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Drinkbox: People Don't Understand the Purchasing Power of PS Vita Owners

Posted by Sammy Barker

Portable powerhouse

It’s true that the PlayStation Vita is struggling outside of Japan. In a post-smartphone world, the handheld has found it difficult to match the hardware sales expectations put upon it, and it’s become an afterthought for most major publishers as a result. Despite this, though, the system remains a haven for indie outfits and smaller developers – and that, according to Drinkbox Studios gaffer Chris McQuinn, is because the handheld has an outrageous software attach rate.

“Honestly, Vita owners are the best,” the Mutant Blobs Attack maker told Games Industry.biz. “People rag on the Vita so much, and I think that people who rag on the Vita don't understand, at least from a business perspective, the purchasing power of Vita owners. Vita owners are serious purchasers of games. It's an amazing system.” The comments mimic the platform holder’s own, in which it stressed that the average developer makes more money on the portable than on iOS and Android.

“The split in sales for Guacamelee between the Vita and the PS3 wasn't quite even, but it wasn't far off," McQuinn continued. "I think that speaks to the strength of the Vita as a console to sell your game on, because there are so many more PS3s than Vitas. For us, the sales on the Vita were really, really strong. It was a great system for us.” To highlight the install base discrepancy, Sony’s signature handheld sits at an estimated 5 million units, while its former flagship home console recently surpassed 80 million units.

According to McQuinn, the Vita’s perception problem comes down to hardware sales rather than software numbers – a flawed perspective. “If people don't see the Vita doing the same number of sales as the 3DS, then it's automatically a failure,” he said. “I think what people fail to understand is the purchasers of Vitas are very, very engaged game consumers. For them, the attach rate with games is very high. There might not be a lot of Vitas out there, but the people who do own Vitas are very serious consumers; they buy a lot of games.”

But does that mean that its recently announced touchscreen title Severed will be coming to the console? Well, the developer’s certainly a bit wary of mobile right now. "For us, I think that we're still going to be a bit hesitant about that market until we can see the market to be a bit safer with regards to you making a good game, putting it out, and people buying it," McQuinn said. "I feel that if you put out a really good game on the Vita, people will buy it. So until we see that stabilise a bit, we'll probably be a bit hesitant."

That sounds like a ‘yes’ to us...

[via gamesindustry.biz]

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User Comments (24)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

He's right! I appreciate I'm probably an edge case, but I'd estimate that I own around 100 Vita games.

k_andersenStaff

#2

k_andersen said:

Yeah, I agree entirely. When it comes to indie games, my mantra has essentially become - "I'll just wait till it releases on Vita!" For some reason, I just really love playing games on that thing.

fchinaski

#6

fchinaski said:

I have my VITA since last Christmas and already have 14 digital-only games and only one physical (Gravity Rush). Most of the digital games I got on seasonal sales, which coupled with PS+ give me insane discounts. So in less than 5 months I bought 15 games, or 3 games per month, and plan to get Retrocity Rampage, TxK and OlliOlli on Easter sales — so I reckon he's got a point.

MadchesterManc

#7

MadchesterManc said:

Keep the niche eastern titles coming. I could honestly roll around the floor with glee at the prospect of all the Moe coming to Vita this year. Ive bought way more games for the Vita than I have my 3DS due to its growing library. Its also good to see Vita ports of Indie titles that seem to get announced for Ps4 too

divinelite

#8

divinelite said:

I have more than 100 games for vita, and now confused what to play first. Ffx will clog me more than 100hours and games in april n may keep coming...

MoleZandor

#9

MoleZandor said:

Love my Vita, I bought it to Develop games for Playstation Mobile not to actually play on. But now I have two memory cards full of games and play on it most days.

Gemuarto

#10

Gemuarto said:

I think I didn't buy any games for Vita this year, thanks to PS4, it took a lot of my game's budget and time. And now I am playing Destiny of Spirits for free =)))... And I have some backlog on PS+ and need to finish off some games like Persona 4, for example..... LOL. And funny thing is, almost every game I bought on PSV appeared on PS+ =))). so, I decided to wait untill PS+ or some tasty sales before buying anything for Vita. I even didn't bought Tearaway and Ys =). And Ys was the reason I bought Vita at the first place =). But I'll buy them in the future. tearaway for 10$ and Ys for 20$ =))). I can buy them now for that money from fellow gamers, but I prefere digital, so....

thedevilsjester

#11

thedevilsjester said:

I bought a launch vita and I have only bought 3 games so far (and those were used and dirt cheap). I guess I am the other side of the equation. I have zero desire to buy any Vita specific games. I love cross buy (with shared trophies) and I enjoy some PS+ freebies now and then, but I doubt I will ever buy a Vita game.

