I’ve talked in the past about some of the Vita’s shortcomings as a console and none are more obvious than when it comes to comparing it to other handheld devices for accessing a wide range of online services. We may have a browser and can access the PlayStation Store to download games, but apart from independently developed apps released through PlayStation Mobile we’ve been relatively ignored.
If you look at the Apple Store or Google Play you’ll find apps for almost everything – shopping, streaming music, catch up television, weather, books and comics, banking, travel tickets… absolutely anything you can imagine but us poor Vita owners get left out. It’s not just Vita owners but seems to be a common issue for any handheld or home console as well.
Regardless of what you’re interested in it can be incredibly frustrating as a gamer looking to do more with your console only to be thwarted by the industry. Handheld gamers are certainly left out in the cold when it comes to media players and those gamers who have more specialised interests and requirements such as casino apps… well, this is an even bigger issue altogether. There is a lot of debate about whether or not using mobile devices is better when it comes to online casino gaming over dedicated gaming systems anyway or whether gaming consoles will win yet again and most people would certainly prefer one or the other… If the choice were there in the first place.
However from the start such a comparison leaves something of an imbalance. The people who enjoy online casino gaming on mobile devices are going to have a lot of options open to them right away. The people who enjoy using gaming consoles, especially the PlayStation Vita are for the most part out of luck before they even start.
People who want to use PC operating systems will often have an easier time when it comes to getting what they need while playing online casino games. People who want to focus on consoles will still have a lot of trouble with finding almost any options. Given the popularity of the PlayStation Vita console, people might think that it will be very different in that case. However, there are gaming consoles that are even more popular than the PlayStation Vita, and people will still run into a lot of issues with them. But why? The reality is simple – economies of scale. There may be 16 million Vita owners out there but we’re still thought of as being small fry to developers on a global scale. Even the DS/3DS is regarded in the same light despite having sold considerably more and out of the current gen consoles even the PlayStation 4’s impressive figure of over 70 million doesn’t guarantee development of anything beyond media players. In fact, the only reason some apps made it to the Vita like the streaming Anime service Crunchyroll was because of the huge following the Vita has in Japan (which can be seen by its catalogue of JRPGs and Visual Novels).
But I digress, eventually people might be able to play UK casino games on gaming consoles. If there is enough demand for this option, the industry might diversify away from being dependent on iOS and Android but unlikely because of the sheer size of the userbase. However, this is the sort of thing that can be difficult to predict and even more difficult to measure. Many individuals are curious about all of the possibilities involved with adding casino content in many different contexts. Creating new chances for people to use the devices that they want in different ways is essential, including expanding into the vast markets of free to play and online casino gaming and both should help to expand their respective markets even further reaching new audiences.
One thing that developers should try to think about if this move does happen note is that console gamers are passionate about the graphics of the games and this is an area that could separate the mobile from the console experience. While mobile graphics performance has improved significantly along with screen displays to match, the screen size simply can’t compete with using a dedicated console (or handheld). While tablets can cope with the screen size issue, they’re still lacking the finesse of dedicated physical controls. While it may be too late for the Vita here at this stage in its lifespan, it could be an ideal time for the Switch to sit alongside the PS4 and Xbox One as a new era is ushered in where the consoles can take on the mobile market at their own game…
Where does this leave the PS Vita? We may be missing out on a wealth of new and diverse content branching out into new areas we haven’t seen before, but we certainly won’t be short of new games to play. With over a hundred games scheduled to hit the West alone in 2018 (with more in Japan), more physical releases from Limited Run Games and even more on the way for next year, we still have a good future ahead…