It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the North American launch of the PlayStation Vita, with the handheld seeing an interesting 2012 by way of mediocre system sales, strong game announcements, great critical reception, and the unique ability to connect with a console in a way no other handheld has before in the history of gaming.
But while the Vita enjoyed a decent first year, it’s still uncertain exactly what plans are in store for it here in 2013. Sure, there are a handful of releases, including Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenaries, but the release schedule is sparse in comparison to 2012′s impressive lineup. However, it’s a sure bet Sony has no plans to abandon their handheld in favor of upcoming consoles, and it’s inevitable that we’ll get some announcements this year showing the Vita some love. Here are six predictions of what we can expect to see announced for it in 2013.
1) Gravity Rush Will Get a Sequel
Gravity Rush was one of the most unique and impressive games on the PlayStation Vita, even managing to capture top honors as Game of the Year at Tokyo Game Show. And thanks to a slight Twitter slip by the game’s director Keiichi Toyama, it’s pretty clear that a planned sequel for Gravity Rush is in the works.
And why not? It was a great game and added to the Vita’s strong library as an exclusive to the handheld. My guess is that we see the official announcement some time around Tokyo Game Show 2013.
2) inFamous Vita Will Be Announced at E3
With the likes of Little Big Planet, Resistance, and Uncharted, we’ve already seen a handful of key PlayStation franchises make their way to the Vita. But Sony’s got a big stable full of strong exclusives that haven’t had the handheld treatment yet.
One of the most glaring omissions here being inFamous. There’s been no word of it on the Vita, and it’s a missed opportunity to not allow people to take Cole on the go. Of course, Sony execs aren’t dumb, and this is one announcement begging to be made. E3 this year will be all about the next-gen console, but that doesn’t mean the Vita won’t get any announcements either. And what better way to keep the pacing up at the conference than announcing a portable romp through Empire City with inFamous?
3) God of War Vita Will Be Announced at E3
One of the other major absences felt by the Vita is that of Kratos and his wrath in God of War. With standalone experiences on the PSP in Ghost of Sparta and Chains of Olympus, it’s hard to imagine that a God of War Vita title hasn’t been thrown around at the Sony office. It’s a franchise begging to be brought on handhelds and would go nicely paired with an inFamous announcement at E3 2013.
4) Capcom Announces Monster Hunter for the Vita
Capcom’s never said that Monster Hunter isn’t coming to Vita, but it’s never not said it, either, instead resorting to an ambiguous statement about how you shouldn’t believe things you read on the internet. But being that it was such a standout success for the PSP in Japan, you can bet that attempts to strike a deal on bringing the game to the Vita have been made. They’d be fools not to try, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this announced at Tokyo Game Show alongside Gravity Rush 2.
5) Vita to get a $50 Price Drop
This is one that has been hotly contested for a long time now, but I think 2013′s the year we see the Vita get a $50 price drop on both the Wi-Fi and 3G versions. Seeing as they’re possibly rolling out new consoles in time for the holidays this year, Sony’s not going to want the Vita to slip consumer’s minds. What better way to draw them in than by bringing the Vita down to a more competitive price? Plus, this will be necessary as it piggybacks on my final prediction….
6) The Vita Will Be An Integral Part of the PS4
Two screens. That seems to be the theme heading into next gen, whether it’s the Wii U’s game pad or Microsoft’s lackluster attempt at Smart Glass. Developers want you to not only be using the TV, but also the screen in your lap to play games on next-gen systems.
Sony’s no exception to this rule, either, as we’ve had rumors of them bringing back the touch screen boomerang controller of old. But looking at what they’ve done with the Vita and PS3 integration in 2012, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve been laying the groundwork to make the Vita an important part of the eventual PlayStation 4. Cross-buy and cross-play options have been made available for a handful of different games on both the PS3 and Vita, including PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. And even beyond that, the Vita was made into a controller for the PS3′s Little Big Planet 2, showing that the system is capable of connecting seamlessly with the handheld and allowing it to serve multiple purposes.
Furthermore, the names “Orbis” and “Vita” lead into the phrase “circle of life,” suggesting that the two are intended to complement one another. Of course, only time will tell for sure what sort of role the Vita will play in the next generation, but I think it’s a safe bet we’ll see it take part in the PS4 in a big way when all is said and done.