PlayStation Vita is nearly a year old in Japan, and has been on sale in western territories since February 2012. Still, for all its technical prowess, intuitive control input, and array of snazzy features, Sony’s high-powered pocket brick just isn’t getting the attention it deserves – at least not at retail. To put it bluntly, PS Vita is performing well below expectations, and in its native Japan is frequently outsold by its predecessor on an almost weekly basis. In fact, it took PS Vita 42 weeks to reach one million sales there, compared to PSP’s effort of 14 weeks. Things in the U.S. and Europe aren’t much better either with sales trailing 3DS.
Chalk it up to the cost of the device, the increasing competition from SmartPhones and Tablets, 3DS or simply because people aren’t away of what PS Vita can do, but Sony’s handheld isn’t in the best position. The question is, what happens now? Ultimately, it all comes down to the games; PS Vita is a games device first and foremost, and software is going to make or break it. 2013 is going to be a crucial year for the handheld, and as such, PSU.com has detailed three titles we think that have the clout to catapult it to success.
Check them out below.
Well, duh, what did you expect? Monster Hunter is a phenomenon in Japan, and is pretty much the reason why the PlayStation Portable continues to run rings around its successor to this day. While not quite the mammoth success in the west as it is in its home territory, the franchise still packs a punch, and the very least would surely send Vita sales skyrocketing in The Land of the Rising Sun. And let’s face it; a twin-stick Monster Hunter sequel is just what fans have been waiting for, and it’s only a matter of time before it arrives. With the right marketing and features – including a fully-stocked online multiplayer component – this could be the definitive Monster Hunter experience and a massive system seller. More crucially however, the game’s success in Japan means PS Vita will receive a massive boost, which in turn will surely mean more top developers will be willing to invest in the system -- and that can only be a good thing.
Gran Turismo has appeared on every Sony platform to date, so a PS Vita release is inevitable. The PSP version of the Polyphony racer actually sold pretty well, and in terms of Sony-exclusive brands GT is definitely up there with the best of the lot. Given the Vita’s technical capabilities, a new GT game is sure to dazzle in the visual department. However, it’s the core features that will sell the game, and this is an area where the PSP game disappointed – there just wasn’t enough content under the hood. GT on Vita is the chance to deliver that quintessential console-quality racer the handheld has been hurting for since launch. We’re talking tons of cars, customization options, full online multiplayer and plenty of game modes to tuck into (an authentic career, driving licence, quick race, challenges, the works). Just don’t take until 2020 to deliver the goods, eh Polyphony? Vita needs this puppy now.
GRAND THEFT AUTO
Next to Call of Duty, nothing says brand clout like Grand Theft Auto. The series is a commercial juggernaut, with its appeal stretching to hardcore gamers across the board to the more casual-oriented punter. And, unlike some major console titles that have received handheld companions, the portable GTA games are actually bloody good – which bodes well for a PS Vita iteration. Imagine a fully-fledged GTA, complete with online multiplayer, sprawling campaign and cross-platform connectivity with GTA V on PS3. The possibilities are endless here, and we’re sure that Rockstar Games could come up with some fascinating concepts for how gamers can interact with both the console and handheld releases. Hell, given how much power PS Vita is packing under the hood, we reckon it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to get our own, albeit slightly condensed, version of GTA V for Vita. As mentioned, the franchise has broad market appeal; this thing will sell like hotcakes on both sides of the Atlantic, and given the past success of GTA IV in Japan, will surely turn heads in the East to boot.
What games do you think can save the PS Vita? Let us know in the comments section below.