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3G VITA: The most neglected SKU (deservedly so).

Posted by anonymity on July 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

-In honor of all the crazy Vitadiscocats that died-

Let's start out this totally classy (and sassy!) piece with the assumption that very few have ever given At&t a penny for 3G contracts on their VITA. (As a owner of the 3G version, I know this is the case for me!) You might ask why? Simply put, anyone else (or I) can use the hotspot connection in a phone and/or tablet with the tethering ability in the (wifi only) VITA or just opt for connecting to a wifi signal.

Today, a handheld/console owner uses the built-in wireless (wifi) radio on their console/handheld to sniff out a signal - connect and your online! Disable the wireless radio and be offline to enjoy offline content; no effort, now enjoy single player content. If someone just plain can't get an online connection (perhaps, because they live in a place where internet hasn't been available for a while), than will just enjoy offline content. These are all the realities we live in: The way you know how to connect (if you want) for online gaming; going offline is painless. 

So, why would Sony want to jam 3G into a (albeit it secondary) Playstation VITA SKU at all? Well, let's try and change the perspective and conversation. When we begin to put ourselves in the shoe's of SCE's Playstation engineers (that developed the PSP2 - aka Playstation VITA) a few years back, the main question was, "How can we make a device to better the PSP?" Simple:

+Nicer screen? Check!

+Better tech specs? Check!

+Make the online experiences more robust? Check!

The Playstation VITA checked off a lot of boxes. (And people that own one love Sony for doing that!). But, almost no one gives Sony props on 3G connectivity. Why? With the advent of mobile phones and routers becoming more mobile (in part thanks to everything becoming more mobile), the 3G modules we get in VITA have been outsourced and outdone by various other mobile tech ...

Many devices have 4G LTE, meaning no need for the integrated VITA 3G. Many people don't want to be on AT&T or want that second contract for a VITA connection.  Even if you only want the mobile connection, routers (with 4G LTE) already come in teeny-tiny sizes that fit into any pocket. Moreover, people that will probably have their VITA connected (intermittently) will not want to deal with ISP's contracts (or fiddling with the extra settings and secondary maintenance on said VITA mobile connection). 

Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and if I where in charge, the VITA would have had an extra built-in hardware that added online at launch. (Dare I say, a few years ago I would have said to add in a 4G module and upped the price of a SKU even higher!). Nowadays though, I've calmed down that viewpoint and I leave the wireless (wifi) radio on and keep VITA connected to a wifi signal (and only a wifi signal). Having the mobile connection built-into the VITA was a daring gamble, but Sony was better or not making that risk. Instead, Sony could have used that separate SKU demand by offering different color VITA in the US and EU. Again, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Those that own a VITA know a thing or two about the quality and the stand-out risky, cool things it does that no other gaming device on the market can claim to do (e.g. dual sticks and an OLED display). The fact of the matter is, mobile ISP's and the game developers that may have liked the 3G, those people never implemented any sort of game or game infrastructure to lift up the promise of an awesome 3G VITA future. A less crappy turn of events may have actually changed the conversation and made this rant more of a praise. HOOONNNNCCCHHHAAAA!!!

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