We gamers love to game, and we love new innovations that keep the market fresh and new. When the commitment is made by a company to a new console, hundreds of hours go into the development, marketing, and production of the newest offering from the company at hand. Even the seasoned companies in the console race have profit losses throughout the process; almost every company sells the console when first launched at a cost to consumers that is well below the cost of development. It doesn’t matter whether it’s portable or the latest living room technology, the monetary commitment that is made by the production company is insurmountable .
Early on it becomes about convincing the public to purchase or pledge their allegiance to their specific company. In doing so, the task proves more difficult with a portable console than a home. Let’s face it, now a days home game consoles are more than a gaming rig. They are entertainment hubs for everything from games to movies to music. They become a part of people’s everyday interaction when it comes to some much needed R and R; a much easier pitch to make when it comes to convincing those individuals to surrender their hard earned dollars for something that everyone in the family can find enjoyment from.
Portables, on the other hand, are a much bigger “niche” market. They are dependent on those that truly enjoy gaming to survive. Though many of them now do an excellent job of providing consumers with other opportunities for apps like home consoles enjoy, they don’t have the options to access them unless you have Wi-Fi ability. There are some that will purchase them to enjoy things like Netflix, among other things on, but mainly they are gaming machines. Gamers want something that allows them to enjoy games like they do at home, otherwise they would simply use their cellular devices. Many of them do choose cell phones as their mobile platform with the advancements that have been made in that form of gaming. Hence the reason they can be a tricky pitch to a market that includes more than just gamers, and can be tricky to pitch to gamers due to cell phones.
As a gamer who plays on a home console, owns a portable, and has a cell phone that rivals the best on the market today, I can tell you there is nothing that takes the place of a console. No matter how good the games on phones look. When the Vita came along from Sony, it was clear it was what gamers had been asking for from a portable system. It provided an adequate and stunningly beautiful OLED screen, two analog joysticks for shooters, which had never been done on a portable, and all the buttons of a normal controller except for the triggers. That’s not even mentioning the fact that it provided enough power to rival even the PlayStation 3 in terms of graphics. An easy sell right?
Well that isn’t the worlds most accurate statement when it comes to the Vita. Actually it’s anything but accurate. The Vita has had anything but an easy road since its introduction to the market. In fact, the Vita is only slated to sell 7 Million units by the end of the fiscal year as of March 31, 2013. The sad part of that too, is that Sony includes the PSP as part of those expectations, and that is also a drop from the initial projects on 16 Million when the console first launched. The biggest question every person asked when the system released, was aside the initial launch titles, what did Sony have planned for the Vita? Unfortunately, we are still awaiting those answers.
A system with the capabilities of the Vita should not struggle so bad to find a market, the market should be clamoring for the system. After all, a system such as it has been highly requested for a number of years. So again, we ask why, why does this system after a year on the market still have no footing? The system of our dreams can simply be built up or destroyed by only one thing and its not the fault of consumers, third party developers, or anything else other than its creator. Sony has single-handedly destroyed any shot that the Vita had to this point to make a formidable opponent to the Nintendo 3DS.
This past week Sony even admitted to the fact that they have done a poor job of marketing such a system, saying through Masaru Kato (Sony’s Chief Financial Officer and EVP): “Now one thing clear for us that in terms of profitability, we have to do a better job in promoting the PlayStation Vita mobile product. How do we do that? Well, gaming business software is the name of the game. So as a fundamental measure, we are putting all – a lot of resources, not just first party, but also asking third parties to put out more attractive software.”
A young console early in its life cycle is much like a newborn bird. The most important contribution from the parent, or in this case producing company, is to provide the infant system is with the tools needed to be successful and take flight. If the baby bird, or the system in this case, is left to fend for itself it will be a mere amount of time before the system tanks and succumbs to its ultimate demise. Its a sad truth, but Sony is the neglectful parent, although the Vita isn’t much different from any other of its offspring. All of Sony’s “children” have been cared for terribly when it comes to launching a successful advertising campaign to help the system along and bring life to the system at the most crucial time.
Sony doesn’t deserve the Vita honestly. It seems as though they have tried everything to kill the system and its appeal to gamers rather than pitch it to be purchased. There has been a severe lack of games. Aside from Uncharted, Little Big Planet, and Assassin’s Creed III Liberation, there have been zero games that are anything more than a port, that are decent titles. Sure some games, such as the MLB series, Sly Cooper, and Persona 4 Golden, have seen great releases hit the portable system, but there are none in that list that can’t be had on a home console. This is the same system that saw one of Sony’s premier series, Resistance, get an exclusive game to the series that was a poorly done, and sent the series out on a sad note. Sony even choose to send Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified to the same studio that released Resistance Burning Skies, and pushed the title out in 6 months. Not one person even saw screenshots or even knew that the game existed until it was a couple of months away. After checking it out, it would have been better left out of the Vita line up all together. If you can’t even do a decent version of the highest played multiplayer game in the world, there is something definitely wrong. The Vita is too good of a system to let it sit in waste.
The PlayStation Vita has 3 games set for this next year that will be exclusive titles to the system in Killzone Mercenaries, Tearaway, and Soul Sacrifice announced as of now, and even other ports from other consoles haven’t been confirmed. This is a system that should be seeing simultaneous releases with just about every game out there, isn’t even able to get a few of the crappy ones. You can’t blame the Third-Party Developers in this case because if you are sinking millions into a game, are you going to want to spend more to port that game to a system that has no user base? I think not. Sony is the only one to blame; they don’t support their own system with games or even attempt to pitch to companies as to why they should want to make games for it. At least pitch to us, the consumers, as to why we should want it, at least try.
In a poll from Famitsu of Japanese consumers it was shown that the people want the Vita more than any other system. In fact, in the home country of Sony, portables are by far the most popular systems of the region; why then have sales been so poor? Even in a country that supports its home grown developers better than any, Nintendo and Sony, the system still struggles to gain any sort of ground. If you can’t find a way to sell a system to a market that thrives on portables, you’ll never sell it anywhere.
Sony as a company is struggling and on the verge of a potential release of a new PlayStation home console, which is scary to think of a third system that requires support. They can’t even support the two they have now and draw people to them. Sure, the PlayStation 3 has found its base and sold well, but in the beginning it didn’t. Sony needs to do something with the Vita after last weeks comments, something drastic to bring both developers and gamers to the best portable that no one owns. As I said, Sony doesn’t deserve the Vita, just like a neglectful mother doesn’t deserve its baby. Please Sony, don’t let the Vita become another statistic, step up to the plate, help and teach this very capable little bird to fly.