Never mind Remote Play, let’s see more games!
Shuhei Yoshida, the head of Sony Worldwide Studios, is something of a notorious twitter tease. True to his reputation, he managed to raise many an eyebrow last Monday when he tweeted a picture of what appeared to be Ico running on the Playstation Vita. While some were baffled (including former Team Ico boss Fumito Ueda) the reaction was divided into two camps; a minority that was hoping for a port on Vita, and those that assumed that the Team Ico HD Collection on PS3 would soon allow for Remote Play.
Shortly after posting the picture, it was confirmed that Occam’s Razer could well have been applied to Yoshida’s little Twitter game; the Team Ico HD Collection would indeed be patched to play remotely on Sony’s maligned handheld.
Now, for those that might use the Remote Play feature, I’m sure that this is a huge cause for celebration, however I can’t help be feel that at this time, it only hints at Sony’s lack of focus on what the Vita really needs right now; stellar games of its own. At least in the public eye, anyway.
As nifty as it is to play Ico remotely, I can’t play Ico during my lunch hour, I can’t play it on the train or at the mother-in-law’s; I basically can’t play that game for all the occasions that I specifically bought the device for. What I have is an expensive way to prevent toilet breaks from interrupting my current play session.
So what? It’s a peripheral feature, right? What’s the problem with that? Nothing, truth be told; it’s a great feature, but at the moment it looks like Sony are working harder on features like that than they are at securing new, exciting games for the platform.
That could be very far from the truth, and I highly suspect it is, but it’s hard to see that when every other noise from Sony regarding Vita specific software is a negative one.
When the likes of Yoshida freely admit that it’s a struggle to entice publishers and developers to invest in their machine, and spend more time talking about features that otherwise wouldn’t be talking points, then it looks bad. When they’re so reliant on the ability to run decade-old games to give their consumers a reason to grab their Vita when they leave the house (something which the PSP has been able to do for ages), then it looks bad.
Despite that, I think it’s key to remember that while things may look less than ideal now; it doesn’t mean it won’t change. Remember when the 3DS was a huge problem for Nintendo and everyone called it a failure? Look at it now; decent software is commonplace and released in steady flow. The console is starting to find itself a foothold. I also remember the same problems befalling the PSP, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 in their opening years, and each one has gone on to its own degrees of success. Like those consoles, this too is the Vita’s awkward teenage phase, with a lack of releases that truly define its strengths.
The games will eventually come, I’m sure of it, but when it appears publically that Sony are working harder on peripheral features than they are securing great titles for an amazing little console, then you can’t blame people for losing faith. People need to know and feel that they’re going to see a return on their expensive investment, and by talking about future games as little as they have, Sony aren’t exactly filling those people with confidence.
I’m all for great additional features like Remote Play, but what the Vita needs now are more great games of its own. Playing Ico remotely? Meh. Let me know when I can play it on the train, only then will you grab my attention.