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Activision: PlayStation Vita Faces Challenges in Mobile Market

Posted by Sammy Barker

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Despite boasting a growing catalogue of outstanding exclusives, the PlayStation Vita hasn’t quite achieved the commercial success that many of us expected yet. The device is performing particularly poorly in Japan, where it can’t seem to get a foothold – but it’s not exactly setting the sales charts alight overseas either.

Activision’s vice president of mobile development Greg Canessa believes that the system's struggles are due to the lingering threat of mobile and tablet devices. “There’s no doubt that the [dedicated portable] space faces challenges,” he told CVG. “[Handhelds] are more directly competitive with what’s going on in the tablet and mobile space and there’s a lot more overlap there, to be honest.”

Canessa continued that “great” gaming experiences can be purchased for a few dollars or less on a tablet, while Vita games cost upwards of $40. That’s obviously discrediting the wealth of digital-only titles available for the handheld, but we understand the executive’s point.

"Our relationships with Sony and Nintendo are important and we continue to support them by creating games on both [Vita and 3DS] platforms,” he added. “Beyond that the market's going to speak ultimately as to the viability of those products."

In the meantime, perhaps the publisher should consider practicing what it’s preaching. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified would be a fine game for $20 or less, but it’s difficult to recommend at full price. As far as we're concerned, that's the problem.


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User Comments (12)



kivi95 said:

Maybe Activision should support it with a good game instead of a junk game? They should just port the next cod to the psvita instead of making an exklusive cod game.



fullyilly said:

The game prices are the big issue. For example, £40 for Assassins Creed, or £43 for the full PS3 version...there is no comparison as to which the consumer will choose. The system needs quality exclusives and possibly new IP's with a damn strong marketing budget. Realistically though, the Vita is dying fast and dev's don't want to risk financial failure at this turbulent mid-gen point, so nobody's going to make a big gamble on a quality Vita title.

I love this little console, but I know it's days are numbered.



get2sammyb said:

@fullyilly I personally think that's a bit strong. I appreciate that there are a real lack of "big" retail releases on the horizon, but it feels like new downloadable games are being announced all of the time.

One major problem — as I see it — is that people clearly want big-budget console titles, but they're not willing to pay console prices for them. And that's a huge problem.



BekBlayton said:

I think they need to do more for the download only digi titles... Loads of great things there but people never see them! Would it kill them to do a run of adverts with some of the smaller games... A kind of not only... But also... Advert thing?



JavierYHL said:

well activision should show their support like they said by making a AAA COD with their in house developers...that would move bucket loads of vita i m sure...



Galvatron said:

In my opinion, the initial statement and a couple of comments here are, respectfully, misjudged.

Firstly, this is Activision's VP of mobile development, so for me it's not an altogether neutral stance.

Secondly, a VP - irrespective of gaming division - should know better than jump on the laziest of bandwagon's by comparing Playstation Vita to a tablet or smartphone. That is the type of misconception which is mischief making; the preserve of the ignorant.

As an owner of a PS3, a tablet AND a smartphone, I am completely bemused how long people will keep this comparison going. The fundamental difference with mobile gaming and Vita is in control.

Should anyone disagree, that is of course your prerogative and I respect that. After you've played N.O.V.A on IPhone and then Call of Duty on Vita. Both flawed in many ways, but ask the hardcore FPS fan which is the more instinctive and accurate?

Sony doesn't give up on it's hardware easily. PS3 had a similarly troublesome first year; whilst I loved Evolution Studio's Motorstorm, Resistance felt like a poor man's Halo. Yet the acquisition of studios and their continued development of first party releases, plus third party support, guaranteed a quick turnaround.

The Vita won't replicate that, obviously, but those who keep insisting on penning the Vita's epitaph clearly haven't really played the likes of Gravity Rush, Sine Mora, Most Wanted, Wipeout 2048 - or simply underestimate the clout Sony possess in future support to a machine which may well partner PS4 in tandem with Gaikai.

Next year sees Soul Sacrifice, Dead or Alive, Urban Trials, Killzone: Mercenary, Bioshock, and no doubt many more yet to be confirmed.

Now envisage playing those titles on an a tablet device and tell me the precise analogue controls and graphical horsepower makes no difference

As for cost; would I rather spend £40 on Call of Duty on PS3 or Vita? PS3.

However, whether you can actually PLAY the likes of a FPS, driving game or Assassin's Creed: Liberation on a tablet / smartphone device without contorting your hands like an extra from the Walking another matter



Gemuarto said:

I want to play something like Infinity Bade on Vita =).....And was eager to play Ruin.



Janne94 said:

Yeah I don't think Sony will stay in the gaming market that much longer unless they make some drastic changes.



get2sammyb said:

@MrNiceGuy That's definitely a knee-jerk reaction. Vita isn't do brilliantly, but the PlayStation division as a whole is fine. Better than fine, in fact.



Paranoimia said:

I'm one of those who actually does want full console games on Vita, and I'm just as happy to pay £40 (or realistically, £30-odd buying online) for a Vita title as I am for a PS3 title... if it's good enough.

For me, a 'fair' price is all about the game, not the platform. Golden Abyss, for example - well worth the money; why should it cost £20 or less because it's on a portable system? It's a full-blown Uncharted game, longer and with more content than the original PS3 title. Hopefully the Killzone game will do similar, and I'll be happy to pay £30-£40 for it.



rjejr said:

"Classified information" - I'm going to teach my kids to say this instead of "obviously" or "duh". Fortunately they don't say " No sugar, Sherlock" yet.

@Galvatron - "Sony doesn't give up on it's hardware easily."

How's the PSPgo doing?

Nintendo is rumoured to be dropping the 3DS to $129 and the 3DS XL to $159.

If the Vita somehow survives long enough that there is a "2", or at least a redesign, I hope they add micro-SD support and advertise the thing as a gaming platform and a tablet. Most people this holiday are looking at either a Wii U, PS3 or Xbox360 for their gaming needs or an iPad or Kindle Fire for their tablet portable electronic needs. Nobody is looking for a $250 portable gaming specific device.

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