The Top 7… Signs that the Vita isn’t repeating the PSP’s dumb mistakes

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.

7. Digital is being done right

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.

6. The price isn't actually all that bad

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.

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  • spikeyxx - May 13, 2012 6:12 p.m.

    I believe Sony is repeating their mistakes with the PS Vita. It's too expensive compared to the 3DS, and for all you're getting better hardware, Sony aren't getting better market share. This results in disinterest from developers further fuelling the problem. Right now the 3DS is selling better than everything else in Japan. This mirrors the trend when the PSP and DS went toe to toe. I think it's safe to say the DS won that one. The PSP may have had better looking games, but it was expensive to develop for (as much as current gen console) and many software house's had to resort to selling home console ports to make bolster their earnings, i.e. rockstar. If Sony doesn't get the price on the unit down NOW, they aren't going to get the traction they need. New software will not move the system. If they cut it to £175 and bundle a 16gig memory card the unit has a chance against the 3DS, and whilst they'll loose more money now, they might come out on top later on. I would love to see that happen. Right now I can buy DS games in Asda. I can't even remember when they stopped carrying PSP titles. This will happen with the Vita if Sony doesn't get it right.
  • talleyXIV - February 16, 2012 1:50 p.m.

    I hate Cooper with some sort of confused passion. Every article he writes just stirs something inside me.
  • MathiasThrasher - February 14, 2012 5:16 p.m.

    Awesome top 7 Coop!! Great work!! I have been torn on if i want to get a Vita or not but i think you all but convinced me it's a good idea.
  • Vulneratus - February 14, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    Good article Hollander... every point laid out well and backed up with informative facts on the console... i don't understand any backlash on this article/console. I recently got a 3DS (for ocarina for the most part but also resi and snake eater) and I have no intention of getting a Vita, but I will however concede that it certainly looks good so far in terms of launch line-up and 3rd party support. I'm sick of nonsensical and moronic childish opinion spouted in this site from fanboys not just only sticking up for their own system/manufacturer (which in itself is retarded enough given they're vehemently supporting little more than a multinational conglomerate money-making machine: idiots) but actually putting down the releases of competitors!... seriously wtf!? can they not actually see that the ones to benefit from a competitive market is the audience itself or are they just idiotic kids concerned only about ridiculous brand identity?
  • aaron-pan - February 14, 2012 9:07 p.m.

    Hey i am all for competition. I just felt the article didn't really point out the strengths... If anything, hardware potential should be focused, and what it can do that other handhelds cannot. Outside of two sticks(that Ninty is trying to fix lol..way too late), I like to see more things to really make me feel the potential can be reached. Usually Nintendo would release a first party game that tries to do i would like to see a game that uses as much as the handheld as possible.. And my last Nintendo console was GC(that i didn't like too much) I don't really consider myself a fanboy, i just don't feel these points are what should be made when things like Steam does better digital download, or how the 3G is so good that i haven't heard a legitimate crucial use for it outside leaderboards. I am just sayin...i really would like more reasons to think otherwise but nothing seems as compelling to sink that $ in yet.
  • PizzatheHutt - February 14, 2012 2:47 p.m.

    You kick ass, Cooper. Great top seven. Keep up the good work.
  • QuickSticks45 - February 14, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    poor Hollander Cooper, You go and make a good, well written article on the PSV, being clear about things that it had improved from the PSP, but apparently people are just too jealous about all the money that Sony is shoving into your pockets to say all of this
  • martez87 - February 14, 2012 12:58 p.m.

    In my opinion, the dumbest mistake that the PSP made was the focus on console style experiences rather than games that are tailor made for handhelds. Of course, I realise that plenty people like these sorts of games on handhelds, but that's what put me off personally.
  • MasterBhater - February 18, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    The problem was that the psp was TRYING to be a PS3 when it wasn't. The PS Vita, on the other hand...well, it's trying to be a PS3 as well, but now it has the hardware, the software and the controls to do it
  • Heytom - February 14, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    #7. Digital is being done right Uhmmmmm... Uncharted @retail 49.99 Uncharted @digital 44.99 Uhmmmmm... A physical copy can be traded or sold A digital copy can be... well... I can only play it again, and again, and... again... Digital games have to be waaaaaay cheaper than that. So, #7? NO WAY!
  • talleyXIV - February 16, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    The thing about selling games is, it is dumb. Is it really worth it to buy a game $50 or $60 than sell it for $20 the next week? Maybe if you are extremely financially inept, but I think the nostalgia covers that money. I love playing SNES, even the bad games, and looking back at the Gamecube games I have sold. It makes me want to punch myself in the face. So I think $5 off is a good little discount, especially since you know that the game will forever be saved on your console and can not be broken.
  • spideralex90 - February 14, 2012 noon

    I really want this thing. I'm just waiting for a bundle with a game I actually want.
  • ultimatepunchrod - February 14, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    Good top 7. Sorry the anti-Sony folks are out en masse though.
  • BrunDeign - February 14, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    Now I like the article, I really do, but what if - and stick with me on this - what if Sony made NEW mistakes? Like overpriced memory cards? And little to no online marketing? And advertising with TACO FREAKING BELL. Although that last one is just a stupid advertising decision, I think it's still worth noting how poorly Sony has marketed the Vita so far.
  • GeedAwesome - February 14, 2012 5:59 a.m.

