News Article

Talking Point: Why Vita Criticisms Are Premature

Posted by Sammy Barker

Hold your horses

The video game industry has a very selective memory. With each new platform launch we're inundated with the same old comments regarding software library, price and more. Indeed, the current reaction to the PlayStation Vita’s not-stellar-but-not-terrible launch sales figures is reminiscent of conversation from 12 months ago. Back then, the media was lambasting Nintendo’s “flawed” 3DS for a lack of software too; those criticisms have gone tellingly quiet over the past few weeks.

Now it’s the Vita’s turn to soak up the press and public’s criticism. It’s not that the device is beyond such analysis — we'll admit it has its problems — but it’s all so premature. The system’s 1.8 million adopters are craving new experiences, and they’re right to do so, but anyone who’s purchased a system at launch before will be familiar with this situation. The reality is that new platforms don’t have the ingrained production cycles that established systems do — only recently has the 3DS’ software offering picked up steam, and the same happened for Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 before it. It's just the reality of a platform launch.

In fact, if you look at past evidence, Sony’s done a pretty good job of eschewing the dreaded launch drought. Not only was the release offering arguably the best in history, but the stream of content since has been good enough to quell concern — to those paying full attention at least. StarDrone Extreme is a decent distraction, Mortal Kombat is an outstanding port and there are still huge first-party releases on the horizon such as Resistance: Burning Skies and Gravity Rush. The scale of the launch line-up itself may be part of the problem — did the size of the initial offering set a precedent the system couldn't possibly maintain?

It’s not like Vita’s been alone in its supposed software drought these past few weeks either. While the whinging masses lament a lack of new content, PS3 saw one major new release in April: Prototype 2. Does anyone truly expect a dozen Vita titles to drop in a notably dry month for the entire industry?

It’s certainly true that things could have been smoother, as is the case for anything in life. The digital focus of the Vita, for example, should allow Sony to bridge droughts with well timed downloadable releases. Smaller, bite-sized games such as Escape Plan and Super Stardust Delta are perfect for filling the space between tent-pole releases, and this is maybe one area in which the Vita has been lacking in the past few weeks.

But a dry spell is not unprecedented for any new console. It takes a while for a new arrival to find its footing, and it’s not the end of the world. Let’s not forget that the PS3 took an unprecedented three years to truly break its software slump perception.

Vita arguably needs to make a stronger impression quicker than the PS3, but should we really be worried three months into the platform’s global launch? Sony has just announced Soul Sacrifice – an impressive new property for the Japanese market – and we’re sure it won’t be the only Vita blockbuster to be revealed over the coming weeks. Let’s see what the big trade events – E3, GamesCom and Tokyo Game Show – bring before we start writing off Vita’s chances. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.

The wannabe online analysts may claim to have all the answers, but their commentary is far too fixated with the present. Price drops and crowded software announcements may make a difference in the short term, but the console market isn’t a sprint.

We can assume from Sony’s most recent financial announcements that it intends to sell approximately 10 million Vitas over the next 12 months. It’s not going to come close to achieving that without a plan, so you can rest assured that your software cravings will be answered.

It’s all a problem of perception. The criticisms snowball and get out of control. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with questioning the way Sony’s dealt with the Vita’s launch and post-release schedule, but let’s stray from unnecessarily hyperbolic statements, and keep in mind that it really has been just three months since the system’s global launch. That’s not a lot of time for anything.

If things haven’t improved in 12 months, then we’ll talk. But realistically, that’s not going to be the case, is it?

User Comments (50)



IrishYort said:

What Vita needs IMO is cross support. Why do Sony release Wipeout for Vita, but for some reason months later not release Twisted Metal. Surely the programming protocols for the Vita and PS3 are relatively similar, or else why bothet making the Vita at all?

This also goes with the PSN games. Why cant all games released on PSN be playable in the Vita? Bite sized, non boxed releases, like Trine 2, Skull Girls, The Walking Dead and Journey, all are easily capable of running on the Vita, and it should be Sony's responsibility to get these things happening even if they have to create a VM to do so!



