Every day it gets increasingly frustrating being a PlayStation Vita owner. I’m sure that we have all given up hope on Sony Interactive Entertainment even showing us a glimmer of hope that they will ever care about the system again or even talk about it as part of their current or future plans, more and more of the larger software publishers have cut back on or stopped development of games for the console and even many of the larger independent studios have cut their support dramatically. Games that we regarded as being a safe bet for the console and were firm favourites are no longer heading our way or development has ceased completely such as the continuing range of pinball titles from our friends at Zen Studios.
It’s not just about games though. If you look on the high street and you’ll find that the console has all but disappeared. Stores that once sold it have dropped the machine completely and are now putting all of their efforts into the PlayStation 4, XBox One and Switch. For the outlets that do cover the Vita, it feels like nothing more than token coverage with rarely more than a handful of games and a couple of accessories on display, usually hidden away in a corner of a store forgotten and overlooked by staff and customers alike. Sony certainly haven’t helped here, “encouraging” stores over the last few years to give over their PS Vita display space to the PS4 and that’s made it hard for potential customers to even know that the Vita (or its products) exist at retail.
That’s lead to a catch-22 situation. Customers haven’t bought Vita products in stores because nothing has been visible. Stores then choose not to gamble on stocking new products because previous stocks don’t sell, diminishing their displays further. As for essential accessories such as memory cards… that’s another matter altogether but these have been nigh on impossible to find at retail brand new for the last couple of years and only Sony Interactive is to blame here.
So what choices do we really have to keep our Vita’s fueled with the latest games and anything else that we need for the console? Sadly not many. For most of us we’re left to searching through the second hand shelves of stores like CEX, the limited offerings of local independent game stores or scouring eBay. Companies like Limited Run Games have done sterling work to bring plenty of new releases to the hardcore fans with their limited physical releases of digital only titles but demand for these outstrip supply so we’re left to the mercy of Sony once more and a digital only market.
Downloading games is all well and good but then we are plagued with problems once more with availability issues of memory cards and the need to continually top up our PlayStation Network accounts. Not everyone trusts using their credit or debit cards with online gaming services and would prefer to buy vouchers from trusted retails so once again there’s a need for somewhere for these to be purchased. With the constant need for memory cards that are in short supply and the necessity of online credit, it’s no wonder why so many Vita owners still want to own physical games rather than digital but finding them is a problem until itself.
Even if you can find somewhere to buy them from, you still want to make sure you can get the most for your money. Prices are fluctuating for Vita games right now because of the varying high street availability of them (made even worse now by the recent collapse of Grainger Games) so I’d advise you to hunt around for any retailers or stores might be running to see if you can save extra cash before you buy from anywhere. Unfortunately, it’s going to take some legwork to find places that are still willing to cater for Vita owners as we’re not fortunate to have the gaming equivalent of Compare The Market, places to help with uk online casinos reviews, or other sites to make our lives easier so we’ve got to put in the hard work ourselves!
It’s going to get very expensive to be a PS Vita collector in the next year or so as releases slow down and demand for all of the previously released physical games start to rise even more so I’d buy what you can now. We’ve already seen prices of memory cards rise by 50% in the last 12 months alone and we can see the same happening to games. Some rarer games have already reached prices in excess of £100, the PlayStation TV is now selling for more on the second hand market than it did when it was discontinued and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
And what of the console itself? Buying a brand new PS Vita is now almost impossible in the UK and for some time gamers have been left with little or no choice but to opt for second hand systems or hope that stores have leftover stocks for sale that have been sitting in storage. With the recent confirmation that the PS Vita has now been officially discontinued for the Spanish territory, the question does have to be asked whether or not this is the beginning of a global rollout which will see the end of production of the console (save for the Japanese market where it is still thriving) and if so, what impact will it have on all of us looking to make any Vita purchases in the future?
Maybe it’s time for all of us to grab those PS Vita bargains while we still can…