The Vita was always going to be a hard sell to begin with. Though the PSP was actually pretty successful everywhere but the US, it was no serious challenger to the DS. It had a reputation of not being much more than a portable emulator. And it's terrible UMD media along with proprietary memory cards just seemed like a bunch of really obvious missteps. Sure it was a powerhouse that blew the DS away graphically, but that obviously ended up not having much impact.
History seems almost set to repeat itself unless Sony pulls out something pretty drastic even before the US launch this Wednesday. In most technical aspects, the Vita easily blows away the 3DS, but that hasn't stopped sales from plummeting in Japan, where the system should've had no trouble selling based on the PSP's numbers. There's even reports of Vita developers jumping ship in droves and the best response Sony had was essentially that it wasn't as bad as reported meaning that it was most certainly happening.
Looking at the launch line-up, sure they have some killer apps like Uncharted and Lumines, which the 3DS was certainly lacking at launch, but the biggest complaints about those titles all revolve around forced interaction with the touch screen, which I know I heard developers claiming would be an optional interface for those who wanted to experience it, so good on Sony for forcing them to shoehorn it in there. The one good aspect so far on the titles is that they do have a decent price range as opposed to 3DS titles which are all nearly in the $40 range.
But I think the real sticking point is the ridiculous memory cards. First off, for something that is very digitally focused (most retail titles are going to be available day-and-date with a discount along with smaller PSN titles), not having internal memory (or some basic memory card included) is pretty unforgivable. Then add to that Sony's proprietary cards cost more than double your standard memory like sd cards and who is going to want to waste money on that? Sounds like a huge and permanent deal-breaker to me.
Granted, Nintendo was able to turn things around on the 3DS, so maybe Sony will be able to do the same with Vita, but the 3DS' biggest issues were software-related, which it has now pretty much fixed. The Vita's go deeper, and will require a different approach and Sony is historically slow to act on these things.
That's all I got for today, but I should have another post up by Tuesday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Ace Pilot