Magi said:

PS1 support would go a long way in giving Vita owners additional games to play until more Vita games are released. From the outside looking in, this opportunity seems like low-hanging fruit. Personally, I've got FFVII, FFIX, Xenogears, Vagrant Story, and a few other downloaded games on my PS3 just screaming to be played on my Vita.



Paranoimia said:

Oh, has there been a drought? I hadn't noticed. The games I bought at launch are still keeping me busy alongside my PS3. I'm not in any rush for new games yet.

I got a 360 in mid-December with 2 games. Used it to play Forza 4 a lot until Christmas Eve. It's only been on about 3 times since then, and I haven't bought any more games for it. Clearly that format is doomed too, then.

But seriously... like Sammy, I suspect/expect there'll be lots of Vita goodness at E3.



Squiggle55 said:

PS1 support and a fix for PS+ minis would help a lot. And as IrishYort said my biggest dream is for my PSN games to be playable on the Vita. I know sony said it is up to the publishers to go back and patch the games to make them vita compatible or remote play compatible, so I'm not holding my breath for old games. But I really expect new PSN games to do this. I know Vita specific games are coming I'm not worried about it.



Yogsoggoth said:

You can't compare the Vita with the 3DS. Just because the 3DS was able to pull itself out of a tailspin doesn't mean the Vita can. Why?

1. Nintendo has Mario, Pokemon, Metroid, Zelda, and other well known franchises while the Vita has.......?
2. Nintendo's DS was the best selling console ever and the PSP was a niche platform with boutique software from fringe publisher like NIS and Xseed.
3. Nintendo never, ever had the bad sales that the Vita has had in Japan.
4. Nintendo isn't hemorrhaging cash, Sony is.
5. If the greatest gaming console manufacturer of all time can't sell a handheld at $250, what made Sony think they could?

You are right that there are a pattern to console launches, but that glosses over the fact that what is happening with the Vita is unique. The Vita has great hardware specs, a great launch lineup, but no one is buying it. Those lack of sales has had a profound impact on software announcements (i.e. there haven't been any).

You complain about wannabe analysts, but where is your Harvard School of Business degree? Nowhere in your article do you talk about Sony's massive debt and precarious market situation, and you say the critics are being unrealistic?

Here are the facts. Sony released an overpriced handheld into an over saturated market during an economic downturn. With no handheld identity and no well known franchises, Sony thought they would be able to attract consumers by offering a PS3 lite experience with a more than PS3 price tag. Sony then dug their own grave even further by requiring expensive, proprietary memory that was necessary to save game data even though the games were already on cartridges!!!!!

People are surprised that the Vita arrived DOA, I would have been surprised if it hadn't.



ShogunRok said:

You see so many comments from people who don't know crap about the situation as a whole. Hundreds of 'Why the Vita is Doomed' articles do nothing but show how petty most gaming 'journalists' are.

For the record I think this article is spot on. People just love to jump to conclusions, especially when said conclusions will bring them lots and lots of hits.



Slapshot said:

@Yogsoggoth Actually, 3DS sales we're quite abysmal in the first few months. Heck, I was one of four people who preordered a 3DS at my local GameStop, and I live in a major city. Regardless of sales, the PSP had a disaster of a launch. The game's were terrible, and I had three complete system failures in a week!

PSone Classics would go a long way to tide over some, as well as the PS+ issues being fixed with Minis. But, 1.8 million units shifted in three months at this time of year isn't bad at all. Sony has always been a slow and steady seller, and Vita will be no different.

I've only turned my 3DS on a handful of times since Super Mario 3D Land, but I'm not going out and selling it and claiming its demise. To be truthful, the upcoming 3DS release list that's isn't TBD is quite barren as well. Heroes of Ruin and a few first party Nintendo titles are all that I'm currently interested in for the next year or so (maybe 4 games), but that's perfectly OK with me. It's just the way things are.



JavierYHL said:

the greatest gaming console manufacturer of all time is actually sony,their ps2 is the best selling console of all time



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

@Slapshot Really? My preordered 3DS was #154 at my local GS in Hawaii.

Though the reason IMO is that the PS family has a habit of having a high bug occurrence or poorly adjust controls/parts when its the first gen., first shipment.



