Sony made mistakes every step of the way with the PSP. The lack of a second analog stick, the messed up Remote Play, the PSPgo... It was still a solid system, don’t get us wrong, it was just constantly hindered by missteps. While we can’t say for sure that the Vita is going to avoid every single folly and screw-up (like with system updates, which we're hoping are less painful with the Vita), we’re already noticing a big change in Sony’s attitude towards its handheld, proving that it’s committed to not making the same mistakes twice.
Man, Sony sure dropped the ball on the PSP’s digital side. It eventually found said ball, and pretended it had never been dropped, but the ball had already rolled into some mud and was a little deflated, so we sort of knew they were lying about it. Sony dragged its feet with the digital space until the PSPgo came out, at which point it suddenly acted like it knew what it was doing... but it didn't. Many games weren’t available for download at all, and some publishers just didn’t make digital versions of their games available. Apparently they were worried about piracy, or… maybe actual pirates, with eye patches and stuff. We don’t know why they wouldn't do it. We were just sad that we couldn’t download Lumines on our PSPgo. Like, seriously, what's the point, then?
Oh, what a difference a few years can make. Now, Sony is forcing every developer (we assume at gunpoint) to make digital versions of its games available on the day of launch for the Vita. This is huge news, not just for Sony and Vita owners, but for gamers in general. The move to digital has finally taken a leap forward, and Sony is the one making the jump. Not only that, but some games are even cheaper in digital form! Right? We've noticed that most games are about 10 percent off, meaning you can pick games up for less money without leaving the house.
This means that downloading all of your games to your Vita memory cards legally will actually be a much convenient experience. That, mixed in with the potential for PlayStation Plus discounts on new games, shows a Sony that's actually paving the way for digital distribution in a way that would make Microsoft executives weak in the knees.
Wait, stop – settle the hell down. Don’t scroll to the bottom and freak out in the comments just yet. "YOU GUYS SAID THAT THE PRICE ISN'T BAD BUT THE PSP HAD THE SAME PRICE!" Yes, we know! The PSP and the Vita both launched at $250. But $250 in 2012 is a lot lower than $250 in 2005. In fact, with inflation over the past few years, launching at the same price point is tantamount to launching for about $40 less.
Sure, that’s sort of overridden, in a way, by the pricey memory cards, but there are several bundles available that help alleviate that cost (as well as a price cut on the cards before launch). The point remains: a $250 price point in 2012 isn't as painful as a $250 price point in 2005.
You’re also getting a lot more for your money, in the long term. The PSP was essentially a PS2 shoved into a handheld. That was nice back then, but by the time it launched, the PS2 was all but dead, with the PS3 coming out just over a year later. The PS Vita is more akin to a PlayStation 3 in a handheld, and Sony is still championing the PS3 as a system with several more years of life. There's also the cheaper downloadable games, like we mentioned earlier – that's sort of important.