The PS Vita has a ton of problems, I will admit. There’s no game production from Sony proper anymore. Expensive memory cards. No price cut. No Platinum-like line. No advertisement. But there’s one tiny issue that seems very easy to fix, and it just seems to aggravate me the most lately. That would be the state of the PlayStation Store, at least in North America.
You see, the PlayStation Store on Vita has been something equivalent to a bunch of toys strewn around a child’s room for years. Some games have simply dropped off the face of the Earth. Parts of the store seem to have gone through a retooling, but have been left half-finished, like an incomplete kitchen restoration; as seen below:
It looks lazy and half complete, doesn’t it? And in case it wasn’t obvious, it lists PS1 classics, despite not mentioning that anywhere.
Notably, there’s a way to see only PS1 classics, but it’s hidden very well – the big banner of titles at the top has a small button hidden right at the end, back from when the Vita first received PS1 classic titles in the first place.
In case you don’t know, the Vita store in North America has a large, ‘master list’ of titles where every title should be listed in one of the many sections. The keyword here is ‘should’, as some titles have seemingly dropped off the face off the store entirely.
Notably, you can still buy the titles in question if you actively search them out or use the web store, you just can’t see them on this list. How did I find what games were missing, you might ask? I indexed every video I’ve done on my channel, cross-referenced the Vita store and the web store, and recorded the results.
The screenshots below show two views – on the right, you’ll see the store listing for the listed relevant Vita game. On the left, you’ll see that I’ve searched the web store for the game that’s missing and I’m showing that there is a Vita version missing from the listing on the Vita itself.
So let’s take a look at exactly what’s missing. And before you ask; I actually went through the effort of formatting my memory card and checking to see if these errors were consistent across stores by making a new NA PSN account; yes, they were as broken as on my regular one.
The most unfortunate casualty of this failure to index the store properly is arguably the smaller indie titles, the ones that you might not know about unless someone actively tells you or you follow the industry.
As you can see, the listings not being there means someone who’s just browsing through the store looking for something interesting to play just might not be able to actually learn about them.
This obviously is terrible for discoverability and sales; two things you expect would be top priority for a digital store. This does extend past smaller indies though.
The first game from indie darling Supergiant, Bastion, after being on sale for a couple of weeks, simply disappeared.
La-Mulana EX, one of the hardest indie games ever made, also fell to this.
Luftrausers, from Super Crate Box and Nuclear Throne developer Vlambeer also can’t be seen normally.
What is even arguably the most important indie title today, almost single handedly introducing roguelikes into the popular sphere, is The Binding of Isaac’s remake, subtitled Rebirth, is gone too.
Now, the next few will have a common theme, and if you’re in touch with the indie scene, you’ll be able to tell what that is.
If you guessed the common theme, you win a cookie, but if you didn’t, let me help.
All five of these games were published by Curve Studios – they’ve done a lot for the Vita and made themselves one of my favorite developers in the process, and what did they get for it? Screwed, by what appears to be laziness from the people managing the PlayStation Store.
And yet, funnily enough, we’re still not done! Even the bigger publishers have lost a title or two down the drain.
Child of Light is quite the delight but it stands quite bright that it’s not in sight. Ubisoft should get onto Sony before they beat this poor dead pony.
My favorite Earth Defense Force game doesn’t even show up on the store either. XSEED should be really mad about this.
NIS America’s divisive turn based strategy game Natural Doctrine is gone as well; some might say the game became so complex as to form a black hole and dive inside it, but I digress.
Tecmo Koei have lost a title as well; the crossover Musou title Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate has no listing on the store anymore.
I didn’t even know WRC4 had a release on the North American store. And yet, you can’t find it, and yet at the same time there’s TWO listings for WRC5. Why? Don’t ask me.
And finally, it’s Aksys’ turn on the wagon – the second XBlaze game, Lost Memories, appears to have caused the Vita store temporary amnesia of its own.
And it doesn’t help that there are store items that simply don’t work or show up anyway. For example, despite the fact I own every Season 3 and 4 table for The Pinball Arcade, I can’t get them all in one go. Why? Hell knows. Also, there’s this:
Try looking through the Helldivers listing to find the game for purchase, that is if you already got it before they released the Super-Earth Ultimate Edition or whatever it was. You won’t be able to find the game for download and you’ll have to go through…
(Note: I recommend PSDLE. It has saved me so much grief.)
But wait, I’ve saved the best missing game until last. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on an ultimate display of incompetence.
Yes, that is actually real. RESOGUN, a game that Sony themselves published, and a regular partner of theirs developed, is completely missing from the US PlayStation Vita store.
As you can see, this is already quite incredible. All in all, there’s twenty eight games I managed to find that simply don’t have a listing in the store unless you know to seek them out. And honestly? I might have actually missed one or two others.
However, the problems don’t end there. You see, the Vita has had a bunch of games either be delisted for licensing reasons, or because they were online only games, but Sony, in their infinite wisdom, saw to leave a fair few gravesites in the store listings:
Rest in peace, Destiny of Spirits. I still have more to show you though; have a look at all the games that are, for some reason, in the Vita section of the store when they’re PSP or PSone games!
Breath of Fire, Enchanted Cavern, Sweet Fuse, and Valkyria Chronicles 2 are all PSP games.
There are also PS1 games listed here. Why are they here in this section? Who knows!
However, there’s one last thing I want to talk about. I want to draw your attention back to this example here:
I want you to pay attention to this game in particular. MOP Operation Cleanup only came out a few weeks ago, but was pulled from the store after 2-3 days on sale.
I’ve linked my video below; less than an hour into the game and I found things that would have failed any sort of quality assurance testing.
If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll fill you in – the framerate is terrible, the vsync is broken to the point you can see the tearing, and some of the building walls are shrunk to a quarter of their normal size!
There doesn’t seem to be any kind of quality control anymore at Sony.
Any sort of test of this game would have proven that this game is massively broken in it’s current state (to my knowledge, the developers plan to fix the problems and re-release the game).
You know what the worst part about this example is, though?
They literally advertised this game at the top of the store for several days while people bought it and found it to be a buggy mess. The worst part is, that screenshot is from the day I’m writing this article – it’s still there, it just leads nowhere if you tap on it.
Honestly, I’m not even sure if Sony is vetting games for the service anymore.
Let me point you to an example that popped up right around the time MOP did – this game, this utter, utter turd of a game named Zombies: The Last Survivor, plays like something someone whipped up in PS Mobile but forgot to finish in time…or make good. It has to be seen to be believed.
The fact that Sony would allow this sort of game to show up on Vita is giving a hell of a negative showing for the Vita in general. This entire business with the store is. They’re free to not make games if they aren’t profitable. They’re even free to not do any more physical game releases.
But when you can’t keep your web store from becoming a mess of shovelware titles; keeping your worthwhile titles listed, and leaving the graves of failed experiments lying around, you look like you’ve just left it out to die.
Sony, please, for the love of god, sort this out. The Vita has gotten by on a strong Japanese and indie library; and with the right support it could continue like this for several years.
With notable releases mainly being digital only, the Vita can live or die on the cleanliness of the storefront at this point. All you need to do is go dust the shelves every week or so. And maybe cut those memory card prices while you’re at it, for good measure.
Update: I mistakenly said that a Sony first party made RESOGUN, when in fact Housemarque simply works with Sony on a lot of things, and the team that ported it to Vita, Climax, isn’t a first party either.