As the PlayStation Vita inches ever closer to its third year anniversary in Japan, Sony has announced that indie titles and third-party content will remain as the primary focus for the struggling handheld going forward.
Though the system has received first-party support over the last couple of years in the form of Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Killzone: Mercenary, Sony has admitted that the graphical horsepower of the Vita is “no longer” a talking point, and that the handheld will be forced to rely on Remote Play and its burgeoning roster of indie titles.
Speaking with Polygon, Sony’s head of worldwide studios, Shuhei Yoshida, outlined the marketing strategy behind the company’s flagship handheld.
“So when we launched the Vita with Uncharted, it was amazing; PS3-like quality in your palm, but as time moved on, you are seeing PS4 quality and people’s expectations for the graphic fidelity has gone up. It’s very fortunate that the indie boom happened and they are providing lots of great content to Vita.”
When pressed about the lack of first-party titles on the Vita, Yoshida admitted that players can expect to see fewer triple-A titles in the future purely because of its meagre install base. So, given that the recent port of Borderlands 2 was viewed as a critical dud, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever see another high-budget title grace the OLED screen (or LED, in the case of the latest model) at some point in the future.
That said, thanks to the Remote Play feature on PlayStation 4, Yoshida also said that the PlayStation Vita is increasingly being viewed as a companion device for its partnering console, and that PS Plus bonuses and cross-buy incentives can ultimately ensure the handheld has a steady stream of software.
Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that the PlayStation Vita retains a high attachment rate per system and arguably still has one of the most diverse software catalogues on the market. Plus, according to Yoshida himself, Sony could well be prepping a PlayStation 4 bundle that would include the Vita itself, which would surely jump start sales going into 2015.
Beyond that, PlayStation Vita owners can look forward to the addition of PlayStation Now — in North America, at least — which will enable users to stream content to the handheld from all of PlayStation’s existing platforms.