    I keep hearing "the strongest launch lineup of all time" but I'm not buying it. It's all PS3 ports and the "always there at launch" titles like Lumines and Ridge Racer which just end up being the same game again (Not that Lumines isn't awesome but I already have that game several times on multiple platforms). The memory card situation is also appalling. From my vantage point, the launch lineup is weak and there's nothing I would want to get besides Hot Shots Golf. Now the Dreamcast...that was a HELL of a launch lineup.
  • BaraChat - February 14, 2012 4:53 a.m.

    Reading some comments here make it seem like the whole GR staff has killed a member of each family. They simply like a gaming system and where it's headed, they didn't insult your mothers, calm the fuck down. I'd rather see the editors talk with enthusiasm about the future of a gaming console than simply bring it down before it's even released. You don't like said console? Well don't buy it! And don't read articles on it! I have my Vita already and sure it has flaws (100$ memory card, seriously?), but the GR staff probably knows more about gaming than all of us put together, so I trust they know what they're talking about.
  • aaron-pan - February 14, 2012 4:46 a.m.

    Highly disagree with this entire article for the most part. #7...possibly true, but the digital stuff has to be cheaper than the retail to justify any purchase imo. #6 Enough people beat this to death already. Its NOT cheap. #5 This might be good for people who do not have a smart phone. However anyone that already has one, most likely does have a better way of doing things mentioned here. Theres no reason to get a PSP Vita for this. It might not seem like a huge deal, but eventually just about everyone will get a Smartphone. #4 Same as above, except...3G doesn't really matter outside of casual browsing, streaming movies (slowly), and social media. Its not for games, and cannot support gaming very well. Other than that 3G is very old, 4G/4G LTE is where its at atm. That and you have to pay for a data plan that has the same prices as a real data plan on a smartphone(again why is the Vita considered Cheap again?). So why not just get a smart phone for data? In fact if you can pay for it, why not save up for a smart phone, get its wifi hotspot function turned on, so you can go online with your phone that has 4G/4GLTE, and then use that particular phone to let your WIFI Version of Vita go online faster? #3 Briliant as in Nintendo already did something like this. #2 I believe others already went to this, outside Uncharted, most other games are playable on the console...only good if you are on the go constantly. #1 From a friend that actually tested the Vita, he said the back touchscreen is very..bad because your fingers where you rest often do un-intentional touches. Similarly the sticks make it uncomfortable to pocket and the size is a bit big for his liking. But i can't say anything personally.
  • GR HollanderCooper - February 14, 2012 11:39 a.m.

    This wasn't "Seven reasons the Vita is the best ever," it's specifically talking about how it's different from the PSP.
  • jmcgrotty - February 14, 2012 4:20 a.m.

    Wow. Did you go out of your way to be wrong so often in this article?! Starting with even the title: "Signs that the Vita isn’t repeating the PSP’s dumb mistakes" On the contrary, Sony is repeating the same "dumb mistakes," by releasing Vita to begin with. The portable market is a farce and insulting to any real person. "Digital is being done right" No, it isn't. The only way digital can be "done right" is to not have it at all. Don't fall for this bull about digital distribution being good or wanted. It's unacceptably pathetic. "It's actually more than a gaming system this time" Once again, you are pointing out a massive flaw in the system, NOT a positive, as the article seems to be intended. The inclusion of any social media trash brings the whole value of the system down, even if you aren't required to use them. Look at the asshats who are still using Twitter and Facebook these days and you see a listing of the scum of the earth. "This time, Sony is putting all of its chips in connectivity at day one, and we’re happy to see it get so committed." You are completely contradicting yourself in this part, when you talk about all the things that the PSP (I hate that name. I still always think of it as "Paintshop Pro") was supposed to do but didn't. Vita is in the EXACT same situation right now: Sony says this still will be there, but the final usage of these things is not known. Sure, it is out in Japan, so we have a feel for what it can or can't do, but that really doesn't end up guaranteeing how companies will use the Vita. "It has two analog sticks and a touch screen and a back touchpad and a…" I'm actually torn on this entry by you. I can't really figure out what you do agree with and what you don't agree with. Sure, the dual sticks are great, as you point out, but the good ends there. Obviously, you are being sarcastic when you say how Sony just tried to include any and all forms of input, and the sarcastic tone is apt. But, then you seem to go from there into saying that maybe it will be OK. No, touchscreens will NEVER be OK. Sony deserves to be tore a new one for including any touchscreen, let alone 2.
  • ray_gillespie - February 14, 2012 4:33 a.m.

    "No, it isn't. The only way digital can be "done right" is to not have it at all. Don't fall for this bull about digital distribution being good or wanted. It's unacceptably pathetic." You are completely and utterly wrong. How do you know that digital distribution isn't "wanted"? I friggin' love digital distribution, I have a wicked library of games on Steam and I'm happy to snap up PSN bargains whenever they're on offer. I know many other people who love digital distribution, and just because you don't like it doesn't mean that no-one likes it. Digital distribution is clearly the future of gaming - maybe not for a while, but it will eventually take over in the same way that it is doing in the music industry.