JavierYHL said:

sony always start out slow their biggest problem is they dun have strong first party franchises to start the ball running,they need to depend a lot on third parties which the somehow cant good hardware ninty gd first party software



Slapshot said:

@Sakura_Moonlight2421 Yep, sadly they didn't even have enough preorders to warrant a midnight release for the 3DS. We do have 10 GameStop locations in my area, but only — if I recall correctly — two stores had enough to do a midnight launch.



JavierYHL said:

hope both the vita and 3ds are successful thats the best for gamers,more choices is good



Kage_88 said:

@JavierYHL - Actually, the DS is the highest selling console of all time.

I do hope Vita gets out of its slump (especially since I've decided to cave-in and buy one!), but the financial situation at Sony isn't good. I'm not about to say they're going out of business, but Hirai and crew really need to turn the situation around.

After all, I'm sure many people thought SEGA would turn the Dreamcast's ailing fortunes around too...



Slapshot said:

@Kage_88 Sony's problem primarily are in their television and R&D departments. The PlayStation brand is profitable, so I don't think you've got anything to worry about.



JavierYHL said:

hmm to kage_88 ds havent exceed ps2 in total sales yet ps2 156m ds 152 m,still some way off



odd69 said:

Great article sammy. I dont own a vita yet, but i havent doubted it either Im just waiting til it starts picking up speed and Im waiting for a bundle to come out with it, as long as its a good one. Wouldnt mind a god of war vita bundle, wish they would release a resistance bundle.
When i first bought my ps3 i hardly used it and had a few games, now the selections is almost too much and i use it everyday .Im sure the vita will be the same in 2 years. Sony will always drop the bomb on us its just a matter of when.



Gemuarto said:

@Yogsoggoth I am sorry, but SCE is a profiable businees. The one with a loss is a Sony's TV makers. The debt and other bad things are their fault in general. And I believe in Vita success, because now Sony have no other option, but to put all stakes on entertainment and mobile parts of itself, and as you can see, the Vita is both - mobile and entertainment. And it's really solid and cool piece of hardware, the only bad thing about it, is the lack of games and high price. But Sony can change this, and i believe they will.



get2sammyb said:

@Yogsoggoth You make some fair points that are difficult to counter: obviously none of us know the future. However, I think you're misinterpreting my post a little. I never said Vita would emerge from its supposed "slump", nor did I say it would be easy if it does. All I'm pointing out is that it's too early for us to know either way. If the software genuinely doesn't come, then we've got a problem — but we can't possibly know what is and isn't in development at this stage.

You're right to point out that Nintendo will always be able to rely on Pokemon and Mario, but I feel like Sony's always excelled at having a strong breadth. PlayStation 3 arguably doesn't have a pure system seller like Mario or Halo either (Gran Turismo is probably the closest), but the PlayStation brand sells well because it has a good array. At some point it becomes too hard to resist Uncharted, God of War, Heavy Rain, Journey and flower (and so many more). The PlayStation has always relied on a strong catalogue rather than an individual brand.

You're right to say Sony's financial situation is dire, but that's largely the fault of one area of its business: televisions. PlayStation 3 was the best selling console worldwide last fiscal year, despite suffering a minor decline year over year. The console still hasn't hit mass market price, and its software attach rate increases every year. Similarly, Sony's Music, Finance and Movie businesses continue to be profitable. So the reality is, Sony's financial system is somewhat overblown. No it's not good — but it's not going to stop them investing the resources they need to make their most profitable business assets succeed.

I think a key part of what you say is that the hardware is great. If the product is good then the consumers will follow. It might just take time. The illusion that every product needs to achieve blockbuster sales right out of the gate is an incorrect one in my opinion. Vita needs just enough sales to encourage development costs, and while 1.8 million doesn't sound especially impressive on paper, we need to be aware of other facors such as development costs and attach rates before we can make sweeping statements.

Also, we just don't know what Sony's roadmap is. Maybe they targeted 1.5 million units sold for this period? If so, then the Vita is exceeding expectations. Perhaps that targeted 5 million units? In that case, then it's a disaster.

