PlayStation Vita: The Right Flop for Me
I expect that the Playstation Vita will continue to flop. I anticipate that history will see it as a failure of not-quite Gizmondo proportions, but also not far off. So why, with that forecast, did I get one? That’s the question I was forced to ask myself recently, and I think I finally have an answer I accept.
Time to have an argument with myself.
“The Vita was obviously always going to flop. It completely misconstrued the mobile games market, it’s overpriced while at the same time being a relic of a bygone era.”
It’s true, a price drop is sadly overdue, despite Sony continuing to insist that it’s not the time. And it came at a time where demand for the sort of experience it offers is low. I can’t really argue with any of those points.
But lately I realised that maybe I don’t want Sony to ‘get’ mobile gaming. Maybe I’m not in the market for a device that ‘gets’ mobile gaming. That sort of device isn’t worth a lot to me. I’m not saying mobile games are rubbish, but I can probably count the hours I’ve personally spent using my phone as a gaming device on two hands.
Perhaps some of that is owing to the fact I have an Android phone, not an iPhone, due to preferring the user experience, at odds with popular opinion. But I’m not currently willing to spend the money on a iDevice on the off-chance that I become a convert to the glorious Apple-led mobile gaming future.
On the other hand, I’m already sold on handheld gaming, on dedicated devices. It might not be fashionable, it might not be the way the wind is blowing, but the Vita is a bit of hardware made for me. I have already spent enough hours with mine to count on well over a dozen hands, have another dozen hands worth of gameplay on pre-order and am specifically looking forward to at least four handsworth of hours more in games being released in the next six months, just off the top of my head.
Or, to put it another way: if the Vita was a device that understood mobile gaming as like the iPhone does, it probably wouldn’t be a device for me.
“Well that’s lovely for you, Peter, but guess what? You’re one guy. You, alone, cannot save the Vita!”
And this is where I think the argument gets confused. I hear people tell me this suprisingly often but I’m not sure why. I mean, I stated right there at the top that I think the Vita will flop and flop again until it flops its last flop and gets flopped into a grave with only me and a couple of others flopped in the pews at the back of its funeral.
But that doesn’t mean that the device is useless for everyone. Sure, if it’s miraculously a success that’ll greatly extend the life of the device through attracting developers, but when I bought it it was because I already thought it was worth it, for me. If (When? We may yet be premature…) it dies, I’ll be sad that more people didn’t see what I see, but I didn’t have any grand delusions that they would. None of this will be any comfort to the people whose careers are riding on the success of the device, but so what?
“Well, I still think buying one is a dum–”
Buy a Vita or don’t. But don’t imagine that the people that did are all cursing their rotten luck for buying into an ailing system. Save your misguided schadenfreude and gleeful anticipation for a more deserving target. Understand that maybe - just maybe – there’s more to a purchase than the small-minded idea that it’s only worth pursuing winners.
Somewhere – I don’t know where – there are Gizmondo owners who, to this day, are perfectly at peace with their purchase decision. And that’s great.