Wow. What a great fucking year for gaming! Starting this decade on the right foot, 2011 brought some incredible video games to the table that will surely join in the category of gaming legends. Instead of speaking about the past year, however, I’m more interested in looking ahead to 2012, and what classics it may bring.
The biggest release at the start of the new year, however, will not be a game. But a new console: the PSVita. Serving as the successor to the debatably popular PSP system, the Vita will be sporting some staples of modern day handheld gaming systems, such as touch based controls and motion support. However, what makes the Vita different is the power. The handheld contains a quad core processor, which means that it can almost compete graphically with the likes of the PS3 and Xbox 360.
After already being released in Japan, the Vita reviews have been extremely positive. With a great line up of games such as an original Uncharted and a ported Marvel vs. Capcom, it seems like the Nintendo 3DS will have some competition. However, the PSVita may stumble out of the starting block. Very much like Nintendo, Sony decided to price their Vita system at 250 USD (WiFi only). This pricing has already affected the Vita in its homeland of Japan, after sales fell off dramatically during its second week of being on the market. And one needs to only look at the 3DS’s lackluster launch in the US to know that such a high price point can be crippling to a system’s popularity.
In addition, the prices of the PSVita’s memory cards have been criticized as being too expensive, with the 32GB model being priced at 130 USD. Sony has since then reduced the prices of the cards across the board (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB), but it has done little to subdue the criticism from gamers. Sony seems to be betting on the strong line up of launch titles to make the PSVita release a success, but will it be enough? Or will the company have to mimic Nintendo, and instigate a drop in price only months after the February 22nd launch date?
Believe me. As an early adopter of the Nintendo 3DS, I can only begin to describe the sting I felt after watching the price drop by 80 dollars after only 6 months. Nintendo intended to rectify the situation by offering free downloads for classic games. Whilst this was welcome, the whole reason I bought the system was for the 3D effect (Ocarina of Time also). And all the games I would want to download, I had already played. It was a messy situation for Nintendo. And it could prove to be for Sony.
So I may avoid the Vita for a while. See how it does commercially, and then make a decision. If it reduces in price, however, it may already be too late. Rumors are on the horizon that the tech juggernaut Apple Inc may be releasing their 3rd iteration of the overwhelmingly successful iPad sometime early in the new year. Rumored to itself be containing a more powerful A6 processor and a hi-resolution retina display, the iPad could become the definitive way to play games on the go. After owning an iPad 2 since launch day, I can tell you that Apple has sneakily created a great ecosystem for games, one that I am sure they will be pushing forward with in the new year. Needless to say, Sony is going to have to do some extraordinary marketing here in the US to make the Vita a success, no matter how fantastic of a device it is.
Check back soon for part 2, in which I discuss some of the scheduled games slated from release next year!