Farmboy74

#12

Farmboy74 said:

I've just checked my PSN account, I can't believe I have brought / downloaded or added 15 Vita games to my account since I brought my Vita at Christmas, thanks to bargain seasonal sales and PS+. Add to my old PSP digital collection and that's 30 games in total. Looking like its time to buy that 64GB memory card.
Unlike my PS4 & Wii U collection all my Vita games are digital where on these two consoles they are mainly disc based software.

charlesnarles

#13

charlesnarles said:

I "waste" lots of money on Vita games that end up being free through Plus, which is obnoxious, but I'm all for supporting the artists. The Vita store's design makes it almost too easy to spend money; it's an instant gratification device you take with you everywhere. If we get some solid sequels to PSP blockbusters, then I'll be in heaven. (Remember the rumors of Oblivion Vita ports? Lawl)

AVahne

#14

AVahne said:

I only just got my Vita 2 months ago, but I already own 7 retail games for it (digitally and physically) and that number is only going to grow and grow. I CURRENTLY have only 9 retail games for 3DS over the span of 3 years. I may have had more 3DS games before, but I traded at least 5 games in already.
Now unlike 3DS, I don't think I'll want to trade in ANY of my Vita (well, I MIGHT trade in AC3L after beating it....maybe), because they're all just that good.

BornOfEvil

#16

BornOfEvil said:

3rd party support has been on the rise lately, especially when you look at the list of localizations that the Vita is getting.

bbq_boy

#17

bbq_boy said:

Each month my vita library grows by 3-4 games! It's ludicrous! I get at least 2 free vita games on psn and lately Sony's given an Easter sale, earth defense with mates is frigging hilarious - more laughs than MH imo. Backlog is 20 digital games and 8 physical since I owned it 4 months ago. And there's still around 70 odd games I still want to own thanks to psn store - the ps one, psp and ps vita!! And with still more coming soon I'm gonna be so poor.... but happy gaming dayz! !

JaxonH

#18

JaxonH said:

Dang right I'm a serious gamer with purchasing power.

Vita: 28 physical games + countless digital
Wii U: 34 physical games + countless digital

The two lowest selling gaming devices, and I've amassed almost 70 physical releases between the two. Tell me again why commercial success matters to gamers? Cause from where I'm standing, the "failure" consoles are providing me with all the best experiences. In fact, I dare say those two under-performing gaming devices are my two favorite consoles I've ever owned. Goes to show, popularity don't mean jack (much love for the PS4 and 3DS though)

JaxonH

#19

JaxonH said:

@Farmboy74

I heard that. I just bought a 32GB card and I'm already starting to think I should've gone for the 64GB. I have a 500GB external for my Wii U, and while I've got at least a year or two before having to upgrade my PS4 HDD, that 32GB on my Vita is filling up QUICK. Especially when you have the entire Final Fantasy PSone/PSP backlog at your fingertips (I just bought another 2 last night- Tactics War of the Lions and FF7).

Zombie_Barioth

#20

Zombie_Barioth said:

@JaxonH
For us its all about support, the rest boils down to executives that have no idea how this industry works. Maybe if all you play are giant AAA blockbusters you'll have a problem, since thats where the "has no games" argument comes from, but the only reason the likes of the Wii U and Vita are "failed" consoles is they don't rake in money. They still have lots to improve of course, but they're by no means bad. A lot of the big companies could learn a thing or two from guys like Chris McQuinn.

JaxonH

#21

JaxonH said:

@Zombie_Barioth

The thing is, if you buy a console for multiplats, PS4 is the obvious choice due to it's superior hardware and specs. However, I would think people would be smart enough to understand you don't buy a Vita for multiplats. If you want multiplats, PS4 is where it's at. Vita is for exclusive games and handheld play (I prefer RPGs like Final Fantasy on handhelds). I bought a Vita for the separate library it will attain over time, which is why I'm more excited for games like Freedom Wars than ports of Borderlands 2 (although I will still be buying it).

Same for Wii U. No one buys a Wii U for multiplats. You buy a Wii U for the exclusives. Most are 1st party, but the 3rd party exclusives that DO manage to come to the system are usually right on par with Nintendo's own games- like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Bayonetta 2, and Sonic Boom. You buy a Wii U for the separate library it offers, not for mainstream titles.

As for improvement, all consoles have a lot to improve, but really tbh, Vita and Wii U are viable, legit consoles. Solid online for both (and FREE for both), unique features and capabilities, and exclusive game libraries. Some gamers might have an acquired tasted to just the games Vita offers, or just the games Wii U offers, while others enjoy them as a compliment to their other consoles (those who like mainstream games, but want more diversity than is offered through one console alone). The epic fail comes into play when people label these consoles as something they're not- labeling them as gaming devices designed for mainstream games, which couldn't be farther from the truth.

Zodiak13

#22

Zodiak13 said:

I enjoy what few games I want for the Vita. It is a sleek, powerful handheld. I just bought Conception II, and own Dragon's Crown and Y's Mark of Celceta. No other games I want for it but I am sure some new stuff will come down the pike.

Zombie_Barioth

#23

Zombie_Barioth said:

@JaxonH
Thats exactly how it is, the funny thing is most people don't actually want both. Most people who would opt for the multiplats first wouldn't buy games like Freedom Wars or MH3U anyway. The opposite is much more likely. Big IP like Mario and Zelda are the only ones they'd care about.

The only thing these consoles "fail" at is not out-selling their predecessors. No way but up is the name of the game unfortunately.

Bad-MuthaAdebisi

#24

Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

I've only had mine since October and I've purchased 2 or 3 games a month on average, way more than I ever did on ps3.

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