Do you remember when Sony announced the Vita? Sure you do: it was console gaming on the go. That didn’t live up to expectations, but that’s a conversation for another day. In this article, I want to talk about features that are not directly related to gaming. Once upon a time, we were promised (and even had) so much. Now, though… it’s another story.
This one we didn’t have from the get-go, and it’s a bit easy to see why: Flash was a bit of an outdated technology, even earlier in this decade. Superseded by increased HTML5/Js functionality, it seemed like Flash was about to die. No need for Playstation tu support Flash on their browser, then, right? Well, actually, there’s plenty of reasons why we might have liked to have Flash on the Vita (and still do). First and foremost, a lot of online games are programmed in Flash, including casino games, adventure games and arcade games. My personal favorite was “Naturalchemy”, which has sadly since been removed from existence. A lot of these were either free or provided a lot of free-to-try functionality, and we simply were never able to even load a single one. I believe this might have been a tactic from Sony to prevent people from playing online games for free, making them purchase PSM and Mini titles instead (more on that in a bit).
Once upon a time, we had apps for YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Skype and more. You didn’t need to check your phone in order to be connected to social media. You could use the Vita as a social hub, and not only for gaming. Couple this to the fact that the Vita had extremely good battery life in comparison to a phone, and you could even argue that the 3G version of the Vita could have been used as a backup emergency device. Sadly, most apps were removed by Sony in 2015. Mind you, this is 4 years ago now. Why? The Vita was still doing well-ish (though mostly in Japan already) and I’m sure the resources overhead was mostly put on the service providers’ side, and not on Playstation servers. As of right now, you only get limited functionality through the browser. Boohoo.
Another huge chunk of Vita functionality that has since been removed, was the Playstation Mobile initiative. This provided games that were cross-compatible with tons of devices (including mobile phones) and were very affordable, too. We’re huge fans of PSM titles here at Vita Player, and you can check our list of favorites right here on the site. It even spawned many developers we know and love, such as Four Square Interactive, Super Icon Ltd and Tikipod. Sadly, the platform is no more: not only can you not purchase new PSM games, you can’t even download those you’ve purchased before. This is a huge shame, because it would have cost Playstation very little to keep these games on their servers, and allow people access to them. As it stands right now, if you don’t have your PSM titles downloaded… they’re gone forever.
These are just three of the things that I miss having on the Vita. Some of which, like Flash, we never even got, and some were removed after the fact. The truth is, the Vita has been getting shafted time and time again by Playstation. It has been kept alive by a passionate fanbase and fantastic developers and publishers. At E3 2019, over a dozen physical releases were announced by Limited Run Games alone. Eastasiasoft has expressed their continued commitment to releasing on the Vita, just like Ratalaika. So yes, the Vita as a gaming machine is alive and well, but Sony’s arbitrary crippling of the device’s extra functionalities have never sat right with me, and never will.