Would you believe me if I told you the PS Vita launched way back in 2011? Seems like ages ago, doesn’t it? Sony never gave the handheld the attention it deserved and as such, after initial launch games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss lost their luster, so too did the mini-handheld that everyone said was better than the Nintendo 3DS.
Now Nintendo’s newest console will slowly replace it. Here’s why.
1. Switch is very easy to develop for.
Over the past few months we’ve seen tons of interviews asking developers like Frozenbyte and Yacht Club Games what they think of the development process between the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. All of them have offered praise to Nintendo for how easy it is to develop games for the Switch, especially with its included support for Unity and Unreal Engine 4, two of the most popular game engines used to develop games right now.
With the Nintendo Switch, I feel as though Nintendo has cleared one of the major hurdles for indie developers to get their games on the system. It’s no longer a convoluted process and while Switch development is being a bit more tightly controlled than the Wii U was at the dev kit level, this only means less chaff and more quality games.
Indie games are the main reason I bought the PS Vita and slowly those games are making their way to Nintendo Switch. Nicalis is one of the biggest supporters, with The Binding of Isaac, CaveStory, 1001 Spikes, and Hydra all appearing on the PS Vita. I’ve bought them all. I’ll buy them all again on the Nintendo Switch. They’re quality games that I love to play and I want them on a portable console that actually matters. (Sorry, Sony.)
2. Monster Hunter will eventually come to Nintendo Switch.
You’re forgiven if you don’t remember a time when Monster Hunter games weren’t on the Nintendo platform. I do, young padawan. Monster Hunter Frontier on PSP was a game that I spent hours mastering and when the series made the jump from the PSP to the Nintendo 3DS, it lost a lot of its luster for me.
Namely because the Nintendo 3DS was a step in the wrong direction when it comes to better graphics. I wanted to see the world of Monster Hunter elevated to HD and explore the world with a free-roam camera that can only come about when you have a console with an extra analog stick. The New Nintendo 3DS tried to compensate for this with its little nub, but it wasn’t enough.
No announcements have been made just yet because Monster Hunter XX just debuted in Japan, but it’s only a matter of time before the series is announced for Nintendo Switch. That cements the series’ transition from Sony’s hardware to Nintendo for two generations, which means it’s unlikely the PS Vita will ever get a Monster Hunter game.
3. Indie developers are very interested in the system.
I won’t mince words here, the main reason I bought a PS Vita was to play all the cool indie games I loved on the go. Games like Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, Axiom Verge, Fez, Hotline Miami, Darkest Dungeon, Titan Souls, La-Mulana, and Teslagrad are games I own in multiple places because I enjoyed them enough to buy the mobile version.
In fact, I enjoyed them enough that if these games were brought to the Switch, I’d buy them all over again. Nicalis is already taking one step in the right direction with several of their games, while Chucklefish is working on Stardew Valley and perhaps other titles for the Nintendo Switch.
This is exactly what I want to see. If I could convince the devs of Super Meat Boy and La-Mulana to bring those two titles to the Nintendo Switch, I could die a happy woman. I’ve spent countless hours between the two of them as they both encompass things that I enjoy about the way games used to be made, before 3D become the norm.
4. It uses standardized storage and ports.
While both the Nintendo Switch and the PS Vita use non-standard sized physical carts, there’s a very important difference in the approach that Nintendo has taken vs. the one Sony took nearly six years ago with the PS Vita.
The Nintendo Switch uses microSD cards to store digital purchases, just like every other sane smartphone and camera vendor in the world uses. Sony decided to try and stop piracy with its system by using a non-standard storage system developed exclusively for the PS Vita. At least with the PSP, the Memory Stick Duo cards were still used in Sony cameras at the time.
A 16GB Sony PS Vita card will set you back $31, while you can buy a whopping Samsung 128GB microSD card for only $10 more for the Nintendo Switch. Sony’s price gouging on the proprietary memory cards is one reason why the PS Vita is slowly fading into history.
Originally the PS Vita launched with a proprietary charging cable, too. Sony has rectified this mistake in the newest PS Vita hardware revision that now uses a microUSB standard, but that’s the old standard that’s on the way out. Newer laptops and Android smartphones now use the USB-C standard that Nintendo included in the Switch.
5. Multiple people can use one Nintendo Switch.
One big advantage the Nintendo Switch has over the PS Vita is that it’s a complete two-player system for any game that supports local co-op. Want to play a game of Mario Kart 8 with your friend while you wait for the bus to come? You can do that. That’s something not even possible with the PS Vita.
Having a system that’s completely self-contained like the Nintendo Switch means Nintendo has a better chance at getting non-gamers interested in the system. That’s why the Wii sold so well, because plenty of people who don’t self-identify as gamers could understand exactly why it’s fun. I think the Nintendo Switch has that same appeal now neatly packaged to go with you wherever you are.