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Top Six things Sony can do to make the PlayStation Vita a breakout success.


PlayStation Vita was released in America about two months ago, but already people are saying that the handheld system is doomed and will never catch on, based on disappointing hardware and games sales figures. However anyone who actually has PlayStation Vita will know that the system has tremendous potential is a quality piece of hardware. That's why the shame that most people are giving it a chance yet. So I compiled a list of things that Sony can do in order to make people take a second look at the system and have it start to fly off the shelves.

1. PSP UMD Drive attachment for the PlayStation Vita

Obviously anyone who bought a PSP is more likely to be interested in buying a PSVita. That's why it's a bad idea to alienate anyone who supported the PSP by making all the games they bought at retail incompatible with the PlayStation Vita. I've also seen a lot of people who never bought a PSP, but were interested in the Vita but were turned off by the lack of backwards compatibility. Yes currently about 300 PSP titles are available for purchase digitally in the PlayStation Store, and are playable on the Vita, but you'll have to buy them again even if you already own the title on UMD, which is unreasonable to most people regardless of how cheap the digital versions may be. The PlayStation Store is also missing many popular titles for the PSP that consumers probably already own on UMD and want to play on the Vita with its superior screen and controls but can't. An add on UMD Drive attachment for the PlayStation Vita that allows you to play any PSP UMD game or movie on the Vita hassle free would be amazing, and solve all of the problems I laid out earlier. The UMD Drive attachment should be priced at about $50-$75, and if people don't want to play PSP UMD games, then they don't have to buy it. That's the beauty of making an attachment, and not a hardware revision. A hardware revision by the way would cause a fan revolt from early adapters who already bought that the Vita, and be seen as a desperate move by Sony from both consumers and analysts.

2. Update the firmware of both the PSVita and PlayStation 3 to allow any game to be playable by the Remote Play feature

Remote Play was a feature first introduced with the original PSP, which allowed users sync up their PSP to the PlayStation 3 and then play PlayStation 3 software on the PSP through WiFi wherever they wanted. Unfortunately the feature grossly underused, partially because of the PSP's limited screen resolution and controls. The PlayStation Vita however has a vastly superior screen resolution, and two analog sticks so there are no longer any large setbacks. Already hackers have found that any PlayStation 3 game can be played with Remote Play on the Vita, but the controller needs to be remapped to work without the R2,R3, L2 and L3 buttons which Sony could easily solve by simply making the back touchpad of the Vita act as the shoulder buttons and properly synced assistance to alleviate input lag. The hardware of both systems are already capable of doing this, all Sony needs to do is enable it in a firmware update. Can you imagine how many more PlayStation 3 games and more importantly for this article, Vita systems Sony would sell by releasing a properly marketing this feature? Tons.

3. Add PSONE classic support for the Vita and improve PSP game compatibility.

Everyone knows that the PlayStation 1 was a great system that had many classic games released for it, many of which people would like to play on the Vita. Unfortunately Sony has yet to release a proper PSX emulator for the Vita at this point, so however many  PSONE classics games you may have bought from the PlayStation Store, you're out of luck. You can however still use the remote play feature of the PlayStation 3 to play place in one games on Vita, but it's still only optimized to the original PSP and there is a lot input lag and screen distortion. Surely a PlayStation 1 emulator can't be that hard to make, Sony just need to make it a priority. PlayStation Store PSP game compatibility is also lacking. Currently only about one third of the PSP games available on the PlayStation 3's version of the store are actually playable on the Vita. Even some first party titles like mod nation racers and Fat princess are compatible. Clearly this is unacceptable, and all PSP games available in the PlayStation store should be compatible with the Vita by September at the latest. They also need to adjust the PSP emulator so that you can fully customize control of games, and even set the right analog stick, to act as multiple buttons for instance games that require you to hold down one of the shoulder buttons in order to rotate the camera. I've also had problems where games only allow the left analog stick to move the camera, so it should also be an option swap the sticks, which is similar to left handed controls. Adding PS1 support and fixing PSP compatibility would greatly improve the amount of games to play on the Vita and be a selling point.

