Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gamescom Was a Nice Little Vita Show After All

A common worry going into Sony's Gamescome Event was that it was going to be an all-PS4 show.  That's not a far-fetched idea, given that the PS4 is the new hotness riding a wave of positive PR thanks to E3 and such, but everyone was hoping that the Vita would see some sort of acknowledgement, and we got that and then some.  We didn't get a sequel to Uncharted:  Golden Abyss announcement (unfortunately, this would've been the perfect time to announce it) or a Gravity Rush 2 announcement (which was always going to be TGS), but we got some good news nonetheless.  News that some people are prodding endlessly with a stick instead of just saying "Yeah, it's good" because we can't all agree on anything ever because why would we, but that's just the way of things.

Between the straight-up price-cut of the Vita itself and the lowered memory card prices, Sony managed to shave a very nice bit of the price off the lovely little portable.  A nice bit more than people actually realize, it seems, because they're not looking at the big picture.  The $50 price-cut of the Vita itself is steep and much nicer to think about, and each tier of the memory cards took a drop.  4 Gig dropped $5, 8 Gig dropped $10 and the 16 and 32 Gigs each dropped $20, meaning you're spending a right comparable amount of money picking up a Vita and a 16 Gig card versus a 3DSXL bundle.  My 3DS XL Bundle, the Animal Crossing one was ~$220 for the system, Animal Crossing (pre-loaded) and a 4 Gig stick (which was less than 4 gigs because Animal Crossing).  If you buy the shiny Walking Dead Vita Bundle for $200 (which comes with a 4 gig stick) and throw down $40 for a 16 gig stick, you have $240 invested in it, 4 times the storage for $20 extra.  Essentially, price parity is pretty nice and if when you throw in Playstation Plus for $50, you get a ridiculous amount of games for a year which makes the value shoot right up.  So yes, you spend a little more, but you get miles more than the money you spend unless you jump in the Wal-Mart deal, spend less and get a shitload of content.

People rail on and on that there's no reason for the proprietary cards and insane prices and, sorry, there is.  It's called the PSP.  Piracy was absolute bananas on the PSP and, unlike the DS, it actively squeezed out and over-shadowed actual purchases for the device, which is not something that Sony wanted a repeat of.  Games just didn't sell, but whenever they released, they were among the most pirated things on all the popular sites out there, so the age-old excuse of "if there were good games I -would- buy them" went right out the damn window.  Hell, Metal Gear Solid:  Peace Walker only sold 52,000 physical copies in America at launch which is ridiculous for a Metal Gear Solid game and especially as good of one as Peace Walker was.  Yet, there were far, far more people that played it than that - it's not like the DS was where a game got 23.34 Million sales (like Mario Kart DS, jesus) and got heavily pirated as well.  That's what I mean when I say that the actual buyers got squeezed out of the equation - the buyers just didn't compare at all to the people just straight-up downloading the games.  So that's why they went a more controlled route this go around.  Because you can't tell me that people would've bought games for a $250 Sony handheld if it was as easy to pirate as the PSP.

There was also the matter of games being announced for it, which is, you know, kind of importantBorderlands 2 came out of nowhere to see a release on the Vita sometime in 2014, brought to us by Iron Galaxy Studios, the team who developed DiveKick which just released this week. certainly a get for Sony, and it was alongside several other announcements for the Vita that I will defer to Chance for because I don't want to mine in Joystiq posts and cobble together a bunch of links.  Let's take a look at the list, shall we?
  • Age of Zombies (BlitWorks/Halfbrick)
  • A-Men 2 (Bloober Team)
  • Assault Android Cactus (Witch Beam)
  • Avoid Droid (Infinite State Games)
  • Broken Sword: the Serpent’s Curse (Revolution Software)
  • Eufloria HD (Omni Systems)
  • Fez (Polytron Corporation)
  • Final Horizon (Eiconic Games)
  • Flame Over (Laughing Jackal)
  • Gravity Crash Ultra (Just Add Water)
  • Gunslugs (Abstraction Games)
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital)
  • Joe Danger 1 (Hello Games)
  • Joe Danger 2 (Hello Games)
  • Kick & Fennick (Green Hill Studios)
  • Minecraft (4J Studios)
  • Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door Games)
  • Samurai Gunn (Teknopants)
  • Starbound (Chucklefish)
  • Supermagical (Tama Games)
  • Switch Galaxy Ultra (Atomicom)
  • Table Top Racing (Ripstone)
  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Nicalis)
  • Volume (Mike Bithell)
  • Wasteland Kings (Vlambeer)
I had to add Minecraft and Starbound, the last of which is almost more impressive than Minecraft, because it's essentially Terraria ins Spaaaaaaaaace (one-half of the original two Terraria developers is making it), it has a ton of content, and there's absolutely no Vita Terraria sales data just yet, meaning it's a blind leap of faith and that's so appreciated.  Granted, all of those are games that are classified as "Indie", but as we've come to learn, that doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot in the grand scheme of things.  The prime gradient here is content and Minecraft, Terraria and Starbound at the very least are going to have those in spades, not to mention Rogue Legacy and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.  Those are just the games that I know a little about.  As you can see, there are a hell of a lot of other games on that list, and that's probably not even a complete list.  And this is all before TGS.  And before the PS4 launches and does Remote Play like a champ.

Yeah.  The Vita's gonna be just fine.

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