There’s nothing like a desperate game company, because a company in that state is willing to do anything to garner goodwill. Case in point is Sony, which is trying to earn more Vita love. While the first round of the Vita Anniversary Sale on its own was a fantastic gesture to entice Vita owners, the second round goes over the top in an attempt to make people love not only the Vita, but develop a new appreciation for the company. See, Sony’s giving away free games to all Vita owners. You don’t have to have PlayStation Plus. You just need to have a Vita between March 5-11, 2013.
I’d say it’s probably one of the smartest moves Sony could make at the moment. Now that the Vita has hit the one year mark, people are going to become even more critical and pick at sales figures and game releases even more. When a system is a year old, you expect it to start getting comfortable and for numerous game announcements to start spilling out. The Vita isn’t settled and only a few new games have been announced. By counteracting that with a handful of good, free games, Sony is heading off ill will and customer discontent by instantly expanding people’s libraries.
It helps that the Vita Anniversary Sale freebies are all fantastic games. Starting tomorrow, people will get downloads of Patapon, Patchwork Heroes, Piyotama and Wild Arms. That’s $30.96 worth of free games for every single Vita owner. It’s a substantial package, to be sure, and I’m sure every Vita owner will appreciate it. Even though I already own Patapon on a UMD, I’m still excited about getting to get a second copy for my Vita.
It isn’t just about the money. When Sony picked these free Vita Anniversary Sale games, they chose titles that are actually worth playing. Two especially stand out. Patapon is easily one of the highlights of the PSP and inspired legions of gamers to start whispering, “Pata-pata-pata-pon” and “Pon-pon-pata-pon” under their breath. It’s an incredible blend of music with an action RPG and will make Vita owners fall in love with the series, if they haven’t already. Wild Arms is a classic PS1 RPG with steampunk elements. Even Patchwork Heroes and Piyotama are entertaining timesinks, with one allowing people to decimate airships by cutting them apart and the other making players match colored eggs.
Not to mention a giveaway of this size is unheard of among publishers. I’ve never seen Nintendo or Microsoft offer this kind of olive branch to customers. Sony’s generosity is showing how much it values its customers and the effort it is willing to put in to make people feel better about owning a Vita.
Simply put, the Vita Anniversary Sale freebies are a reward. It’s Sony’s way of thanking people for taking a chance on the handheld. The company knows the Vita isn’t at its best and I’m positive we’ll see a real push to make it more relevant at E3 2013. In the meantime, this $30 bundle is a good way to make people feel better about their purchase. When in doubt, throw free games at people. It’ll make them feel better about their handheld and the company, and maybe even think spending money on one of the sale games is a good idea. After all, 20 Vita downloads will be on sale this week, with 25-50% off discounts, depending on whether a person is a PlayStation Plus member or not.