Either way, we don't know — and that's just the point, the system needs at least 12 months to settle down and prove itself in the market. If the software situation is still terrible and the sales numbers haven't moved in 12 months then I think your comment holds weight — but while you describe a realistic scenario, you also describe a really negative one. All I was really calling for in this article, was for people to take a wait and see approach.



rjejr said:

From everything I've read software seems to be the least of the Vitas problems. A bunch of issues off the top of my head are: EXPENSIVE PROPRITARY memory (that's 2 issues right there which Sony could have very easily avoided w/ SD), prior price drops on iPhone, 3DS making people wait a bit before purchase, economy in general sucks, releasing AFTER the holiday season (see 3ds sales), the near universal lack of support for PSPgo leaving a bad taste in people's mouths for another new Sony portable, as usual Sony not delivering on things they advertise, probably still some residual backlash over OtherOS removal and PSN hack and downtime. And that's all just off the top of my head. And it doesn't include software - just a lot of general stuff Sony has no control over but also a lot of stuff Sony did wrong in general that anybody w/ any videogames knowledge in general could have helped them avoid.



get2sammyb said:

@rjejr I disagree, I think all those things can be easily solved over time. I personally believe they'll announce memory card bundles at E3, so that's one issue out of the way. The price will eventually come down — and Sony used pretty bog-standard parts in the Vita to ensure it can do this quicker — so that won't be a problem throughout the entirety of the system's life either.

As for the PSPgo leaving a bad taste, all they really need to prove is that they're committed to the platform (which they're going to have to do anyway) and people will forget.



Xerxes said:

@Yogsoggoth I could not have said it better, people need to stop being so butt hurt over sony's current failure with the vita. It might get better, it might not, and criticisms are certainly not premature considering that it was released in japan 5+ months ago, thats about how long it took nintendo to realize their problem and announce the price drop on the 3ds. I love the vita but I'm not going to defend it from the obvious truth, it is failing as a console.



get2sammyb said:

@Xerxes I think it's extremely unfair to focus on the Japanese launch date rather than the global one, but, even assuming we use your five months figure, what did you actually expect to happen in that space?

You claim to "love the Vita" but conversely consider it "a failure". That doesn't really make sense to me — how can you love something that you're not satisfied with? And if you're solely discussing sales figures, what would you consider to be a good number?



isnchz said:

@Xerxes and @Yogsoggoth I completely agree with you, guys.
@get2sammyb Yes, you can love something and consider it a failure. From company's point of view failure means failure to generate profit. From consumer's point of view failure means failure to meet expectations.
Personally, I think that Vita is a great device from the hardware point of view. If I were to rate it only on that basis, I'd consider it a great success.
Unfortunately, in 2012 a great hardware is not enough to succeed. The consumer is expecting much more: service, ecosystem, etc.
There are a few things major flaws with Vita, and in order to understand them one must look at the reasons behind Sony's current dire financial state:

  • Proprietary memory format: Sony tried to lock users to its proprietary format for more than 15 years now (remember ATRAC?) - we know how it ended. It seems they don't learn from their mistakes and prevent customers from using anything else except proprietary Vita memory cards.
  • Absence of developer community, hence absence of games: Again, its 2012 and Vita competes with iOS/Android devices that boast hundreds of great games - this was achieved by Apple/Google (Apple to lesser extent, since they censor what can be released. Google gives total creative freedom) allowing everyone to develop games. Something that is totally impossible on Vita, thus you have a couple of launch titles and several other games in development (most of them are PS3 ports). Looks like someone at Sony understood the problem, and they announced PS Suite initiative that would give hobbyist a way to develop for Vita. Unfortunately, this is nowhere since: a) It doesn't work yet: you can't create your game and distribute it on PSN b) PS Suite allows developing only on Windows and only with C# (while most iOS developers use C++/ObjC, which means that they have to rewrite their games if they want them to work on Vita - will they do that? No.) Basically, they are trying to do what Microsoft have done 6 years ago with XNA. Thus Sony is more than 6 years behind on this.
  • Gloom prospects: Sony is losing money for several years in a row now. Vita sales are not exactly something to be proud about. Small gamedev studios are not able to create games for Vita, and large have no incentive due to a microscopic install base. Will there be many games created for Vita in a future? Sony has just closed down Big Big Studios (the only studio that was doing games for PS hand-helds exclusively).

