The 2013 release list for Vita titles is currently mediocre. It's common for release lists to be bare after the holidays, but the Vita lineup is almost too bare.
I own a Vita, and by all accounts, I'm one of the few. Not only is Sony concerned about the size of the handheld's install base, particularly in Japan when compared to the 3DS, but they are also disappointed by the lack of support by third-parties. While they are "working harder with [their] third-party relations department to secure more content for the PS Vita…", they also admit that "there are so many options for publishers" and thereby many competitors to the Vita.
Particularly from the standpoint of a developer, today's market presents a plethora of more lucrative platforms, than the Vita: the emerging mobile and tablet market, the relatively larger Nintendo 3DS base, the hot new Wii U console, and development on next-generation consoles. Any one of these options can present juicier opportunities, and unless we're talking about one of the giants like Ubisoft, most developers only have so many resources to concentrate their efforts on multiple games on multiple platforms simultaneously. And with Sony concentrating its efforts on the next PlayStation console and its own launch title, the Vita is in danger of neglect.
In effect, the lineup of announced games for the Vita is thin for 2013. It comes to no surprise that only one Vita game, Dragon's Crown (screenshot below), was mentioned in Game Revolution staff's most anticipated lists for 2013, and it's still uncertain when this title will be completed after switching publishers to Atlus and being delayed from Spring 2012 to the vague 2013 release window.
Arguably the most hyped Vita title so far is Soul Sacrifice created by the ex-Capcom developer Keiji Inafune which will be hitting stores in Japan on March 7, with no set release date in the States yet apart from the same "2013." The same wishy-washy release window goes for Phantasy Star Online 2 and first-party Killzone: Mercenary, which hopes to show Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (which Heath gave the fullness of a half-star) how an FPS is supposed to be done on the Vita. I still grumble that there's a Black Ops Declassified bundle out there.
Apart from that, there are a few ports like Dead or Alive 5 Plus on March 19, MLB 13: The Show on March 5, and the scheduled Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus for
Q2 2013 February 26. Within this month and the next, there are only three retail releases according to current lists: Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable, Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. And that's about it—some general "2013" titles, some ports, a few downloadables, and several games that have been nailed down from January to March.
Now, it feels hasty to criticize the upcoming games of a console that's barely a year old in Japan (minus two months in the States), and something as dramatic as a price drop can be as effective for the Vita as it was for the Nintendo 3DS. The chief concern, though, is that the most important way to change the opinion of the consumer is quality products and that means quality games and the number of quality games.
While this isn't a startling revelation, its current release lineup makes it difficult to project the Vita improving much beyond stagnation in 2013. With developer attention diverted—Sony's included—perhaps that's the best we can expect. But is that something we're already willing to accept?