Sony: PS Vita appeals to people with an "eclectic taste in games"

PlayStation UK boss says portable offers a "more thorough, more complete" experience compared to smartphones and tablets.

The PlayStation Vita appeals to people with an "eclectic taste in games," Sony UK managing director Fergal Gara has said in a new interview with MCV. Speaking about the market overall for the device, Gara said smartphones and tablets have diminished the reach of the PS Vita, but he contends that Sony's portable offers a richer experience compared to those platforms.

"Vita is proving to be a big niche device. Using the term 'niche' makes it sound tiny, but it's not," Gara said. "The console is occupying an interesting space for interesting games built for more committed gamers. Yes the market place for it isn't as big as it might have been had smartphones not arrived, but it is still a more thorough, more complete experience."

"And it is therefore appealing to people with a more eclectic taste in games. And many of these indie developers are proud to be on the platform," he added. "All of this is before we even talk about its role alongside PS4, which is clearly exciting and we seeing some good results from that."

Of course, a major selling point for the PS Vita is its Remote Play functionality, which allows you to stream PS4 games to the PS Vita provided you own both devices. Despite the strong interplay between the two systems, Sony has no plans to offer a PS4/PS Vita bundle, at least not right now.

Also in the interview, Gara admitted that though the PS Vita might be "lacking" in upcoming AAA games made specifically for the system, this doesn't tell the whole story because of Remote Play.

"Well, there are a lack of those titles announced. Is it a problem? It would be fair to pick up that there wasn't a second Call of Duty made specifically for Vita," he said. "But what's changed is that Call of Duty: Ghosts was available on Vita via Remote Play on PS4. And Vita is sort of evolving as a platform."

Activision launched Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified for the PS Vita in November 2012, but it was blasted by critics.

The new PlayStation Vita Slim model launches this spring in North America through a special $200 Borderlands 2 bundle.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
205 comments
VegasAceVII
VegasAceVII

I....actually agree with this statement.

CorndogBilly
CorndogBilly

It seems like the majority of vita games are jrpgs and random indies. the console needs more AAA titles that push the limits of the hardware (but not just ps3 classic ports). Killzone Mercenaries was a good start, but like Miyamoto said, the vita needs games!

markranger
markranger

Vita will not surpass 20 million sold. It faces several problems at this point. Two years ago, it had impressive specs. Two years from now, its specs will not impress. Specs are all it really had going for it. Also, Nintendo will likely release a new handheld in 2016 that will destroy Vita specs. If Vita is going to make an impression in the gaming world, it needs to do it now. 200 bucks for a marginal redesign will not impress anyone. The PSP was unique because it got it all right. Nintendo has always struck the right balance between form factor, battery life, price, and features.  These factors lead too purchases, which leads to great 3rd party support. The balance has to be perfect to succeed. Nintendo found that 199 is the max price that the market will support. Sony got it right with the PSP. It got outsold 2-1 but did well. Vita has beautiful graphics, not PS3 quality though in reality, but gets everything else wrong. Graphics don't matter as much as form factor--that is where Vita failed. The high price of the system and storage only made matters worse. It has kept buyers and 3rd parties away. Some 3rd parties have made inferior/cheap-cash-ins on Vita. Why should EA make a good Call of Duty or Fifa for Vita when they know that effort will not pay off in the end? These cash-ins damage the brand even more. Nintendo has dominated the handheld market for 35 years. If cell phones were going to kill it off, it would have done it by now. The next gen. Nintendo handheld will far surpass the power of a PS3 and it will include the features and form factor that people want. It will be well supported and retail at no more than 199. The mobile game industry is far larger than it was 20-25 years ago. The original Gameboy sold over 100 million units. Today, nearly 1 billion people participate in mobile gaming. If Nintendo can even control 10% of the market, it will excel. In a sense, the fact that more people game today, helps Nintendo's chances. The market has expanded by a factor of 10--that is good for a company that knows how to strike the right cords.

jlenoconel
jlenoconel

I hope the VITA does well.  I got the original for 200 bucks, which is pretty good for such a powerful handheld.  Great graphics and great games so far from what I've played.

budd89
budd89

I think I can safely say that my taste in games is definitely not eclectic.. I still think the Vita is rad though, as far as hardware is concerned I prefer the design of the Vita to the 3DS.

jordanlund
jordanlund

The problem is... eclectic games are the only ones left. I didn't buy my Vita for a collection of indie games or digital games I can play on my PC, PS3 or PS4. I bought it for exclusive games that can't be had anywhere else. Now the "must have" titles are ports of years old games from other systems like FFX, X-2 and Borderlands 2.