I do like Vita, PSP games look awesome on it, I can play "minis", but I (as a consumer) won't consider it a failure only if it will give me a new gaming experience. So far this is nowhere near. All we've got is PS3 ports (Uncharted, Rayman, etc - good games, no doubt, but they could have been ported the same way to PSP, just look at Motorstorm Arctic Edge on PSP which I actually like more than a new RC). Vita-exclusive downloadable titles that you mentioned in the article? Let's go through them one by one:

  • Escape Plan - well made iOS title (well, it's even made with Unity engine favoured by iOS devs), but x4 times more expensive than it would have been on AppStore.
  • Super Stardust - same old Stardust we played on PS3. Oh, they added firing rockets with a touch - well done!
  • Stardrone - my favourite! How come this made to PSN store at all? I can name 50 iOS games that are better. Edge reviewed it:

Obviously, we are all speculating about Vita "failure", since it is early to tell for sure. But all our arguments for failure are quite substantial, whilst your arguments against failure are pure assumptions on what will happen in the future.



get2sammyb said:

@isnchz There are some valid points in this post, but unfortunately they are lost amongst a sea of factual errors and assumptions. Two things that stuck out: how do you know Vita isn't profitable? And what PS3 ports are in development? I can only think of Street Fighter X Tekken.

Also, I don't buy your line that an entire platform is going to fail because its indie development platform runs C#. I actually think your "arguments for failure" are pretty weak.



isnchz said:

I was speaking from consumer's point of view - it is a failure at the moment.
Absolutely no idea whether Vita makes money for Sony, and if they consider it a success. But, I am 90% sure that what they have spent in R&D, manufacturing, marketing of Vita is less what they have earned. Amazon already sells vita for £179 and if you pay £15 extra you get a game + 4GiB memory card (somehow I just can't believe that this is profitable for Sony).

I agree that both your and our views are backed by many assumptions, but, again, the opinion that Vita is a failure has more factual backing.

Just out of curiosity, have you played iOS games? I can't comprehend why you like Stardrone which is touch-only controlled, would have been much better on iPad (where player would be able to see further ahead due to larger screen). But there are better games on iPad. The latest issue of Edge magazine reviews "Frobisher Says" (a title published by SCEE, which means it was handpicked and funded by Sony) on the same page with two iOS titles. The latter get better scores. Having played all three games, I agree. Think about it: iOS downloadable titles are better than Vita downloadable titles. Game over.



isnchz said:

> that an entire platform is going to fail because its indie development platform runs C#. I actually think your "arguments for failure" are pretty weak.

This is just one point. And it says that Vita indie scene has gloom prospects.
Why? Because indie developers are developing mostly for iOS at the moment. Why? Because of the install base that dwarves Vita.
Why would they develop for Vita if that requires creating your games from scratch? Name at least one reason.



NathanUC said:

I don't agree with many of the people saying that iOS games are better than Vita games. There are a couple of Vita games that might work on Android/iOS but a MAJORITY of the games released on Vita could not be played on those devices at all. I'm not hating on the iOS or Android community, but name an action game as deep and well made as Uncharted: Golden Abyss or a fighting game as good as Mortal Kombat. Those are just a couple examples of MANY. If you just want to play a game for a couple of minutes while on the can, sure, Android or iOS might be a better choice but I don't think that is what Sony is aiming for. Vita is designed for console quality games you can take on the go.
A lot are using iOS as an example but what about Android? Most games that you have to pay for on the iOS platform are free on Android.. does that mean Apple is wrong to charge more? In my opinion, I have yet to play a mobile game that is worth paying for as most feel like nothing more than a ten minute flash game. You wouldn't pay $1.99 for a flash game, but you would on iOS?

