It’s been a tough couple of days for the PS Vita. First we learn that the YouTube app is being discontinued, followed by the revelation that the March update to the Vita’s system software will result in the disappearance of Maps and alteraions to Near. Now it’s the turn of Sony’s audio service, Music Unlimited, which is coming to a close shortly.
In reality, Sony are closing down the service as part of a move that is seeing the introduction of a new service – PlayStation Music – which is being provided in partnership with Spotify bringing full functionality of the music network to the PlayStation family for the first time. Well, almost.
The announcement made yesterday has, understandably angered a lot of Vita owners still reeling from this week’s earlier updates and have left many feeling that Sony have now given up on the handheld completely. Infact, SCEE failed to respond to any of the comments made on the EU blog regarding the lack of a PS Vita app and the only responses were from the developers confirming the 41 territories that were to be supported by the new service.
While not having access to a service is something that isn’t new to PS Vita owners when compared to the PS3 and PS4, having a service taken away and replaced with something that we don’t have access to isn’t acceptable. In the case of PlayStation Music, it is being promoted as being an important service for gamers with the ability to integrate with games as a background music player, linking existing Spotify accounts easily with gamers PSN accounts and offering new exclusive PlayStation features. Sony do seem to be taking the approach that this is intended to be a service for the entire PlayStation family and upon its launch in March is it being made available for the PS4, PS3 and Xperia phones and tablets… so why is the PS Vita being ignored?
It does seem as if Sony is shifting even more of their focus than ever towards the PS4 right now, both as a gaming device and as a media player and the Vita is being regarded as little more than a Remote Play device. Certainly the PlayStation TV is being marketed as such and even though the PS Vita is part of Sony’s current generation of consoles, it is being regarded as part of it’s previous generation of consoles already. The PSN Store, certainly as far as the EU is concerned, has now dropped the PS3 and PS Vita from its Deal Of The Week promotion and is solely focusing on the PS4 in this department so all round it has been a bad week for the Vita from Sony Computer Entertainment.
We’re not asking for Sony to release new games every week or to invest millions into promoting the console, but with over 10 million PS Vita owners worldwide it’s not a lot to ask for at least some respect from the company that we have chosen to support. Third party developers and publishers are choosing to support the console and its owners so why is it so hard for Sony – who are making money on the Vita every time a game is sold – to do the same?
Support for Spotify is a potential 10 million subscribers, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and other services would do the same… it’s common sense but this seems lost on Sony Computer Entertainment right now. At retail, the PlayStation TV is nowhere to be seen, or it’s hidden away alongside DualShock 4 controllers and stores don’t even know that it is a console in its own right. It may not be too late for Sony to do something to improve the situation for the PS Vita, but right now they don’t appear to be listening to what the fan base is telling them.
Back to Spotify though and even though Sony have stated that the service is being launched initially on the PS4, PS3 and Xperia devices, the lack of answers regarding the Vita doesn’t give us any indication as to when or if we will see it made available for the handheld.