PS Vita: It will definitely succeed. Although it might completely fail. Here's why...

Sony's spanking new handheld and PSP successor the PlayStation Vita is a bit sexy. No. Scrub that. It's a LOT sexy. Just look at it:

Above: Straight to the sexy

The vast majority of my gaming time in 2012 has been spent with this magnificent techno slab of black power cradled in my hands like a delicate electronic baby. This is handheld gaming at its most powerful and most impressive. A portable portal to playing very nearly console quality games on the toilet, in bed, aboard a train, down a mine etc. Our dreams. They have come true.

So I should be ready to shout from the highest mountaintop that VITA IS GOING TO BE A SUCCESS AND WILL CRUSH ITS OPPONENTS INTO DUST. A bit like this:

Above: Like this

But I'm not. Because even though I'm blown away by Sony's freshest gaming invention I still have my doubts about how well it's actually going to sell. Why the dithering indecisiveness? We'll get on to that later. First, let me tell you exactly why I love the Vita in five easy-to-digest points...

1. It's mega-comfortable to hold

I've had some pretty lengthy sessions on Vita and at no point have I experienced any hand discomfort. This is important because hands are precious. Vita's edges are lovely and curvy and perfectly fit the shape of my fleshy paws, with my middle fingers resting nicely in the dedicated recesses on the machine's underside. My kids - with their small children hands - do struggle to hold the machine and use the touch-screen at the same time, but for my superior adult man hands the Vita is effortlessly ergonomic.

2. The screen is mmmmmmmmmmm sexy

We live in an age when sexy screens are the norm. Just a regular everyday thing. But the Vita screen is noticeably sexy. Anyone casting their eyes over it for the first time will say "Nice screen" or "Ooh, the screen looks nice".  I know this because I've heard them say it. The picture looks crisp and sharp and crystal clear and the colours are vivid and beautiful. I don't need to say that Vita's screen makes the games look amazing. That should be pretty obvious. But I'm going to say it anyway. Vita's screen makes the games look amazing.

Above: What a screen

3. Two sticks. It's got two sticks

At last. Two sticks. And not just any sticks. I suffer with sweaty thumbs and prolonged play often results in moist, slippy sticks. But not these sticks. They are convex with a rubberised dome for minimum sweatage and maximum grippage. The Vita's analog sticks feel wonderful under the thumb and an absolute pleasure to manipulate. The sensation is not entirely unlike manipulating a pair of generously proportioned nipples. Sexy. But they're not nipples. They're TWO STICKS. On a handheld.

4. The interface is super slick and easy to use

Touch-screen finger swooshing is no new thing and it instantly feels perfectly at home on Vita. All the front-end screens of icons (which look like lovely, wobbly, shiny buttons) are simple to understand, clearly laid out and an absolute doddle to navigate with flicks and swipes and presses from your digits on the mmmmmmm sexy screen. Compared to the XMB, it's a far superior interface experience. The PS Vita is as easy to use as it is comfortable to hold.

5. Playing sexy games in exciting places

This is what really matters. The games. Not quite PS3 quality, but undoubtedly stunning on the ocular inputs all the same. On our first night together, I had a very special moment with Vita. I was in bed playing Uncharted and I thought to myself "I'm in bed playing Uncharted and it's brilliant". Because it was. And with that simply observed mental affirmation, it hit me that life as a gamer with a love for handheld gaming was going to be much more lovely than it had previously been. Then I had a rush of endorphins and had to have a lie-down. Which was not a problem because I was already in bed.

Above: A reconstruction of my special moment in bed with Vita

So after such an utterly shameless display of gratuitous Vita ball-licking, surely I'd be willing to wager a fairly considerable bet that Sony has got a handheld winner on its hands and is going to be laughing all the way to the piggy-bank to slip some considerable coinage inside its porcelain porky. You'd think that. But in actual reality there's no way I'm going to make that call because I don't want to look like a stupid idiot that knows nothing when Vita dies on its ass. Because that outcome too is a very real possibility for Sony's brave little next-gen console.

Check the following page to see why Vita could completely fail...


PS Vita

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  • RonnyLive19881 - February 2, 2012 8:07 p.m.

    On the second page I don't see the point saying *3DS is better and has Nintendo exclusives.
  • laserwulf - February 2, 2012 7:43 p.m.

    I'd be a lot more inclined to buy a Vita if Sony addressed backwards compatibility & the lack of a UMD drive. If there was a program where I could mail in my UMD-based games and receive codes for their PSN equivalent, I'd be happy to pay the postage for that. Sony would win by minimizing the second-hand market for PSP games, and we'd win by having more than a handful of games to play on our Vitas until the AAA native games are released.
  • super0sonic - February 2, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    All i know is i am getting a new Katamari game by buying it.
  • jmcgrotty - February 2, 2012 1:15 a.m.

    I have no faith in it being a success at all (then again, I've been vocally against it). Give it 1 month and it's going to start getting outsold by PSP Gos bought on eBay.
  • Y2Ken - February 1, 2012 11:54 p.m.

    Great article Cundy. I am really looking forward to one, but my excitement has dropped a little to the "might wait a while" stage, partly as I'm planning to build a PC soon and the cost of that is so high that I can't really justify buying a full console that close to it.
  • oz103 - February 1, 2012 4:01 p.m.

