This is not a rant, merely my personal viewpoint on what I think Vita needs to succeed. I'm not here to bash, but rather to offer some thoughts to Sony on what is a very promising, but misguided handheld.
First, a little history. I'm an Xbox gamer. Nothing personal against Sony, but I prefer the game selection and I prefer their online service and controller. I had a PS1, but never a PS2 or PS3. Having said that, I would consider myself a "Western" gamer, i.e. I prefer first person shooters and open world action type games. I do not like most RPGs, I don't like fighting games, and I don't like driving games. Considering these statements, no wonder I'm not a 100% satisfied with my Vita right now.
I have a PSP-1000, and never got that much use out of it. The games were okay, but it didn't do much for me. I think it was primarily the fact that it's control scheme differed too much from the consoles. Lo and behold they release the Vita! I had great hopes for this machine. Huge increase in graphical power, touch screen, good online capabilities, and a second analog stick!
I was not a launch purchaser, however I did get one soon after. I almost bought a couple launch titles, wipeout and hotshots, however I refrained because: (1) while wipeout was cool, I never was that big a fan in the past of racing games, and (2) I had hotshots for PSP and never really played it much. Uncharted looked interesting, but I never picked it up (I still might in the future). Nothing else interested me. Played the demo for Unit 13, and wasn't impressed. Didn't really need a generic shooter with no real multiplayer.
Here's my problem. I've hardly touched my Vita since buying it. New releases have been somewhat stagnant, and I know that is usually the case when a console initially releases, but I seriously only have 1 retail game (MGS). I had good hopes for MGS (having played the original on PS1), however time has not been good to it. I still haven't made it past the endboss on the first level of MGS2 due to the horrific controls. Although to be truthful, I haven't devoted much time to it (forgot how bad the narratives can be on some of these Japanese designed games).
What little gaming I do get from my Vita has been from the PSN store. I've got a couple worthwhile titles, most notably mutant blobs, however not much else.
Here's my issues/recommendations to fix Vita:
1) First party games - While I understand Sony is a Japanese company, they have to realize that a large portion of their demographic does not care about japanese style games. I do acknowledge that some people absolutely love them, but I for one do not care about anime/long drawn out narration/spiky blue hair.
2) 3rd party games - Probably why I notice #1 so much is the fact that there is nobody on the 3rd party side at the moment. Better production on this side would help balance it out. I have kids, which limits my time at the console, so I bought the Vita with the hope that I could get some time with some of my favorite titles (i.e. modern warfare, battlefield, skyrim). What we really need is an open-ended type title such as battlefield and skyrim. While I have high hopes for modern warfare, I definitely prefer battlefield (open playfield, can pursue tactics other than run-n-gun). Couple this with bots (I have kids, so being able to pause would be brilliant) and I wouldn't put this down! Skyrim would also be a collosal time waster!!
3) PSN store is broken - I absolutely cannot understand why the store lacks so many basic features and why it is so difficult to use. Why can't I look at screenshots and user reviews, or better yet, download a demo before I commit to paying for the game? At least some big titles have demos. No offense Sony, but I'm not shelling out big (or small) money for a downloadable game with only a text description to tell me what it's about. Look at the xbox indie store. I can play those for a couple minutes trial! I have unfortunately wasted money on several lack-luster PSP ports and minis due to this. This has made me extremely cautious with my purchases...
4) Put something on sale (PSN store)! - Why does nothing ever drop in price? While I really want Escape Plan, I don't particularly want to pay retail. Another example is plants vs. zombies. Why pay $15 for something I got on the android store for free? That's just the type of gamer I am. I've got so many titles still in the shrinkwrap (xbox of course) that I don't need to be a release day purchaser. I can wait several months and pick it up on sale. However, nothing ever seems to go on sale! Sure if you want to page through every single game in the store, you might find an unadvertised sale on a back catalog port, however there is no good way to see everything currently on sale, and the primo titles never go on sale.
5) Remote play - A distant reason why I bought Vita was the promise that remote play held. So far it's been totally wasted. A couple titles that I don't care about support it. *IF* remote play worked for all PS3 titles, I might actually be persuaded to buy a PS3! I might actually outlay several hundred more dollars if this would be a way to play some of the titles I mentioned in #2.
6) Backward compatibility - I'll mention it, but I don't honestly think it would really impact my buying habits. Why do only some PSN store games work on Vita directly, but others you can sideload through PS3? Seems absolutely stupid and a missed opportunity. Why would this not really impact my buying habits? Because I don't really see myself shelling out $6 or $10 to play an old PS1 game... And what's with the two-tier pricing? Does the IP owner for Abe's odyssey really think they're that special?
7) Homebrew - While I don't think Sony would ever allow it, it would open the console to a larger customer base. Instead of constantly working to defeat the hackers, they need to find a safe way to permit this. Let people develop their own games, just find a way to prohibit bootlegging of official releases!
8) Stupid stuff to stop wasting time on - Social networking garbage, AR card games. I'll probably think of more later...
9) What might pacify me for a little while? - Let me download free digital copies of PSP games I already own! I have a ton of them that I never bothered to finish, and this seems like an easy way to drive up console sales while actually giving me something to do on my vita until some worthwhile games come out!
