I own both a 3DS and a Vita. As someone who has always collected every dedicated handheld gaming device over the years, I couldn’t help buying and loving both. It’s because of this that I realized something. The two really aren’t in competition with each other. Rather, I find the two act as compliments to its rivals abilities, meaning someone who owns both systems will have access to some of the best games available this generation.
The best place to start is the game library for both handhelds. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some kind of back-handed insult suggesting the Vita doesn’t have games and the 3DS does. The fact is, the two libraries work really well together. When it comes to new releases, the 3DS has a very strong first party lineup with games like Fire Emblem: Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Super Mario 3D Land. The Vita’s first party support isn’t robust, but it does have games like Soul Sacrifice, Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Look at those titles to compare right now. You should see an obvious distinction. The 3DS is more lighthearted and catering to all-games. The Vita first party games above are more serious and epic.
That comparison can even carry over to the general game library. True, the 3DS does have games like the forthcoming Shin Megami Tensei IV, but the 3DS is largely offering a library filled with vibrant games that anyone can pick up and play. Conversely, the Vita is catering to people who want something more serious and intense, like Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation or Muramasa Rebirth. That isn’t to say that the 3DS is a kid’s console or the Vita only for adults, rather that the overall mentality and tone behind the libraries is pretty different and, since variety is the spice of a gamer’s life, owning both offers people the opportunity to meet any kind of gaming mood.
Even the retro libraries compliment each other. The Vita is a haven for PSOne Classics and PSP games. Someone could be driven to buy the handheld just for the backwards compatibility support. Meanwhile, the 3DS is quickly becoming the place to go to relive childhood memories of NES, Game Boy and Game Gear games. By owning both systems, players have the opportunity to have access to an incredibly influencial back-catalog of fantastic games.
Of course, it isn’t all about games. The 3DS and Vita also compliment each other when it comes to other capabilities. I almost never send messages to my Vita friends. There’s a messenger, but I never feel driven to use it. I never bother with Near either. Conversely, I’m exchanging Swapnotes and StreetPasses with all my 3DS-owning friends. I see the 3DS as more of a social console, for interacting with other people.
However, when it comes to actually getting non-game work down, I head straight to my Vita. My Vita holds all my music, to start. (This is partially influenced by Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f.) It also is my means of watching videos on the go. Most importantly, I don’t worry about not having a smartphone or always carrying my Android tablet because my Vita’s web browser is more than capable of letting my check my mail and search the web for any immediate internet issues.
There doesn’t need to be a console, sorry, handheld war when it comes to the 3DS and Vita. Each system has remarkable strengths and occasional weaknesses. It’s only when a gamer accepts and owns both that he or she realizes the opportunities available. The two systems both have such potential that, over the coming months and years, I could see someone easily getting by only owning these two handhelds, not needing a PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 or Wii U to satisfy their entertainment needs. If you have both a 3DS and Vita, you’re ready for anything.