TL;DR: iOS/Android and Vita are two completely different devices made for different purposes. Games are a bi-product of the mobile phone market. Those devices were not designed for gaming (as the lack of buttons clearly shows) but Vita was made as a GAMING device for gamers. Sure, games cost more, but for the extra cost you receive quality and a superior experience. MOST Vita games should be compared to PS3/Xbox 360 games and not iOS games so arguing price of the two is silly.



isnchz said:

@nathanuc1988 I am comparing downloadable (cheaper) Vita games only with iOS. I agree that titles that require physical buttons will be playable on Vita much better than on iOS. Although, this is true about PSP too. Uncharted could have been made for PSP (Peace Walker/God of War look gorgeous and play well).

Yes, iOS and Vita are totally different platforms. But they both compete for the same indie developers. It's obvious which platform wins here. Why is Team Meat doing Super Meatboy for iOS and not Vita?
I think Sony is trying to lure indie developers - otherwise why did they create PS Suite?

Now, since there will be no indies only large publishers will create games for Vita then, right? But for some reason they haven't made huge profits on PSP (I'm speculating here, but it's a fact that PSP didn't have huge 3rd party support outside of Japan). Why would they act differently in Vita's case?



Slapshot said:

@isnchz I don't want to come off as being a bit off, but the majority of your facts, well, I hate to break it to you, but you've been fooled by the negative slam journalism that plagues the industry today, and most of what you're claiming as facts... aren't.

The facts are this:

  • Sony is extremely loyal to the indie developers, so much so that they will even fund their projects, and publish their games — without claiming ownership to their IP's. This program even allows them to turn around and sell their games on other platforms if they so desire to do so. This is called their Pubfund which you can read about here. Major PSN Indie titles: Joe Danger, Journey, Papo and Yo and PixelJunk Sidescroller have all taken advantage of this amazing program. One of these, Joe Danger, is even now available on the Xbox 360's XBLA Marketplace, and guess what? Sony funded the game.
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss is not even remotely possible of running in its current state on the PSP!
  • Team Meat sold their rights to Super Meat Boy to Microsoft (with an agreement to bring it to Nintendo's WiiWare service, but that didn't work out). Microsoft is well known to have strict limitations that restrain developers and Team Meat learned this the hard way with SMB. Because of the contract, the game will never land on a Sony platform... ever.
  • The PS Suite is yet another example of Sony allowing the indie market to cheaply and efficiently develop and publish games to their marketplace. Yes, it's there to lure in new developers, but this is nothing new from Sony. They've nearly always treated indie developers very well, with a few exceptions (e.g. Team Meat). This is why you've got indie titles like Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, The Pinball Arcade, Sumioni: Demon Arts and Super Stardust Delta already on Vita in the first few months after the system's release.
  • The race-to-the-bottom smartphone idustry is going to bust. You're already starting to see the realization of it if you dig around the internet (here). The average game on the iOS/Android market get <1000 downloads a year, which in turn brings in about $700 yearly. The game's cost well over that to develop, and that's why you see the same games, and their sequels shuffling around the App Market Charts daily. For the mass majority of developers, the App Markets are not profitable.
  • Sony's PSN, Microsoft's XBLA, Nintendo's eShop and PC Services like Steam, GOG, etc. are where the mass majority of indie developers are profitable. That is a fact.

Lastly, I can't for the life of me fathom how any Vita owner could call the system a failure, but that's just me.



JavierYHL said:

i just dun see vita dying with ff10,persona 4,gt,ss and cod...relax man...heard battlefield is coming to vita as well



get2sammyb said:

@isnchz The thing is: StarDrone really isn't that much more expensive than an iOS game, and Frobisher Says is free. I appreciate where you are coming from, but I think it's a bit of a moot point.



isnchz said:

@Slapshot all of your points are wrong.
I'll counter them one by one:

