Bad marketing. At&T (they got booed on stage) more expensive than 3DS. Sony lack of support for it. Memory cards too costly. Sony gave up early.
However, I like my Vita games that I own over the 3DS. I will take Vita over 3DS any day of the week. The Vita didn't fail. Sony failed the Vita.
I really think that the bolded is The Answer.
I too thought the hardware was great. And, anyone who's played Killzone Mercenary knows that the Vita was more than capable of creating a 'console experience on the go'. When the Vita followed the successful methods of the PSP*, it often (but not always) excelled. I would argue, it also excelled when it put offered solid experiences that were tailored to the Vita itself. Toukiden: Age of Demons and Kiwami come to mind (I know the latter was on the PS4, but it very much feels like a Vita game still), Freedom Wars, Soul Sacrifice & SS:Delta, Gravity Rush, & Tearaway (again, yes, there's a PS4 version, but I very much prefer it on the Vita).
I would agree with Rolstoppable that the hardware was ill-suited to a lot of multi-platform games, but that is one of my qualms with multi-plats - they generally are not built around a specific platform's abilities and limitations. So, if a piece of hardware has fewer buttons than the others? Yeah, its port is likely going to suffer. E.g. I did not miss the lack of an L2/R2 button on any of the games listed above. But Bloodborne on the Vita via remote play? Yes, I very much miss my 2s & 3s and the touchpad is not a sufficient surrogate for me.
All of that said, there are two additional factors I haven't seen brought up here (one of which I'm curious about and the other I'm fairly confident contributed to the Vita's poor performance).
- I wonder, given how many PSPs were out there (regardless of all of the hackery and pirating), if Sony had implemented an easy/free UMD-digital conversion system (like they did in Japan but without the fee) whether it would have led to a significant increase in PSP owner migrations to the Vita. I know that there would have been a tremendous amount of logistical hurdles, including validation of purchase, memory card space, etc., but, if said kinks could have been resolved, I still wonder if it would have had a worthwhile impact (certainly would have been a point in favor of Sony using micro-SDs...sigh).
- I knew right from its reveal that calling it the PS Vita was a mistake. Sony had established a trend of numbering relatively utilitarian names for their gaming systems. Having worked far too long in video game retail, all customers understood that the PS2 was 'better' (or at least newer, more powerful, etc.) than the PS1 because it was a higher number. They understood that the PS3 was 'better' than the PS1 and PS2. They even understood that the PSP was just a PlayStation that was portable. That didn't mean that there weren't questions about what was different, etc., but, intuitively, people got it. Going from the Xbox to the Xbox 360 wasn't as clean, but we got there. Going from the 360 to the Xbox One was...less so. Still, at least numbers were involved, regardless of how counter-intuitive many found the naming schemes to be. Going from the PSP to PS Vita created a tremendous amount of customer confusion. "Is it an add on?" "Is this like an offshoot until the PSP2?" "Okay, so it's the new one? So it doesn't play PSP games right?" "Why would they pick Vita?" etc. I realize all of this sounds pedantic, and I know that I'm pulling from anecdotal evidence, but, in my experience, the name was a tremendous source of confusion for the first couple of years (you know, right up to the point when Sony, more or less, pulled 1st party support). And I can confirm that, in speaking with others working in video game retail, this confusion was geographically widespread and consistent.
*This was the trend Sony noted during the PSP in which unique, PSP-specific entries into established franchises proved to be highly successful (commercially, if nothing else). Examples would include GoWs: Chains of Olympus & Ghost of Sparta, FF7:CC, Resistance: Retribution, Metal Gear Solids Portable Ops & Peacewalker, GTA: Liberty & Vice City Stories, etc.
TLDR: Sony failed the Vita - Leynos
Last edited by GrahfsLament - on 25 August 2020