From day one, the PS Vita was hailed as being the portable equivalent of the PlayStation 3. Incredibly powerful gaming hardware with the capability of delivering console quality gaming, with online features to match. With integrated wi-fi and a 3G model available as well to enable players to get online with the console no matter where they were in the world, the potential was limitless. The inclusion of a web browser and downloadable social media apps like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube added to this functionality and it seemed like the Vita really could do it all…
A few years down the line and it’s a total contrast. Few few big budget games are released in the West, with an increasing dependence on localised Japanese games (although we are getting a massive range of superb indie titles to ensure that the console is still a great gaming machine), we’ve lost Youtube, Facebook has proven to be limited in use, Netflix isn’t available outside of the US territories and even Music Unlimited has disappeared and the Vita hasn’t been given the replacement service, Spotify.
Online gaming doesn’t seem to fare much better. We lost Destiny Of Spirits and even many highly regarded web-based online games such as RuneScape from Jagex or the Canadian casino site Spin Palace are inaccessible through the Vita’s browser thanks to the lack of support for Adobe Flash Player or the need to download and install launcher programs. Vita owners are being left out of some great content.
People talk about the power of smartphones and tablets and their strengths over the PS Vita as a portable gaming device and it’s easy to see why comparisions are being made. With the ever growing range of software available at much cheaper prices, the increasing power available to these devices and obvious diverse functionality it’s no wonder that mobile gaming is a growing market. There is still no denying that there is no comparison to playing arcade and action games with physical controls and this is something that no touch device will ever be able to replicate, but there are games and services that the PS Vita simply isn’t able to offer right now.
If you want a socially connected device on the move, you need a smartphone or tablet. Want to access websites quickly and easily? Again, Android and iOS devices clearly have the edge. It’s clear that for those of you who want to look beyond the Vita’s existing (albeit extensive) catalogue and do anything more online on the move, then sadly you’re going to need to supplement your gaming arsenal with something a little more versatile.