I Would Totally Buy A PS Vita 2
I should probably ‘fess up from the get go: I have never owned a PS Vita. Nor have I owned a PSP or any of Sony’s other gaming portables. But I have admired them from both afar and close-up; looking at their sleek, polished designs in display cases like treasured objects that they were and continue to be. Something about them sparked my imagination, but since money was limited when I was younger I only thought of the little Sony consoles as unobtainable luxuries, beyond my reach, and superfluous since I already had a PS3.
But here’s the thing. I love to travel and I like to be on the road whenever I can. But whenever I do, I inevitably start to develop a deep yearning for my console. Right now, this happens to be the PS5. I haven’t ever been able to fully reconcile my twin loves of travel and video games.
You may cite the Nintendo Switch as the perfect solution to my quandary, but I’m afraid it isn’t. I haven’t owned a Nintendo console since the SNES, and there is a reason why I have been invested in PlayStations since the first one. I prefer the more cinematic and mature action and adventure titles that appear on Sony’s consoles. Besides that, have you seen how much Nintendo games cost?
My iPad Mini has been quite the companion on my travels. I play the likes of COD Mobile, Sky: Children of the Light, Alien: Isolation, and Gibbon: Beyond the Trees on it. But I’m sorry, there’s nothing like having a dedicated games machine, devoted to its purpose, and complete with superior ergonomics and controls. The inputs are important. So are the games, and I want the games I play to be triple-A and action orientated.
This was the promise of the PSP and PS Vita. They offered ambitious handheld experiences in titles such as Uncharted Golden Abyss, Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Killzone: Liberation, Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Gravity Rush, Crisis Core, and more. But it wasn’t just the games. There is something more intangible attached to a piece of Sony hardware.
I was a child of the 1990s and early 2000s. I grew up marveling at Sony’s hardware designs. Its TVs and audio equipment were coveted. Its Walkmans, MiniDiscs, and CD players the most desired. Steve Jobs famously admired Sony’s Vaio laptops and was inspired by them to create the MacBook Air. Even today, Sony’s hardware chops are still evident. You can see it in the fantastic DualSense, its earbuds, and its premium MP3 players. To this day I think the PSP Go and PS Vita remain some of the most well designed and sexy console hardware ever created. It seemed like Sony packed so much into so little, in portable consoles that had better-than PS2 graphics. It was a technical marvel.
While I miss playing more triple-A games while I’m traveling, I don’t feel anything for the Steam Deck. It’s too heavy, too fiddly, and too short on battery life. The Nintendo Switch Lite does tempt me, but like I said, the platform’s games are not quite to my taste. I guess what I’d really want is a PS5 Portable. That’s not going to be possible, so failing that a PS Vita 2 would be well up my street.
It’d be an interesting test case, since a Sony handheld could utilise the cloud, which PlayStation is known to be keen on expanding. For me, if I could play Returnal remotely that’d be a dream. Sony has offered classics from its back catalog in its premium subscription service, but there already exist third-party handheld consoles that emulate PS2 games. However, it could make an improved case for its subscription services if it had a handheld, especially when Wi-Fi is more prevalent and reliable and 5G exists in the world now. Meanwhile, PS Plus Extra and Premium would offer a great value to me (especially compared to individually buying Nintendo Switch games) while for Sony it could see an increase in sign-ups if it marketed a handheld as taking advantage of its subscription services.
There are obstacles in place for those of us who dream of a Vita successor. Sony right now is spending quite a bit, with acquisitions of studios or buying up stakes in them, while it pushes further into live-service games, the PC, and mobile games markets. It is expanding and business wise I am unsure how a handheld would fit into its overall strategy. But it could be an opportunity too. While Sony’s mobile phones are no longer a force in the world, it is still churning out smartphones as a way to keep itself in the market. It is still making Walkmans (no, seriously). So why couldn’t it make a dedicated handheld gaming device? Its recent team-up with Backbone for a PlayStation focused version of the mobile gaming controller only teases me to a possibility of a real portable Sony games device.
Perhaps my wish for a Vita successor will remain unfulfilled, but I’m willing to bet there are a significant number of others who harbor the same desire. Personally, I’d love to be able to take Sony’s stable of exclusive games with me out on the road.
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