That's not why I spent $250 on a new platform. The last game worth buying was Tearaway and that was months ago. 


The reason that people say there are no games and why hardware sales are so low is because the moronic press for digital games has left shelves of stale games on retail shelves. 

People, you see, still go to stores to buy the hardware and when they see the same selection of games month in, month out, it looks like nothing new is coming and people don't buy the hardware.


There are some ways Sony could fix this, change the dialog. Put out digital code cards for certain specific games so that people go from saying "Where are the games?" to "Look at all these games!"


They also need to announce major, major, titles from 1st party studios. No, indie games that look like Gameboy games, don't count.

MaLazer
MaLazer

One problem I've noticed with people and Vita is that they only ever notice games they've heard of before. The "Vita has no games." argument is only ever "I only see about 3 games I've heard of and those are Uncharted, Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty.". Nobody ever says "Woah! A weird ass game where you roll shit up!" or "Woah! A rhythm game that ISN'T guitar hero!". It's always "WHERE'S MY (AAA game that has MANY games in the franchise) EXCLUSIVE. THIS THING HAS NO GAMES."


This is (probably) what Fergal Gara is trying to say. Most Vita owners actually try new games, rather then complain about their favorite AAA games not being there.


That's what I like about Vita. When I look at my friends list on PS3, I see Call of Duty and Assassins Creed (or many other extremely popular AAAs), whereas on Vita, people are playing games like Soul Sacrifice and TxK. And that's cool, it's something different for once. I think that what Sony should be doing is bringing games (ports or not) that would be interesting to play on a handheld to Vita. Not this strict "ONLY AAA EXCLUSIVE GAMES OR VITA WILL DIE". 

Dimebag_Darrell
Dimebag_Darrell

The ONLY reason this is true is because Sony has given up on bringing home-console level gaming experiences to the Vita. I bought my Vita in the Assassin's Creed Liberation bundle, and I have been regretting it for a while. After I finished the four games I cared about, all I could find to play on it was PSP downloads and PSN indie games. 

I didn't spend over $200 for a high end handheld game console so I could play Bit.trip, Surge Deluxe or OlliOlli on it. I could do that on any smartphone and get WAY more out of the device. I bought a Vita so I could enjoy experiences like AC: Liberation, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Injustice in a way mobile phones simply cannot replicate well.


And this is painfully obvious in the retail marketplace where  the PS Vita display takes up a total wall space of about 24-30 sq. ft. while almost every other console needs several wall sections to show what it has. the Vita looks small and impotent on sales floor, so why would people buy it? 


You want the Vita to stop appealing to the "eclectic" consumer? Then stop ****ing pretending that indie games and PSP emulations are reasons to buy a Vita and get back to convincing developers to build games for the damn thing! Having games that fully utilize the thing to create great experiences will increase sales greatly.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Got to admit that I'm not entirely sure what else people are meant to be buying the VITA for. Any of the games that would've been touted as 'home-console experiences on a handheld' have fallen short, especially since they all have equivalent games on the larger machines.

Poncho_Hachacha
Poncho_Hachacha

Just because your offerings have been eclectic doesn't make that the draw of the system. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone other than Sony fanboys who would claim the games offered on the system are exactly what they expected or wanted when they bought the system.


Don't get me wrong, Sony's done a good job of getting indy developers to support the system and there are some gems on the system, but it's fallen well short of the big console experiences that were touted when it was announced.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

The 3DS already dominates that market sony. Youre not going anywhere with the vita.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

I'd love to see more games like Tearaway that take full advantage of the Vita's capabilities.  Having the ability to stream games is nice, but we still need those Vita-centric games that can offer new experiences.

deadpen
deadpen

Sony: PS Vita appeals to people with a "Gaming addiction"




It doesn't hurt to NOT play a game every waking moment of your life.

bj91x
bj91x

Yes, we know. Now can you focus on getting publishers to release more great games for the system instead of just talking big? For majority of players, the list of PSV games they want is just pathetic compared to the 3DS. You know... The system that you should actually be making comparisons to?

javalino
javalino

@bj91x  Indeed. A true gamer dont play on mobile. !!!!!! excluding some good ports from consoles/PC/portables

AK_the_Twilight
AK_the_Twilight

Hey, Sony: how about you quit neglecting this extremely well-designed system? It's a damn good piece of hardware that you keep depriving of original content with lackluster ports of PS3 leftovers. Make more games like Tearaway. HD collections aren't gonna get you anywhere.


