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Hey Sony, What Happened to the PS Vita?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 05, 2012   |   Episode 185 (Show Archive)  


Sony liquors journalists up before the disappointing press conference!
I have to assume that Sony originally intended to announce a whole treasure chest of exciting new PS Vita games. I'm talking about a new Jak & Daxter, Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Burnout, Syphon Filter and more original IPs than you know what to do with. These games must have been seconds away from being announced, if only Sony's gimmicky Wonderbook hadn't gone long.

Sure it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but how else can do you explain the complete lack of PS Vita support found at Sony's E3 2012 press conference? Here is a console that is struggling to find its place in the market place and needs that extra boost; it only makes sense for Sony to come out swinging and recapture the hearts

Hopefully this Assassin's Creed is better than Bloodlines!
and minds of consumers the world over. But that's not what they did. Instead they chose to highlight the Sony Move and J.K. Rowling's sleep-inducing Book of Spells book/game/thing.

To Sony's credit, they did announce two PS Vita games during their press conference. The first is Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, which I hope is a lot more interesting than the dreadful Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines for the PSP. The other big announcement was Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, a game that was technically announced a year ago

Hey Ellen, can you give us a sample of your best French accent?
ago under a different title. There was also news of a patch that will allow PS Vita owners to manipulate LittleBigPlanet 2 on the PlayStation 3, perhaps a salvo at Nintendo's Wii U and SmartGlass by Microsoft.

Unfortunately, these three announcements took up no more than five minutes of the hour and a half presser. The rest of the time was spent pretending that FarCry 3's four-player co-op mode was innovative, that the world needed a sixth God of War game in seven years and that The Last of Us is not a retread of I Am Alive. Oh, and let's not forget about the lengthy naval battle in Assassin's Creed III and the lovely Ellen Page in Beyond.

Things went from bad to worse when Andrew House (President and Group CEO at Sony Computer Entertainment) shows up to talk about the Sony Move. Here he introduced the world to Wonderbooks, a product that takes the "oldest interface we know of" (aka books) and mixes it with Wonder

The only reason she's happy is because she got paid!
Bread. The result is an Eye Toy experience where books seemingly come to life on the television screen. It's certainly interesting looking, but a jarring free fall after the highs of David Cage's Beyond reveal and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Before long Dave Ranyard trots on stage to deliver an awkward description of Book of Spells. This overlong experience inexplicably features five people on stage, though it's never clear that they're demoing different functionality. Worse yet, a woman's inability to make fire completely derails the conference for seventy very long seconds. The game's

Sony couldn't even work up the enthusiasm for big games already announced for Vita!
refusal to make fictional fire perfectly demonstrates the problems with motion gaming. In that one minute of silence, Sony could have announced at least three or four PS Vita games.

The real offense here is that the PS Vita actually does have a strong line-up of games on the way. Sega recently announced Jet Set Future, Atlus has Persona 4 Golden, Zen Studios has Kick Beat and Square Enix is hard at work on a Final Fantasy X remake. Hell, even Sony has PS Vita games to show off, including Sly Cooper and LittleBigPlanet. Even if you didn't want to devote five minutes to a floor demo, at least give us a quick montage of what to expect in the next six months.

To the average consumer watching this on Sony's website, it looks like the PS Vita is dead in the water with

Even this obviously fake box art is better than what Activision showed at Sony's presser!
next to no support. Sony didn't even bother announcing their own games for the fledging system; instead opting for fifteen minutes of Wonderbooks. WONDERBOOKS! Giving your newest system the least amount of floor time isn't a great way to show support. Would it have killed them to throw in a screen shot of Call of Duty to balance out the book learning?

In terms of games and announcements, Sony certainly outpaced Microsoft this year. Then again, Sony didn't force us to listen to Usher's least catchy song or care about their giant sports package. Instead we were given a solid look at mostly-known games coming to a wide range of systems

At least Sony didn't announce anything as lame as SmartGlass!
(mostly PS3). It wasn't as safe as Microsoft's conference, but only because they started with David Cage convincing the audience that he's learned his lessons from Heavy Rain.

Of course, Microsoft can sit back and coast this year. The Xbox 360 remains extremely popular and there are enough big third-party games to keep things going until the launch of the next console (if not longer). Microsoft doesn't have the added pressure of launching a new handheld this year, so they can leisurely dabble in things like
SmartGlass and Kinect for people who don't speak English. They are in a different place than Sony, so in essence they can get away with a crummy press conference.

Despite showing so much more, Sony's presser was the very definition of disappointing. While I still have faith that Sony has games to show for PS Vita, my heart sank when Jack Trenton wished us a good night and the lights came back up. Sony needed to come out swinging, showing the world why this $250 handheld is the must-own gadget of the year. This was the time to wow the audience with one big name after another. Make us want to believe. That's all Sony had to do, make us believe in the PS Vita. Instead they opted to spend fifteen minutes with Wonderbooks. I will never understand Sony's priorities.


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