    After purchasing the psp1000 right at launch in singapore months before the uk release date. It is still working and was well worth the money, ive had it for years. Sure ive had to buy a new battery, and I also bought another one as the x button is a bit wonky. But the fact that it is still working after years. Anyway im not gonna be buying a 300$ portable machine, with no real decent games on it yet. As i dont want to spend that sort of money on it.
  • TheFabricOfTime - February 1, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    I loved my PSP. I used to play LittleBigPlanet PSP for many hours and hours, trying to ace all the levels, almost got them all... then, when I got down my last, the save got corrupted, levels wouldn't load, and I accidentally misplaced my memory card. Now it's collecting dust because stores don't sell the memory cards like they used to.
  • CharlieFockstrot - February 1, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    I still have and use my launch PSP 1000, It still feels, looks and plays like a great piece of tech with a nice big screen, How many mobile phones have I had in that time? dunno 5 maybe 6. I will buy a PS Vita at launch (for the price of a third rate phone) And hopefully I'll still be using it in 6 years time. oh, and PSP sold 71 million! it's not a massive failure is it?
  • Travia220 - February 1, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    If the Japan is any indication, the Vita will bomb. They are asking to high of a price for it. In the end Sony needs to learn the lesson that Nintendo did. People are not going to pay 299$ for the Vita. At that price the Vita is competing with other mobile devices like Smartphones and Tablets.. who wants to buy a dedicated gaming machine over a device that can do everything gaming related and so much more?
  • MidianGTX - February 1, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    You'd have to be freakin' stupid not to choose dedicated gaming machines over the rest of that stuff. This is coming from someone with over 1000 iPhone games and previous employment in reviewing mobile games. I enjoy the stuff tablets and phones are coming out with, but absolutely none of it even comes close to the deep, AAA quality possible with a dedicated console. They're definitely fun and useful, but it's a whole different ball game.
  • Y2Ken - February 1, 2012 11:57 p.m.

    Gotta agree, I think smartphones are great but I'll pay around half the price of an iPhone to get a machine that is actually dedicated to games and just stick with a regular-ass phone. And the only reason I'd really considered getting an iPhone was for the games, in fact I was swaying more towards an iPod touch (even though I have a regular iPod) but that pretty much won't be necessary now.
  • Ravenbom - February 1, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    I'm totally getting that N-Gage on launch day!
  • WTeen8 - February 1, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    I could make a taco-joke about now but....
  • comaqi - February 1, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    I want one bad! But there's no way I can afford it right now. Maybe Gamesradar will give one away!
  • An_Awesome_Guy - February 1, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    I am interested with your points about how many people do not want a Vita because of past experience with the PSP, as I am one of those people. Although I've never actually owned a PSP, which means I cannot honestly say whether it's bad or good, I have heard so many bad things about over the years through the press, friends and the gaming community, that it has probably altered my opinion considerably. For some reason, I cannot mentally separate the failings of the last device with the fate of this one, so I always assume that there will be a lack of content for the platform and so forth. As much as I would like to buy one, to experience more games on more platforms, it is a large financial investment into something which I cannot seem to support due to the failings of it's predecessor.
  • ultimatepunchrod - February 1, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    Fantastic article. You were dead on about the perceived fate of the PSP. People seem to forget that it was the FIRST handheld gaming platform Sony ever released and that it stood its ground for a long time against Nintendo. Also, the system's support wouldn't have dried up so hard if the system hadn't been so easy to hack and pirate games for and the game format sucked. Hopefully, they will have learned from those mistakes. I'm getting a Vita as soon as it launches, and I cannot wait.
  • Dadyo238 - February 1, 2012 8:13 a.m.

    I want one but I can only get so much with my 13-year old allowance.
  • ObliqueZombie - February 1, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    Good show, Matt. Fantastically written article. And I agree with you: it's mere cynicism that deters people from buying this quite amazing piece of portable gaming. However, I most certainly will NOT get it, and here are my legitimate reason: 1) I'm playing SWTOR, as well as Soulcalibur V, The Darkness II, Mass Effect 3, and a whole other plethora of games I plan on/want to get. 2) I'm a poor and relatively jobless college student who needs to learn to save money for said games and other gaming accessories. 3) I plan to buy a gaming Laptop/Desktop at least by summer, so I can relish in some good PC-exclusive games I've been missing out on, as well as see SWTOR on high-setting with no framerate drops. 4) I'm already planning on spending more money than I should for Razer's SWTOR Mouse. And I already have the Razer Naga. 5) I need to read more. I got the Barnes & Nobles Nook for Christmas, and I already bought 13 books. And so far I've read one. Reading is good for the brain. Rest assured, though, that I'm impressed by the Vita, and if the price drops into somewhere within my accessible range, I'll be picking it up.
  • Moondoggie1157 - February 1, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    I'm all over this baby, although I doubt I'll be there on launch day. I can't wait to touch it... I just want to touch it, just once... to see how it feels. Wipeout and Katamari in my hands? Yes please. I can only look forward to the great games in the future (I'd personally love a Mirrors Edge for Vita)
  • SomeOddGuy - February 1, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    I had my hands on one over at a GameStop just yesterday. Your dream just might be coming true sooner than you thought seeing as how Sony is rolling out plenty of demo units for people to test out the machine. I am in agreement with Justin on how sleek the system handles since it actually feels lighter than the 3DS. Can't agree with him on the dual sticks though since they personally felt quite tiny at first and still felt a little weird to handle after like a half an hour.