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PlayStation Vita: Future Promise or Last of its Kind?

On February 15, 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment of America released the PlayStation Vita to the North American market. This powerhouse console packs a PlayStation 3 sized punch in the palm of your hands. However, is this system the future of handheld entertainment or are we looking at the last of its kind?

Originally released in December of 2011 in Sony’s home country of Japan, the PlayStation Vita sold nearly 400,000 units of hardware in its first two days of availability. But in the weeks that followed, and to the writing of this article, sales of plummeted to laughable levels. Even Sony’s last handheld, the PSP, is outselling the Vita in almost every week. True, the original PSP still has a ton of new software support, a much lower price point, and higher battery life. But why would Sony’s new console fail to sell well?

Sony seemed to make a mistake by targeting the Japanese market with the debut of the platform. The software lineup for the PlayStation Vita is quite amazing but definitely geared towards the Western markets. In addition, Capcom and Nintendo released the new Monster Hunter title during the Vita launch. Monster Hunter, you ask?  Monster Hunter is the equivalent of a Harry Potter book release or launch of a new Call of Duty game in Japan. It is such a successful series that almost everyone in Japan plays it. In fact, the PSP version of Monster Hunter is still very popular and Sony hasn’t yet updated the software on the PlayStation Vita to run the old Monster Hunter games yet.

So should the low sales of the Vita frighten Western gamers? By all means no! This system is priced reasonably, has the power of a PlayStation 3 in the palm of your hand, sports one of the most beautiful displays ever seen on a handheld device, and has a library of awesome games. These include:

Army Corps of Hell

Asphalt Injection

Ben 10: Galactic Racing

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance

Dynasty Warriors Next

Escape Plan

Everybody's Golf 6

F1 2011

FIFA Football

Hustle Kings

Little Deviants

Lumines Electronic Symphony

Michael Jackson: The Experience

ModNation Racers: Road Trip

Ninja Gaiden Sigma PLUS

Plants vs. Zombies

Rayman Origins

Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja

Super Stardust Delta

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

Touch My Katamari

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition

Wipeout 2048

This impressive lineup of titles is only the beginning as every developer in the industry has expressed interest in making original and remakes of past titles on the PlayStation Vita.

Also, unlike the 3DS, Sony doesn’t need to redesign the system to include a second thumbstick or worry about a lack of power. Sony’s Vita has the edge on screen, power, battery life, and technology. So what are they missing? A game like Monster Hunter to excite the Japanese gamer. Their games will come soon enough and on February 22, 2012, all North American and European gamers will finally get their hands on the future of handheld gaming. I am predicting this is not the end but the beginning of dedicated gaming handhelds.

 

By Kaleb Rutherford - 02/17/12

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