  • Pubfund. You are mixing two different things here: a) Pubfund means Sony paying money to developers when the game has passed International Product Assessment Stage 2 (= game is almost finished), and then Sony is recouping this from sales. This money paid to developers just before the release allow for marketing campaign. b) Super Stardust is published by Sony. If you'll take a closer look on PSN store you'll that SCEA/E is the seller of the game, whilst Joe Danger is being sold by Hello Games (Pubfund deal). Anyway, you can count Pubfund success stories with fingers of a hand of a veteran, who lost 2 fingers in combat. How many developers applied for Sony's help and got nothing? I presume Team Meat are not alone.
  • Uncharted not possible on PSP. Have you played God of War or MGS: Peace Walker? MGS is set in a forest environment, looks gorgeous, plays extremely well. Sure the graphics capabilities of PSP are less than that of Vita, but for me (and hundreds of millions other gamers who buy Nintendo consoles) gameplay is the king.
  • Team Meat not doing PSN port of Meat Boy. You used it out of context: originally I referred to them doing iOS game instead of PSN - choosing them probably was not the best idea to highlight my point, but I was trying to say that there are better cheaper downloadable titles on iOS than on Vita, and that there is no indication that this will change in favour of Vita, since developers prefer iOS.
  • Again, a vet can count them all with 4 fingers. By the way, stop using Super Stardust - it's been on PSN for ages, because Sony pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to developer in advance to make it. This isn't exactly an indie title - it's published by Sony. Regarding PS Suite: Sony is treating indie devs well? How about "minis" developers who for most part funded their development themselves (like it should be, like it happens on iOS), but now Sony wants them to throw away their code (C++) and start using PS Suite (C#)? Imagine Apple releasing a new SDK for iPhone 5 which is completely different from the previous and makes developers start from scratch? Apple wouldn't do that. Sony does.
  • Your last two bullet-points refer to the same matter pretty much: iOS is not profitable, whilst all other listed by you platforms are. If this is the case, why iOS has the largest number of developers and games? They are so keen on losing their money? This is like saying: farmers who sell milk to Supermarket A lose money, so go and buy milk in Supermarket B. Well, if Supermarket A has better milk and greater selection, I (as a consumer) will go there. All those people who need a reality check will go to Supermarket B.

I have PSP, it costs 3 times less than Vita, it offers better gaming experience than Vita. So, yes, to me (as a consumer) PSP is a success, while Vita is the opposite. But I am special consumer, who enjoys being an early adopter, thus I purchased Vita day one. Although, I can see why normal people are not queueing for it. You (not referring to Slapshot specifically, but to all who defend Vita like @JaverYHL), on the other hand, are delusioned by Sony's PR and all those great announcements. When all those great future titles come out for Vita and it will be a better value than PSP, then we'll talk. So far you are just speculating.



isnchz said:

You: Stardrone is really good (8/10), go get it!
Me: Hm, this is a mediocre iOS title, that wouldn't have even made to "New and Noteworthy" section on Appstore, considering that it would have played better on iPad. And it's not just me - guys from Edge think the same.
You: Well, but it's just 5 times more expensive than a (good!) iOS game. This is open to debate.

Sorry, I can't see what is left here to discuss.



isnchz said:

Oh, forgot Frobisher. Yes, it's free, thus I tried it and it's crap. But Sony spent (= lost) money on it. Just one in a series of great business decisions by Sony.



isnchz said:

I've just realised that some of my comments might be too harsh, thus I'd like to compensate for them with kind words.
@get2sammyb You've done a really good job as a journalist with this article converting a passive reader like me to an avid commentator. It was too controversial for me not to comment on. Thanks for that.



NathanUC said:

@isnchz Just touching on a couple points briefly.
You say games like Uncharted could have been played on the PSP? Absolutely not. Yes, Peace Walker was on PSP but the controls were annoying and took to long to get used to. Overall, the lack of a right joystick hurt the game for many people. Would anyone argue that playing a game like peace walker with one joystick is better than two? They'd be crazy. The graphics on those games simply cannot compare to those on the Vita... there is no way to argue otherwise. Even though graphics shouldn't be the main focus on a game, it helps improve the experience.
I don't feel like getting into the indie dev argument as I feel @slapshop laid out a more compelling argument than I can, but for me, I'm not interested in those quick 1 hour mobile games. I bought my Vita to play "REAL" games without being tethered to a couch. I purchased Stardrone just because it was cheap and I was bored.. in the end I didn't care for it much because I felt it didn't suit the Vita's hardware. With that being said, I also would not play a game like that on my Droid Bionic because those styled games just aren't "fun" for me. (With the exception of DrawSomething)
For the money, I will agree that the PSP is a 'better buy' if you aren't thinking long term. The thing is, this is the case EVERY TIME a new system is released. The idea is the hardware you purchase will grow over time while the other dies out.

