The State of the PlayStation Vita is Strong

At this time, I would like to address Andrew House, Shuhei Yoshida, Gio Corsi, and the rest of my fellow PlayStation Vita owners. This is the fourth year of the PlayStation Vita’s lifespan: some would maybe lead you to believe it is also the final year of the PlayStation Vita. Some have said this in 2012, 2013, 2014, and even 2015. Todd and Aaron (of Mega64) in their annual Game Awards show would give out the Best Vita game to empty space.

And yet, here we are. In 2016 (so far), we have had forty six games released on the PlayStation Vita, and despite what some may say, it’s still going strong. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you each of those games was a masterpiece: not every game can be a perfect “10.”

This does not detract from the great games we have received from dedicated publishers and hard-working developers bringing their life’s work to the handheld. Games such as Volume from Mike Bithell, and Axiom Verge from Thomas Happ, finally made their way to the platform after months of waiting. Anxious Vita owners were rewarded for their patience with versions that, some may say, are even better than the console iteration.

Many titles have been made free with the Cross-Buy feature on PlayStation consoles, meaning those who already owned the PlayStation 4 version, just received even more Vita games in their library.

I also want to call attention to a little game released this summer for the PlayStation Vita, a game from Chime and Spike Chunsoft that has a very dedicated fanbase: Zero Time Dilemma. It took quite some time for us to receive this in-between tale, as Virtue’s Last Reward came in 2012 as the Vita was in its infancy. Now, we have the conclusion to Kotao Uchikoshi’s Zero Escape series, a game we called “amazing” in our review by Allisa James.

I know better than anyone the trials and tribulations of being a Vita owner. With only seven Vita demo units at Sony’s own PlayStation Experience event in 2015, three of which were at indie developers’  booths (and the lack of any Vitas on Sony’s floor space at E3), there is little first-party support for the platform in terms of new, exclusive games from Sony.

This has been the case for some now, and prospects for the PlayStation Vita’s situation to change haven’t improved. Memory cards remain at high prices. Developers and publishers back down support for the platform. Even Sony has stopped shipping the PlayStation Vita TV device in its home market of Japan.

Despite all of this, we have perservered and continue to support the device, whether it’s importing different colored Vitas from Japan, purchasing its newest games, or continuing to use the LiveTweet app, despite owning smartphones.

Now I know a complaint often thrown at the PlayStation Vita is, “it has no exclusives.” I’ll have you know the PlayStation Vita will be receiving nine exclusive games by the year’s end. These include: Atelier Escha and Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk SkyTrillion: God of DestructionRay GigantMegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS ZombiesMobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-ForceA.W.: Phoenix FestaCriminal Girls 2: Party FavorsMeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, and Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls.

Despite the lack of compelling first-party games from Sony’s studios specifically for the PlayStation Vita, we still have Bandai Namco, Drinkbox Studios, Idea Factory, NIS, and Out of Bounds continuing to bring games exclusively to the PlayStation Vita. And while yes, Severed will be making its way to the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, it launched first on the Vita because Drinkbox knows where their loyal fans are, from their previous games that were a hit there like Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack and Guacamelee!.

On top of the forty six games already released for the system this year, we have forty two still to come, including 2064: Read Only Memories on August 16. Not only is this a port of the point and click cyberpunk adventure, but THE definitive version of the game, with voice acting from talented actors/internet celebrities and a rewritten dialogue script for the new edition. It will, of course, be Cross-Buy and Cross-Save with its big brother  on the PlayStation 4.

Not only does the PlayStation Vita have a strong lineup of games coming soon, but it includes video-streaming apps such as Crunchyroll and Netflix. Another website has recently turned its eye to the PlayStation Vita, the leading video platform for livestreams: Twitch. While YouTube, Facebook, and Skype may have ended their support for this platform, Twitch has come rushing in, and just in time for events such as Summer Games Done Quick, EVO 2016, and many other huge gaming events.

We’ve also had some surprises this year, with games we weren’t quite sure that existed or suddenly appearing on the storefront on Tuesday afternoons with the latest PlayStation Store update. XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus was never officially announced, and not even acknowledged by 2K Games or Firaxis on their Twitter feeds, but was nonetheless released on PlayStation Vita. From Square Enix, we also received a surprise in the form of Adventures of Mana, which showed up in the European PlayStation Store before getting its own PlayStation Blog post and release on the North American PlayStation Store for Vita.

As we look ahead to what is yet to come for the PlayStation Vita, I see a compelling handful of games. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, World of Final Fantasy, Shantae: Half-Genie HeroThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, Darkest Dungeon, Shiren the Wanderer, and Hyper Light Drifter. Numerous sales for hit Vita games like Persona 4 Golden, Hotline Miami, Sound Shapes, Tearaway, and Spelunky also give new Vita owners many opportunities to try out some of the best games the console’s extensive library has to offer.

Yes, there will be missteps, games will be delayed; some may even be cancelled. But we will persevere. We will continue to sync Trophies, we will continue to wipe our fingerprint-smudged screens with our cotton shirts, and we will continue to pester each PlayStation Blog announcement with the question, “Where is the Vita version?”

We do this because we love the Vita. We do this because we love games. We do this because the state of the Vita is strong.

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Steven Santana

Born in Queens, raised in Vegas, living in Vancouver. 25, loves dogs, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and long form video critiques.

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