Sony: Mobile Market "Climate" to Blame For Vita Failure

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Sony: Mobile Market "Climate" to Blame For Vita Failure

PlayStation Vita

SCE Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida thinks that smartphones have transformed the mobile market into a place less than friendly for premium portables like the Vita.

Back when Sony first unveiled the PlayStation Vita, it wasn't hard to understand why it thought the handheld was a good idea. Despite coming in second place to Nintendo's DS, the PSP still managed to sell more than 80 million units worldwide, proving that Nintendo wasn't the only company that could hold its own in the portables market. Sadly, the Vita's fortunes wound up being far less positive. After nearly four years on the market, it's barely sold 5 million units, a tiny fraction of what its predecessor managed during its lifespan. Its performance has left many questioning whether or not it would be Sony's last handheld console. According to comments from SCE Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida, the answer is most likely yes.

Speaking during a Q&A session at the recent EGX conference, Yoshida stated that trends in the mobile market could make it difficult for portables like the Vita to be viable in the future. While he affirmed that he's "a huge fan of PlayStation Vita," he claimed that the mobile market's current "climate" isn't one that's friendly to devices like the Vita. "People have mobile phones and it's so easy to play games on smartphones," he said. "And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start... The climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming."

Speaking personally as someone who really enjoys their Vita, I can see Yoshida's point to an extent. There's no denying that mobile games have usurped a sizable chunk of the portable gaming market. Even Nintendo's more successful 3DS has arguably been affected by this. That said, one could also make the case that Sony kind of did a terrible job of making the Vita an attractive purchase. It was poorly marketed (in the United States, at least), has received lackluster software support (even from Sony itself), and still relies on proprietary memory cards that add a significant chunk of change to its initial price tag. Put succinctly, if you even know what a Vita is, there are a lot of negatives to convince you not to buy one. What do you all think? Do you own a Vita and, more importantly, do you think this should Sony's final handheld?

Source: Eurogamer

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No, the biggest things to damage the vita were poor marketing, high price, extorionate proprietary storage, piss poor first party support and a general apathy towards the product from Sony.

It's a solid system but all I really play on it are indies and PSP titles, I've played maybe 3 actual vita games, which were really good and very impressive, but4, they fucked up, the market has it's difficulties but the Vita failure is entirely on Sony's back.

I think it should be their final handheld because they suppoprted this one so badly that it's almost definately killed what market there was and Nintendo is very strong in the market now, though the 3DS is affected by the mobile market it's still incredibly successful and has a great library.

The White Hunter:
No, the biggest things to damage the vita were poor marketing, high price, extorionate proprietary storage, piss poor first party support and a general apathy towards the product from Sony.

It's a solid system but all I really play on it are indies and PSP titles, I've played maybe 3 actual vita games, which were really good and very impressive, but4, they fucked up, the market has it's difficulties but the Vita failure is entirely on Sony's back.

I think it should be their final handheld because they suppoprted this one so badly that it's almost definately killed what market there was and Nintendo is very strong in the market now, though the 3DS is affected by the mobile market it's still incredibly successful and has a great library.

Beat me to it.

It also doesn't help that it is more difficult to develop for. I mean, you can make a game that's mechanically better than anything on the 3DS, but why put in that much time, money, and effort when you could develop something for the 3DS?

So that means that first-party support is vital, and Sony fell flat on their face in this regard. To this day, the best games for the system are freaking PORTS.

Did Sony just think all of the Vita's problems would solve themselves?

Apart from the problems specific to the Vita itself, who wants to carry around dedicated single-use hardware when they've already got a good general-purpose device? Maybe Sony should look into designing a high quality Android smartphone that is more comfortable for relatively long gaming sessions than ones currently on the market, and develop games for that.

I bought my Vita at launch, and I really liked it. Still do, although I admit I haven't used it in months. I mean what is there to play there?

I agree with White Hunter above, the blame is squarely on Sony for this one. Nintendo manages to keep a specialty gaming product viable in the market and there's no reason Sony could not have done the same. But as is Sony's way, they never took the initiative to populate it's library with must-play games. A few killer apps could have made all the difference.

But whatever. It was a fun little handheld for a while. And portable Katamari remains one of my favorite versions of that series. I hope Sony leaves the mobile market to the people who care about it at Nintendo. If they aren't interested in making the games, they shouldn't offer the machine.

Or we can see this argument for what it actually is: Sony once again refusing to admit they screwed up and blaming it on others. It's like when the PS3 was a fiscal disaster and was burning through every cent they ever earned from the PS1 and PS2. Instead of just saying they flubbed they started pointing fingers at everyone else. It was just unprofessional and pathetic.