Make games for this thing. Also, quit using remote play to sell this thing. That's a terrible marketing strategy. That's not treating the Vita like an independent system that can hold its own. Quit treating this system like the incompetent little brother of the PS3/PS4; it deserves much better than that.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@AK_the_Twilight Hell, I wouldn't mind if they gave us *good* ports of PS3 leftovers.

Why they allowed the port of the Ratchet game and the Jak trilogy to be handled by such amatures baffles me. I mean Jak isn't unplayable or anything...but it coulda been a lot better.

Riverwolf007
Riverwolf007

in other words if you have masturbated to a cartoon you are their audience.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

Been using my PS Vita more when it comes to PS1 games, but still play Persona 4 Golden a lot on my Vita

RicanV
RicanV moderator moderator

@benleslie5  Can't wait to pick up my slim. I have a ton of Vita games just waiting and remote play is going to be awesome.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

@RicanV it's pretty decent but I wish they would've picked a better plastic (back circle plate + the 2 rests), and my X button was squeaking on the first week :\

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I'm happy with the PSvita. I have 33 retail games and the free throw in games that have been offered thus far. The PSvita is a great handheld gaming system. If sony and the third party developers made the PSvita the home of RPG gaming. This system would do better. 


The PSvita slim if it is able to reach the $169.99 retail mark in north America. That would increase the PSvita sales somewhat as that seemed to be the best price point for the PSP. So the chance of a PSvita comeback may happen. 


New games would always help. 

dominoodle
dominoodle

I do tend to play more indie games on my Vita. Olliolli, Hotline Miami, Spelunky etc.

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

I would get one if there was more RPG and AAA titles on the Vita. There's a Ys on the vita but its not enough to buy one

DarthMallrat
DarthMallrat

I've owned pretty much every handheld there's been and I never thought I'd spend as much time with one as I do with my Vita. I take it almost everywhere and do all kinds of awesome crap on it. People say there's no games for it but there really are.. and there are some very exceptional ones at that. Vita is the most underrated gaming device ever, save for maybe the Dreamcast. Anyone who enjoys mobile gaming and doesn't own a Vita is seriously missing out.

tjkraz
tjkraz

@DarthMallrat  I wanted to feel that way....but never have.  It showed so much promise at launch but little has come to pass.  Big studios have all but abandoned the system, especially now that Sony is no longer subsidizing games.  Instead of getting games on-par with console counterparts, we're getting DS ports like Arkham Blackgate and the LEGO titles.  


And now that PS4 owners can Remote Play their $60 console titles, there's even less reason for devs to put any work into their Vita releases.  


I've built up a decent game library--mostly due to PS+ freebies or heavy discounts (Killzone for $11, Need for Speed for $5.)  But I don't hold out much hope for a Vita renaissance.  


As soon as someone makes a decent physical controller for iOS devices, the Vita's fate will be sealed in my household.  Call of Duty, LEGO Star Wars, NBA 2K, GTA, Sonic, Metal Slug, Final Fantasy...all available on iPhone / iPod with controller support.  And all a fraction of the cost of Vita counterparts.  

Leejjon
Leejjon

@DarthMallrat Do you really think people will buy controllers for their tablets/phones? Especially when different 3rd parties make different controllers it isn't gonna get big. It will be a pain for games to support different controllers. Unless Apple makes their own controller and forbids other companies to make those for iDevices, and throws a lot of money to it until it works (like Microsoft did with the xbox). Even then Apple will probably ask $100 for a controller alone.

tjkraz
tjkraz

@Leejjon @DarthMallrat  People aren't exactly flocking to buy a Vita, either.  


I can't speak for Android but Apple created specific controller guidelines.  There are two permitted designs--which admittedly is confusing.  One follows the Xbox / PS layout with the thumb sticks, d-pad, 4 face buttons, triggers, etc.  The other eliminates the thumb sticks.  There aren't many third-party Apple controllers out now but most are following the enhanced design with the sticks.  


