Sales-wise, the Sony Vita hasn’t been doing so well. Then again, few handhelds are doing well these days. Some chalk this lack of sales up to mobile gaming and mobile phones and platforms in general. Others blame Sony’s lack of innovation when it comes to the Vita. Well, if you happen to be part of the latter school of thought, you’ll be thrilled to know that Sony is rolling out a firmware update for the Vita on February 8th.
What will this new update include? A few very interesting (and seemingly necessary) things that many are surprised Sony hasn’t come up with before (more details below). Of course, the Vita update only applies to consumers in Japan, since the Vita is not currently out in North America. However, you can expect the Vita to come loaded with these recent updates once it does hit the North American market (sources say that launch date will be Feb. 22nd).
What the Vita Updates Include
Release dates aside, the current Sony Vita firmware update includes mapping capabilities, Mac support, and some video options. It seems strange that the Vita didn’t include mapping options prior to this firmware update, but I suppose that it’s better late than never with Sony (and, as mentioned, the Vita isn’t actually available in North American yet, so it’s good that Sony included these features before the North American launch date. As far as the mapping functions go, you can expect to see driving and walking directions in addition to a detailed map.
Essentially, you can use your Vita to get you where you need to go. The Mac support that Sony included may expand the Vita market, since this handheld was only compatible with Windows prior to the firmware upgrade. Even though these upgrades are a necessary part of the Vita’s future success, few are confident that Sony will find a large North American market. After all, handheld consoles seem to be somewhat dead throughout North America for the time being. Just take a look at the 3DS – a solid console that isn’t selling like quite Nintendo thought it would. Is there a future for handheld gaming or are consoles like the 3DS and the Vita dead?
Will You Buy a Sony Vita?
Now that Sony had updated the firmware for the Vita, will you be tempted to plunk down your cold hard cash for a Vita when it does finally come to North America? Thus far, the reception for the Vita seems to be lukewarm at best, and it seems as though Sony has a long path ahead. There might be another problem with the Vita. Even though this is, for all purposes, a handheld gaming system, the Vita also comes with many apps (though it doesn’t run Android) and acts like a smartphone. Might it be possible that companies like Nintendo and Sony are watering down handhelds by creating devices that look and act like smartphones?
It is a possibility that some people just want to buy a handheld that acts like a handheld. Sure, it’s nice to have a Skype app and a mapping feature, but are these things really necessary when it come to playing handheld video games?