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Sony Refocuses PlayStation Vita Development

PlayStation VitaDid you enjoy Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the Sony PlayStation Vita?  Sure, it had its problems, but on the whole was a very well-done effort at shrinking the PlayStation 3 experience down into a handheld.  The days of AAA game development for the Vita appear to be over as Sony has decided to pivot and change the aims of the platform.  We already knew about the indie push, but still I expected the occasional big budget release here or there.  Polygon reports on Sony's Shuhei Yoshida's recent comments that the days of portable Uncharted on a grand scale are over.

"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."

Yoshida said as graphics become less of a "talking point" for the Vita, the focus on what they want to put on the portable platform shifted.

"It's very fortunate that the indie boom happened and they are providing lots of great content to Vita," he said. " Gameplay, game mechanic wise, people want to spend 10 minutes, 15 minutes getting in and out. On Vita, it's great with suspended functionality, so these indie games really great for that from a game design standpoint.

"Instead of watching big stories or cinematics, you can spend hours on Vita. So, I think that's actually the biggest star to help provide great content to Vita going forward. And we continue to make games cross-platform games, especially on digital side."

Do you think the Vita then will be getting fewer first-party games, I asked.

"I would say, yes, that's correct," Yoshida said.

Well, that was fun while it lasted.  That's not to say that there are no major games for the Vita.  Besides Uncharted there's handheld versions of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, all four Sly Cooper games, the Ratchet & Clank trilogy, the God of War Collection, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, and so on.  I was really hoping to see original handheld takes on those franchises instead of just porting the console titles down to the smaller screen.  Then there's the third-party situation.  Where are the new iterations (not port, mind you) of games like Konami's Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles or Capcom's Mega Man Powered Up?  Where's the Grand Theft Auto title made with Vita in mind?  Something tells me we won't be seeing those any time soon in an era where mobile games reign and it's a lot cheaper (and even more profitable) to toss a $5 game up on the App Store instead of taking the time to craft a new $40 experience for the Vita.  This all ultimately comes down to business and not art, of course, but I hate to see wonderful hardware like the Vita be dismissed as a console port and indie machine.  Console ports and indies are fun, but I like a tasty main course with my side items and snacks.