Posted on Monday, August 8 @ 16:13:08 Eastern by Nicholas Tan
Several days ago, Daniel and Anthony battled back and forth on whether delaying the PSVita is a good or bad idea. (They left me out because ninjas assassinate conversations too.) The debate essentially boiled down to holiday sales and striking while the 3DS is down, versus a larger launch line-up and more development time. For me, though, the ramifications on the handheld's release date isn't what matters most: the games do. Delaying the PSVita, just like another Sony handheld that shall go nameless, would still be a bad idea if there are no games to support it.
I have a rule when it comes to purchasing any console: It needs to have about four titles that I want for the system that I can't get elsewhere. Thus, I don't own a 3DS (yet). The price can drop to $100, and I still wouldn't care. The only games on 3DS worth their price are ports—strong ports for sure, but ports nonetheless:
But I would rather play Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition on my stand-up console of choice, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64 because that's classic (old-school?) and the controls only make sense on its (three-handed) controller, and with the 3DS versions of Dead or Alive, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, Ridge Racer, Resident Evil... well, I rest my case. (By the time I get four games that I want for the handheld, they'll probably be a 3DSi Lite XL or something, anyway.)
The same goes for the PSVita. I don't care whether it can play MP3s and movies, has Wi-Fi and 3G, and comes with two analog sticks and two touchscreens. If the only game that Anthony and Daniel are really psyched about is Sound Shapes, there's going to a problem, regardless of the possibility of the PSVita's retail price dropping to match the 3DS's at $169.99.
Too many titles in its launch line-up are vague or undisclosed at the moment, and as much as my eyes are homing on Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Street Fighter X Tekken, Hot Shots Golf Next, and untitled variants for Bioshock and Assassin's Creed, these aren't new IPs for the PSVita. Not like Professor Layton, Elite Beat Agents, Phoenix Wright, Nintendogs, Pokémon, or The World Ends With You for Nintendo DS. Of course, a game doesn't have to be new IP on a console to succeed, but it's these type of titles that define the console and make it special, more than just a way for established franchises to get a quick cash-in by making a watered-down, miniaturized clone of the original source.
I don't look at the PlayStation Vita as a gadget, but as a platform. I hope that whenever the PSVita does arrive in 2012, whether in Q1 or Q4, that Sound Shapes finds safe and equal company with not just multiple ports and handheld variants, but also Vanillaware's Dragon's Crown, SCE Japan's Gravity Daze, SCE San Diego Studio's Ruin, and SCE Studio Liverpool's WipEout 2048. Otherwise, the PSVita will be as lost to me as a PSPGo2.