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2012 not only saw the inspiring start of PlayStation Plus on Vita, but it also made Cross-Play and Cross-Buy a reality as a distinctive way to add more value to the Vita. Cross-Play has the potential to let millions play against one another in PS3 and PS Vita versions of the same game, but it needs to encompass more than the limited number of games it currently does. Fans of every conceivable genre need a chance to experience Cross-Play on both systems to see how revolutionary the feature can be.
The same goes for Cross-Buy, which (for a small number of games) gives a free Vita version of a title to anyone that purchases the PS3 version. It’s great for the very few games that offer it, but the roster of titles needs to grow. And the added benefit of expanding Cross-Buy, aside from giving people a free excuse to boot up their Vita, is that it’ll only increase the number of gamers experiencing the fun and convenience of Cross-Play. It’s win-win!
As for Sony’s game line-up in the coming year, the electronics giant will have to lean heavily on its internal studios to keep the system alive. After the poor reception of the Vita entries for Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed, third parties might be cutting back on their support of the handheld. Meanwhile in Japan, many players haven’t moved on from the PSP, likely because the Vita lost the multimillion-selling Monster Hunter to the 3DS. Unless Sony can get back MH or (even less likely) stumble across a new series that could be as big, support from Japanese devs might dry up too. So Sony either needs to make some big deals with its publishing partners or start investing in its own studios fast.
All of these actions are within Sony’s reach; the company just has to be ready to take more risks. In this current economic climate, no company wants to take risks, especially when the company is already struggling with heavy annual losses. But if something desperate doesn’t happen soon, the Vita’s potential will vanish before our eyes. And eventually it’ll be added to any number of other sexy pieces of hardware Sony's had to bury.
You know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR Editorials is a semi-regular feature where we share our informed insights on the news at hand. Sharp, funny, and finger-on-the-pulse, it’s the information you need to know even when you don’t know you need it.