, suffering both from a lack of a killer app and the relatively expensive price of their memory cards. While Sony has since lowered the cost of the memory cards, the system still suffers from no system-defining game. It has no Pokemon, no Animal Crossing right now. While indie games such as Spelunky and Guacamelee have been pleasant surprises, that hasn’t moved Vitas into people’s hands. Speaking to Adam Boyles, the VP of Publisher & Developer Relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America, Kotaku asked for Sony’s next move in regards to the Vita. According to Boyles, Sony has a “3 category” solution to the Vita problem.

1. PS4 Remote Play

According to Boyles, “Category one [of the three] is Remote Play experience—how does it extend the PS4 experience? So you have this amazing sort of triple-A experience when you’re in bed knocking out a couple scavenger missions in Assassin’s Creed IV right before you go to bed. I think with Remote Play that I’m gonna be playing very little mobile games at home now within the house.”

2. AAA exclusives

As has been noted, publishers are hesitant to provide a AAA exclusive to a new or slow-starting platform. This unfortunately creates a vicious cycle where a system has no killer app, thus the system doesn’t sell, and because the system doesn’t sell, publishers won’t pour resources into developing a possible killer app to push system sales. Sony hopes to amend that. “I do think that the Remote Play aspect of PS4 is gonna help the amount of Vitas that are out in the wild,” Boyes said. “And then that will start informing more publishers to build that bigger, meatier content.”

3. Indies

“When I play Spelunky or when I play Hotline Miami on my Vita, I play differently than when I play on my PS3,” Boyes said. “It feels like it’s at home. And that’s why I think you see a lot of focus on getting great content for the Vita. And we had a ton of announcements at Gamescom for great content like that on the Vita. So the reality is, we’re trying to create a bunch of different content for a variety of gamers so they get satiated with a device on the go or within their house.”

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