The Vita has suffered a rapid decline in sales in Japan, it has missed the lucrative holiday shopping window, and there is an evident dearth of content on the horizon. The digital distribution of games is clunky and the cost of storage is laughably enormous. Meanwhile, Sony is undercutting the device's relevance by evidently broadening its PlayStation certification reach in the Android device marketplace.
And yet, despite its failings, the Vita represents an impressive flourish from Sony.
Rather than building a device that perpetuates handheld gaming as we increasingly perceive it in App Stores and Nintendo devices, the Vita exudes maturity, immersive detail, and impressive implementation. Perhaps handheld gaming as we know it is dying, but the Vita is certainly a brilliant piece of concluding punctuation. With a beautiful screen, robust hardware, and virtually every handheld gaming device design and control paradigm incorporated, the Vita seeks to provide blockbuster entertainment akin to its console brethren, but in an attractive portable medium. To build a "third screen" device capable of phenomenal, versatile entertainment that allows you to keep your television open, and your games with you at all times.
But for every emphatic positive, there is a looming and ever-strengthening negative: the modern smartphone. A negative Sony is complicit in.
The Vita is probably the last of its kind, the portable PlayStation brand primed for convergence with the smartphone world. But, for everything Sony has done with the Vita, I am impressed.
Every hour or so, despite the obvious pointlessness of the purchase, I find myself on the Vita's Amazon Store page. There are no games on the horizon and only one or two compelling games for the present, but Sony has done something admirable here, and it makes the idealistic gadget lover in me swoon for such a device, regardless of its flaws.
In all likelihood, I will not buy a Vita - I have no reason to - but just as it was with the Dreamcast, I will feel like I missed out on an important piece of entertainment technology in doing so.
If you need me, I'll be sitting on the Vita's Amazon product page aimlessly weighing my options further.