Listen: we are obviously PS Vita fans here, so don’t take this the wrong way. But the Switch benefits from having seen what the Vita did wrong, or what could be improved. It’s just the inherent benefit of hindsight. So, today we’ll talk about 3 things that the Switch does and the Vita doesn’t, and see if they really matter. Keep it civil, people!
SOLID FIRST-PARTY SUPPORT
This is a pretty big one, so let’s talk about it. The Switch, while still a portable/home console hybrid, is Nintendo’s flagship device. Therefore, it receives all of the considerable and mighty support emanating from Nintendo’s HQ. Sure, if you have a Vita, you have things the Switch doesn’t, like a built-in web browser (you can even play free slots online here), and you used to have even more stuff, like the Netflix and Skype apps (both of which I used tons). But after some big name titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush, first-party support from Sony for the Playstation Vita dried right up. For the last few years, the Vita has refused to die thanks to the mighty efforts by its passionate community and incredible indie developers. But you can’t compete, at least in terms of sales, with titles like Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart, Super Mario Odyssey, etc. You need system-selling games, and lack of proper first-party support for the Vita means that it will never go from its current cult status back into the mainstream.
I’ve written extensively on here about how the price of Vita memory cards helped kill the Vita, and I stand by that. For the price of a 64GB Vita card, I can buy a 1TB brand-name MicroSD card for the Switch. That is almost 16 times the storage for the same price. That is just ridiculous, particularly as the industry moves more and more away from physical media and into digital delivery. Sony claimed it was to make the Vita more secure, and sure, it worked for a bit, but exploits for the Vita have been readily available for years, and we never saw true third-party storage solutions for the Vita. Sure, I could use some money to play free slots online here and there to see if I can’t make some money, but the truth is, Vita memory cards are over-priced. No wonder people are hacking their Vita systems, if only to be able to use cheaper storage! But the same company that doesn’t support its system with games, continues to release patches to prevent homebrew software running on it. Typical case of wrong priorities, if you ask me.
HOME CONSOLE AND HANDHELD HYBRID
The Switch has a party piece that a lot of other systems only dream of: it can be used both as a home console and as a handheld. Sure, it’s a bit large for a handheld, even with the relatively new Lite model. However, it is definitely a major selling point. Heck, even Sony realized the potential of this double-whammy when they released the PSTV. Sadly, Sony dropped the ball: instead of doing a hybrid like the Switch, they sold separate hardware. This meant that users had to shell out to be able to play their Vita games on their TVs. Adding insult to injury was the fact that a lot of games that could have been supported hardware-wise on the PSTV for some reason didn’t feature PSTV support, so the already crippled games library on the Vita ecosystem got further reduced. The Switch, on the other hand, doesn’t require any extra hardware. In fact, the joy-cons, despite their crappy drifting issues, allow you to play couch multiplayer games without the need for spending extra on controllers for your buddies. And 99.99% of Switch titles are compatible with both handheld and docked modes.
DO THESE DIFFERENCES MATTER?
Yes, and no. Here’s the thing: it really depends on the type of gamer that you are. I know for a fact our Editor-in-chief Simon doesn’t even own a Switch, because he doesn’t like first-party Nintendo titles, and the Switch is far too big for him to work as a handheld on trips. The Vita, on the other hand, is still small enough to be carried in a pocket. So, for Simon, most of the biggest selling points why one would choose a Switch over a Vita don’t even apply. For me, on the other hand, they matter a lot. I don’t travel much but I don’t want to be glued to the TV for gaming. I love Nintendo’s own IPs. And I live in Paraguay, which means (and I’m not exaggerating here), I can pay for a whole month’s worth of food for me and my wife, for the same amount of money that it would cost to buy a 64GB Vita Memory card. So, the Switch is a very enticing proposition, indeed. Which is why I own one.
So, what do you think: are these differences enough of a pull to make you jump ship? Or do you resist the switch to Nintendo’s hybrid, sticking to your Vita? Or are you like me: happy to allow them to co-exist in your collection, harmoniously?
Let us know in the comments below!