4. Update the Vita's firmware to make touchscreens controls no longer mandatory, and every game support custom soundtracks and screen capturing.

Currently the main menu for the PSVita only supports touchscreen controls, which doesn't sound like a problem, but they are often unresponsive, inaccurate, and worse smudge the screen every time I select something. I don't think I need to tell you how annoying having to constantly wipe the screen after every time I select something is. Also many people were turned off from in-store demos based on the liberal use of touchscreen controls, which most hardcore gamers hate. This could all be fixed if Sony would just allow people to use the analog sticks or digital pad to navigate the menus, and use the X and circle buttons to confirm an undue selections, much like the original PSP. Most people don't realize that the PS VIta is capable of taking screenshots of gameplay, and you can even play your own music during games. The problem is that most games don't support these features, because they are not mandatory. Microsoft learned with the original Xbox, that one features like custom soundtracks are optional, hardly any games will support them. Sony mandates that all future PSVita games must support screen capturing and custom soundtracks, then more people will be likely to buy the system for those features. They should probably also try to update more popular over a release titles support the features as well. Updating the firmware to be more user-friendly, and making key features universal to all games, will help consumers feel like they're making the right decision when buying a PlayStation Vita.

5. Announce new exclusive games, and high profile conversions of popular console games with added features.

If someone doesn't already own a PlayStation Vita, chances are the main reason is because there aren't enough games for that they're interested in release for it yet. The solution obviously is to announce more games, preferably with screenshots, details and a release date target. A new entry in a: any of these serious or franchises would certainly help convince fans of them to buy a PlayStation Vita like Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Mega Man, Grand Theft Auto, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania , Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Grand Turismo, Dragon Quest, Shenmue, Kingdom Hearts, Crash Team Racing, Dead Rising, Shining Force, Twisted Metal, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio, Grandia, Tekken, Dead or Alive, The Sims, Harvest Moon, Legend of the Dragoon, MediEvil, any game by Treasure or exclusive super hero games with characters like Batman, Spiderman, Superman, the X-Men, Avengers, Justice League or even the Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters. Conversions or ports from other systems should primarily be compilations or games that never appeared on a Sony system, so that people won't just play it on the Vita using the remote play feature of the PlayStation 3. Examples would be for instance Dead Rising or Infinity Blade collection, with added playable characters, and your stats caring over through both games. It's important to re-emphasize Sony's commitment to the PlayStation Vita platforms by courting third-party developers into making a list titles for the system, and showing that the Vita will have games being released for at least the next three years.

6. Cut the price of the WiFi version of the PlayStation Vita to $100

I tried to compile this list based on what would be the easiest and most important things that Sony could do to improve sales of the platform. Obviously cutting the price of the Vita by $150 isn't something Sony would want to do lightly, so that is why I saved it as my final piece of advice, since it should be considered a last resort. The reason why I think that if they cut the price of all it should be lowered to only $100 is because it's the only lower it to $200, that's still more expensive than the 3DS. If they lower the price to $150 then Nintendo can easily match that, or beat them again at $130. However Nintendo never likes to sell hardware for anything less than $100, and whatever loss Sony takes on selling the hardware will be made up for by a massive increase of software sales. The quicker the installed base of PSVita users grow, the more developers will want to make games for the platform, and the more games you are for the system, the more people want to buy it, thereby solving all of the Vita's problems.

Keep in mind that this article is pretty much entirely speculation on my part, then I have no insider knowledge. I base all my assertions on personal experience and what I have observed in the industry from the past. I hope that Sony will at least consider some of these ideas, since I'd really like PlayStation Vita to succeed, considering I bought one at full price and I'd like to get my money's worth by seeing the platform live up to its full potential.

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