1. Vita is super-sexy
Argued by: Mikel Reparaz, Senior Editor
right, so there’s no denying that the Vita has a lot of significant obstacles
to overcome right out of the gate. The 3DS has bounced back from an anemic
launch to become a strong contender. The stigma of the PSP’s assorted missteps
is still fairly strong, and is routinely projected onto the Vita by pessimists.
And the high cost of the Vita’s memory cards – not to mention the system itself
– has already alienated a sizable chunk of its potential audience.
all that for a moment. Taken on its own, the Vita is an undeniably badass piece
of hardware, crammed to the gills with cool functionality and capable of better
visuals than any other handheld. Its screen is beautiful, it (finally!) has two
analog sticks, its games look near PS3-quality and it supports Trophies for
your existing PSN account. Assuming it can negotiate the aforementioned hurdles
and build up a solid library of games in its first year (and maybe drop its
price at some point), the Vita will become a destination for experiences that simply
aren’t possible on the 3DS, iPad or any other competitors. And if that happens,
then this could be the first non-Nintendo handheld to not only rival the
company’s dominance, but finally upset it.
2. The exclusives
exclusive lineups have been getting stronger every year, and while we still don’t
know everything about its plans for 2012, what we’ve seen so far is pretty
exciting. Where Microsoft appears to be putting all its eggs in two baskets
marked “Halo” and “Kinect,” Sony’s already starting a rollout of strong titles
you won’t find anywhere else.
Car-combat revival Twisted Metal is right around
the corner, and Starhawk’s mix of third-person shooting, tower defense and
transformable vehicles isn’t too far behind. Journey is jaw-droppingly pretty (especially
by the standards of PSN games), Dust 514 will be the first-ever shooter to be
tied to a PC MMO, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will finally bring back Sly’s
long-neglected, somewhat morally ambiguous series of platformers, which was one
of our favorites during the PS2 era. And that’s not even counting all the stuff
that’s only going to exist on the PS Vita this year.
there’s the stuff that could arrive
this year, although there’s no way to be sure at this point. The Last of Us,
the new property from Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, could represent an
interesting new take on the zombie-apocalypse genre, and The Last Guardian has
been teasing us for years with the promise of beautiful visuals, innovative boy-and-his-monster
gameplay and a potentially moving storyline. So yeah, Master Chief is great and
all, but against a lineup like this, even Halo can’t win the fight
3. The economy sucks
unemployment rates climb and the economy continues to tank, gaming on the cheap
is becoming increasingly important, and that’s an area where Sony is rapidly
starting to outmaneuver Microsoft. Sure, the PS3 itself is expensive, but assuming
you bought yours a few years ago, there’s a wealth of inexpensive downloadable
games you can now download and delve into. Where Microsoft relegates indie
games to their own dark channel, Sony elevates them to prominence. And while
Microsoft has a decidedly strong stance against anything being free, Sony
routinely hands out game downloads for nothing (well, more often than not it’s “nothing”
plus the $50 you’ll pay for an annual PlayStation Plus subscription, but still).
Above: See this? It's free. Yes, free right now
not just that PS3 is a more open platform for indie games, either. Free-to-play
MMOs have become a huge trend on PCs, and the PS3 version of DC Universe Online
became part of that trend last November, opening up hundreds of hours of
gameplay to PSN users for the price of however much time they spend downloading
it. If more free-to-play MMOs follow, the PS3 could be the best console with
which to weather the recession.
Next page: Why the PC will win