9) Hopes for the future - I'm optimistic about Assassins creed and call of duty, however I hope these won't be crippled versions. Call of duty scares me because it's not a true port and I've heard it will only support 4 on 4 multiplayer. I'm curious why. Is there a technical reason, or is it because only myself and the 7 other Vita owners will be playing? (ouch, that was rough) I know Sony has said that they don't want to do ports for Vita, but I consider a port a success if it delivers them same experience on a handheld that I can get on a console. Right now, I could care less about new IPs. We need to get some games out there to build the fanbase. I would actually buy ports of console titles I already own, such as borderlands, oblivion and fallout. One other bright spot is earth defense force. I was mildly surprised when I heard this was coming. I was a big fan of EDF 2017 on xbox, but not so much of the sequel (too much grinding). Hopefully they can recreate some of the originals magic! I'll also be mildly interested in PS-plus for Vita, however with such a small gamebase, it probably won't be worthwhile for quite some time.
Anyway, that sums up my thoughts on the current state of affairs. Feel free to comment and expand, but I'm not interested in debating. Keep in mind that these are my own viewpoints, and of course you are entitled to a different one.
After reading this I really don't understand why you bought it. No disrespect but the reason you gave for buying it was "Huge increase in graphical power, touch screen, good online capabilities, and a second analog stick!" Thas not enough to part with $250 especially after you said you didn't even play you PSP. I'm thinking you should sell it now before theres a price drop so recoup most of your money.
Game system's user-interfaces differ among the systems. Nintendo has their Shop Channels, Microsoft has their Marketplace, and Sony has their PSN Store. Each are different and unique in their own way, be it good or bad.
The Vita isn't an anime convention. There are a good of amount of Vita games that are not japanese style, and it also has a good mix of 1st and 3rd party support. You say you bought the Vita because you do not have time to play on the console, but then you want to play games like Battlefield and Skyrim. Not sure what else to say.
As stated above, the PSN store has it's own user interface. Sure it would be nice to have a lot more demos, but really people get along just fine. When I walk into Gamestop I don't expect to be allowed to demo every game, I do my research first. Though a demo does help, it is not a necessity and Playstation owners have got along just fine.
For sales, you really need to check out Playstation Plus. Sure it's a subscription service, but you get a good amount of free full games (though not the high-end $60 ones) on a regulary basis, and the discounts really are great.
Truth be told, I do not have a Vita yet as I am waiting impatitently for the AC Bundle, so I won't comment on Remote Play or Backwards Compatibility. Not too sure on the Homebrew thing either, so I'll leave that alone too.
Because I do not have a Vita, I cannot say I have tested the Social Media aspects of the systems, but I will ask: Have you even tried the functions? From what I can tell, Party looks like it could be nifty when wanting to communicate with friends who also have Vitas, and Skype also has me interested a good bit.
Getting free copies of PSP games you own just won't work. Sorry. There would have to be a big mess about verification and it just won't happen.
now... before some of y'all come in here to politely berate OP for buying a vita, he has some pretty good points. and i don't get the impression he is looking to off the vita or sell it. just saying some complaints that, albeit, have been said before, but this is in his words.
the psn store is awful. really, it is pretty brutal that we're in 2012 with a "next-gen" portable and we can't control the store with the face buttons (touch screen only) and we don't have pics or videos to go with every item. i don't expect demoes for everything... but why do i have to bust out my phone and google some images or reviews instead of having a comprehensive store listing? and don't get me started on that vita web browser... what is this, 2008?
third party games: i'm not sure if u keep up on gaming news sites / blogs, but sony has been pretty open about the struggle to get third parties on board. they are acting suprised themselves and trying to lock in some big future titles, so hopefully they succedd for all our sakes.
ps+ is coming to vita in november, you'll see good sales going on and rotating regularly, as well as some free content. so hang tight another month for that. cross buy is happening for first party games too so thats pretty awesome (but u don't own a ps3 yet...)
remote play dissapointed a lot of us, they hyped it up pre-release with a killzone 3 demo and the first round of commercials for MLB baseball made it sound like that would work for all games. obviously not the case, sort of false advertising, but i'm over it by now. they are adding remote play to a lot of future titles.
it sounds like u have patience OP. id say we'll be doing better next year.
As soon as you said MGS, has a bad narrative I gave up on you, especially, when you probably play games like Call of Duty and Halo. That being said I agree the Vita needs more, I think they would solve so many issues if they did something with GaiKai on the Vita.
mgs narrative is convulted as hell. in enjoy it b/c i like anime. but kojima himself knows it and said admitted mgs4 was even a little sloppy in attempting to tie it all together. also i thought the first halo had apretty great story for its time. they lost me w/ the sequels. but give some credit where it's due.
I'll try and give my point of view on some of your thoughts..
3. There is no way anyone can possibly disagree with this notion. I believe the PSN store would get a much needed GUI boost with reviews and screenshots. A refund system or trial system like Google's play store would not be bad either. However, to combat this blind purchase, I always use my phone or laptop to read up some reviews before making a decision. It's not perfect, but it serves the same purpose.
4. Ps Plus, and buy some classic PS One games. I think while I own many of these classics, the lower 5.99 price is palpable to enjoy some great games. Not to mention, PS Plus gives you many free games to stab at while you have a membership.
6. Great point, the average consumer will sure be confused on that part, which could lead to lost sales in the future in the PSN Store.
Finally, I had that same feeling that I got absorbed into purchasing a "Playstation" device just on impulse. However, once I got Uncharted and Unit 13, I really have been enjoying them. Unit 13 does not have a story yes; but it's mission types/lengths really allow you to game depending on your time. It's actually refreshing not having a story in this case, as the co-op allows me to just settle down and enjoy a mission or two of my length choice with a friend. In my opinion, I would definetely give it a shot regardless of the demo.