$80 for a controller add-on sounds expensive but, considering the fact I already own the phone (for more than just gaming), it's much cheaper than a Vita.  And the games themselves are cheaper on iOS.  The latest Call of Duty app is $5-7 vs. $50 on the Vita.  And most other major franchises (LEGO, GTA, NBA 2K, etc.) have iOS games for 50-90% less than Sony handheld versions.  

Leejjon
Leejjon

@tjkraz Alright that's better than I expected. Still if I compare NFS Most Wanted on the Vita (full open world, online multiplayer, trophies and comparing times with your friends) against the iPad version with limited tracks and lots of micro transactions to upgrade cars etc I'd rather still buy the full version. But yeah some gamers will consider buying $80 controllers and if the prices are really going to be cheap for good experiences it will be competing with the Vita.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Now I've looked up what eclectic means I can definitely say I agree.

VincentVendetta
VincentVendetta

Hey kids, do you like roguelikes, skateboarding runners, psychedelic arcade shooters, fast-paced psychopaths, survival horrors, japanese music games, fighting games you can play on the same controller, shooting giant extraterrestrial bugs, user-generated content, jrpgs about high-schoolers on television, british WarioWare, hungarian shoot-'em-ups, escape-room visual novels, luchadores metroidvanias, Minecraft in 2D, typography-based platformers, papercrafts, wandering on an island wondering about life and death, stories about blocks, and other really weird stuff?


Then boy, do I have a console for you!

Hurvl
Hurvl

@VincentVendetta I sure would like to see someone say all of that without stopping to take a breath.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

Nintendo 3ds love it. no need for another portable console. tried a vita and i was impressed with graphics tho tbh, but i would never trade the 3ds for another, not yet anyway

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

Vita is my favorite gaming device of all time.

Sam_021
Sam_021

PS Vita is amazing <3

runstalker
runstalker

I can offer: It's an amazing portable for high quality indies, and they're often arriving here first. It can still punch out some impressive visuals in larger, more demanding games. Importantly, it also feels good to hold, to grip and manipulate (the d-pad is especially competent as portables go), it also has a good weight and solid build, and the killer screen never fails to impress me.

But I'm not one of these people hating on the Slim's display. From what I've read, it's still a very nice modern LCD that has better overall brightness than the "Fat" Vita. I'm jealous of the slight improvements to some face button shapes, the arguably superior front and rear ergonomics/styling, and - obviously - the increase to battery life for the Slim.


Having said that, who am I kidding? The OLED is such a fine-ass screen, it tips the scales back to the Fat.

marcheegsr
marcheegsr

Just got my vita last month and Person 4 golden has me glued to my oled screen at the moment.

PSYCHOV3N0M
PSYCHOV3N0M

@marcheegsr  Smart idea for you to buy an original Vita with the sexy OLED screen. To hell with the Vita Slim...

lokar82
lokar82

I have been very happy with my Vita but I could see being disappointed if you don't like Japanese games.  I loved Gravity Rush, Disgaea 3 and Virtue's Last Reward and with PS+, I didn't even pay for them.  Persona 4 was good too but a bit long, same with Uncharted. I'm glad it can do PSP games too since I am finally playing Valkyria Chronicles 2. 

the_craig
the_craig

I was really surprised to see just how much use I'm getting out of my Vita. It has some great exclusives, it's the best way to play psone and psp classics, and yesterday i discovered that the internet connection at work is good enough that i can remote play Outlast during my lunch breaks.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I am going to buy a Vita for certain, being a fanboy, but I still haven't found a suitable time and place to use my PSP. So I am going to wait for the price to drop more. Now, if the Vita played movies and had a non-bulky VR headset or some other nifty functionality, I'd definitely buy it sooner.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@Unfallen_Satan  Me either. Mine sits on the shelf about 99.9 percent of the time unless I go on a long trip or to someone's house.

grenadehh
grenadehh

Because 18 games is such a diverse array. Such comedy. The only way eclectic comes in to play is by including PS1, PS2, PSP, NES, SNES, N64, Sega, MAME, and Vita games if you hack your Vita.

normanislost
normanislost

@grenadehh  thing is my galaxy S4 can play most of those except PS2 games (i think never checked that out) but it also plays DS games very well pokemon on my phone FTW!!!