Conclusion - is it time to buy a PS Vita?
One year on and there are still too many reasons not to. Some issues can be solved; others are out of Sony's hands.
Every element of Vita, from hardware to games to accessories, is unfairly expensive. Nor does the system offer the kind of portable experience available on smartphones. Great games are hidden away in the dark corners of a confusing digital store. Vita is promoted as a lifestyle device but - outside of games and video - it gets a considerable amount wrong.
The system's saving grace is Sony's own standards for console design. Vita won't flop like an N-Gage or Gizmodo because, despite its shortcomings, it is elementally a wonderful games console inside and out. That kind of desirability is essential to any system.
The future for Vita is not clear - there are too few publicly known projects in the pipeline to determine where it will be at the end of its second year. Sony will likely back it for at least another 18 months, but it needs to work harder with more bravery and conviction. Delegating doomed Call of Duty games to third-party studios will not make Vita any more desirable, nor will the growing library of home console ports.
PlayStation needs to develop unique, must-have titles for the system - it must delegate projects to key (not secondary) teams at Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, Polyphony and Japan Studio.
Sony's biggest problem is the question that jumps into most core gamers' minds when they consider a Vita: Why should I buy a console that no one else seems to be buying? Why pay so much for something I'm not sure will receive full support from the industry?
But those who can afford a Vita have the luxury of asking themselves questions that are more basic and, ultimately, more relevant to their hobby: Is Vita fun? Will I keep playing it? Does it have enough to keep me enjoying games for a long time? Yes, yes and yes.