(sorry for typing errors, I just woke up)



JavierYHL said:

yup psp is great !!! i have 3 limited edition ones ff7,dissidia 1 and 2 sadly though does not help much in pushing psp sales closer to many great jrpg not in english,i miss them all...



Supereor said:

Just wanted to lay something down, the reason the 3DS is getting more sales than PlayStation Vita is probably because Nintendo has great, trusted gaming franchises as a full-fledged gaming company, whereas Sony is so many things; if it's technology, Sony probably has a product of it. What would you buy handheld from, a family-friendly, dependable, and fun gaming company, or an "unreliable" company with easily breakable products?



Gemuarto said:

@isnchz I can tell you about that loss just one thing =). Start of new product always consumes money, especially, when we are talking about Sony. I believe i 've heard about Nintendo having problems with money too, because of the 3DS start.

I bought Vita, because i enjoyed PSP very much. And i am waiting the same from Vita. And i must say, that Vita is already far better than was PSP at 5 month age. I mean, i was hoping for title like Gravuty Daze on PSP, and it's still not here. And Luminies on Vita is 500% better than on PSP =). Vita is perfect and complete version of PSP from my point of view. And it wiil be a hit if Sony will support this little piece of hardware perfection with a lot of cool games which it deserves.



Slapshot said:

@isnchz You're obviously going to justify and argue you're points by picking and choosing bits and pieces of what i previously stated, because yet again, I can show you where you're wrong, as I obviously quickly summarized the above comments. So, I'm going to respectfully agree to disagree with you and leave it at that. I'm an avid Apple fan, with multiple iPhone's and iPad's in my home (actually just pulled another iPad 2 out of the box/shrink wrapping mere minutes ago), but I've also owned every single major console and handheld system that's released in the last 15 years, as well as being a big indie supporter via PC. You're trying to prove your points to the wrong person mate. There's a reason I write for the site here.

@LittleBigVita Nintendo's first party game's can single handed support their consoles. Sony has great game's, but they don't have anything that is solely capable of supporting an entire console, with the exception of possibly Gran Turismo. Sony relies on a large amount of varied first and third party titles to make their consoles profitable, and for me, that's the reason I've found so much enjoyment from them... variety.



isnchz said:

There might be a reason why you write for the site, but you are clearly ill-informed (stating that Playstation division is profitable) and your arguments don't stand scrutiny (e.g. iOS is a platform of choice for indies not because Apple runs Pubfund).



Slapshot said:

@isnchz The PlayStation brand profited over $400m in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. That's a massive increase from the 2009-2010 loss of 1.1 billion, proving that they've turned the brand around.

On the subject of indie gaming, I'm really curious to see how Republique turns out. If you don't know, it's an indie title that was funded on Kickstarter by Camouflaj, and its goal is to bring a true home console worthy cinematic action title to iOS devices. Late in the funding process, it did garner PC support, with resulted in the project being funded, but if anyone can pull it off, it'll be these guys. They've got some big names in the company. I'm betting it will land on Vita and Wii U too!



get2sammyb said:

@isnchz Does "not making the new and noteworthy section of the iOS store" really make a game bad? Honestly? There's a lot of content on the App Store — and naturally only the very best stuff floats to the top. I don't think StarDrone is of that calibre — but I do think it's a good game. It suits the platform and is well priced.

Obviously we disagree, and that's fine. What is your opinion of Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack?



symon12345 said:

I personally haven't picked up my Vita in a few weeks, its been sat on my TV stand gathering dust, the main reason for this, like many other casual gamers out there, is the lack of a First Person Shooter available on the console, i reckon once R:BS & CoD are released for the Vita sales will go through the roof, it's all about what the consumers want and obviously, from previous statistics, FPS's are what people play the most.

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