Vita means “Life”. I think that was lost on Sony when they were developing the Vita, a successor to the very popular PSP (PlayStation Portable), around 2009. The Vita fully launched in 2012 with 3G/Wi-Fi models available.
The PlayStation Vita had a very rough road after its release, mainly due to one of its biggest issues – the system’s insanely expensive memory cards and how gamers could store data and play their games on the system.
Sony decided to go ahead and design its own memory card exclusive to the Vita. Meaning no other card at the time could be used in the system and no other company was able to make their own version of Sony’s memory card.
The system also didn’t launch with any on-board memory so buying a memory card was a must. It wasn’t until the launch of the newer slim model that the Vita had at least some small on-board internal memory.
Sony’s stern approach to the Vita’s memory however wasn’t entirely its biggest downfall. The console launched right when mobile gaming was getting its footing. The birth of Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Fruit Ninja etc. Mobile gaming exploded and was more accessible than ever to almost everybody that had a smartphone.
While the Vita did have some pretty kick-ass games (LittleBigPlanet, Gravity Rush, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed 3: Liberation, just to name a few) and so many other things going for it, sadly, it just could not compete with the mobile gaming market which became a juggernaut.
Sony essentially left the Vita in the dark and year after year at every E3 conference when gamers waited to see if any news on future AAA titles for the Vita were coming, they were left in the dark as well.
However, today the PlayStation Vita is seeing a massive resurgence in popularity. Now, in 2021, almost 10 years after the Vita originally launched, second-hand sales and pricing of the console are skyrocketing!
The digital Sony PlayStation store on the Vita is seeing quite a number of brand new digital games from independent studios releasing new and pretty exciting games for the system. In Japan, the Vita is still even doing well with quite a number of JRPG games dominating on the PlayStation Vita giving it a breath of fresh air even after all these years.
The Vita at launch was AU $450/NZ $550. Now, second hand, the system is selling for almost just as much. Memory card prices have also gone up since release in the second-hand market.
The physical games as well are trading fairly high. They go for about as much as a brand new game goes for these days, which is shocking. For example, Persona 4 Golden for the Vita is selling on eBay for over $120. Sames titles are becoming even tougher to find.
Now the real question is what has happened for the Vita to suddenly become such a hot ticket?
Well, easy, we’re all mostly stuck indoors all around the world. The pandemic has left people with a whole lot of time on their hands, and what better way to keep those hands busy than by purchasing a portable handheld they may have skipped back at release.
It also helps that lately people seem to be more interested in retro gaming than ever before. Whether that be due to the pandemic or the lack of availability of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, I’m not entirely sure.
The PlayStation Vita truly is a neat little system. There are still games on the horizon for it which you can easily find via a quick Google search.
Considering also the sheer success that Nintendo has had with their Switch lately, it may be time for Sony to once again take another look into the handheld market. Sadly, however, I think they may be done in that realm. So, for now, we still have the awesomeness that is the PlayStation Vita with a library that still continues to go strong on its digital storefront.
Pics via YouTube