When you get down to it, Sony doesn't understand portable gaming at all. All you have to do is look at their first party offerings or how they allowed 3rd parties to do all the work for them. The only thing keeping the PSP alive was Monster Hunter and the second CAPCOM took that to Nintendo it was pretty much over for Sony's portable presence. They never even TRIED to support the Vita, they jsut expected everyone else to do the work for them and then watched as its collapsed. Not a great footnote in history for them.

I love my Vita. Only problem I have with it is a lack of games.

I think they could totally revitalize it by releasing some good games for it (even if its just bringing some Japan only stuff to the west), putting out some good marketing around it and maybe a new, cheaper version.

Basically they need to put some effort into it.

I prefer the simplicity of my Vita over my DS, I mean who wants to be bogged down with all these games? Sometimes there can be too much choice you know? every year or two when a new vita game comes out I'm like "Omg Sony calm the fuck down!"

When most of your library is ports or last gen titles, then it must be someone elses fault.

Im not even getting into the fact that alot of the games on the vita have huuuuge lag problems.

StewShearer:
SCE Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida thinks that smartphones have transformed the mobile market into a place less than friendly for premium portables like the Vita.

Holy shit, they only just realised this?

So, it had nothing to do with the fact that they never released the PS1 library they promised, no ported PS2 games, no major PSP games being ported over, games designed for it were sparse at best, marketing was next to nil, add on storage cards were outrageously priced, or that the touch controls often felt tacked on (though admittedly well implemented in some cases)?

It's all because of the mobile market making cheaper games that are often meant more as time sinks than anything else?

Whatever, Sony. I'll just sit here waiting for you to release Silent Hill or Kingdom Hearts BBS on the Vita while I try to skim through the massive library of 3DS games I haven't gotten to play yet.

Speaking as someone who's actively looking for a reason to buy a Vita, I can tell you that you are way off base, Yoshida. I love my Samsung Galaxy s5, but as a gamer, I don't see that many games that I'd pick up my phone to play. I want to play fighters. I want to play Borderlands. I want a grand experience, not something I'm just going to use in the bathroom.

If Value finds a way to make a portable system that can play all of my steam games, I'm literally going to buy five just in case they changed their minds and I could never get a hold of it again. If I can play Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, Left 4 dead 2, Grim Dawn, Payday 2 ANYWHERE without dragging my laptop along... I couldn't tell you of my happiness.

I look at the Vita line up and I am unhyped. I see a ton of Jrpgs which I lost my love way back in FF7. I see a lot of games I can get on steam. I see a lot of casual/indie games. And I see none of the things that I would want to play. You're Sony! You used to be the fighting game console! What fighters do you have on your system? The DS has Tekken. The DS has Street Fighter. The DS has Smash Bros. You both share DOA, but let me stress this mind blowing fact.

The DS... Is Beating you... in Name Brand Fighters.

For the love of Denjin, YOU HAVE STREET FIGHTER 3RD STRIKE. THE MOST BELOVED FIGHTER THERE IS. AND YOU MAKE NO PORT.

Your library just isn't up to snuffs for most people. Your memory system pissed people off from the get go. And you turn and point to the inferior mobile and say it's because we're all playing those.

I'm not. I can't get the gaming experience I want from a mobile device. And due to your company's decisions on what to put out for the Vita and how to screw us over with your nickel and diming us... I can't get that experience from you either.

infohippie:
Apart from the problems specific to the Vita itself, who wants to carry around dedicated single-use hardware when they've already got a good general-purpose device? Maybe Sony should look into designing a high quality Android smartphone that is more comfortable for relatively long gaming sessions than ones currently on the market, and develop games for that.

*raises hand*

I've tried gaming on Android. Can't stand it. Touch screens are piss poor interfaces for most kinds of gaming, and even if Sony were to design an Android based system with real controls, it still wouldn't matter since that's not standard, so no one else is going to design their games around a single Android device's anomalous control scheme.

Right now if I am traveling, I read visual novels on my Surface Pro 3. But if I wanted to do any actual gaming, I'd bring a dedicated handheld.

Two words: proprietry memory.

I would quite like one, got a huge list of free games from PS+ to play, but I am not buying something just to have to shell out another £60 immediately to make it usable.

I honestly cannot remember a single Vita title except for the Disgaea remake(s) that were originally on Playstation 3.

I'm not sure if that is because there were no good Vita games, or just the decent Vita games didn't get any decent marketing, but either way it does make me want to purchase the platform.

EDIT: I just looked through the entire North American Vita library and the only Vita exclusive that looks interesting to me is "Dynasty Warriors Next". It has quite a few good looking games, but they are all available on other platforms I already have.

StewShearer:
Sony: Mobile Market "Climate" to Blame For Vita Failure

zip zip zip

He didn't blame the climate for the failure of the Playstation Vita, when asked if they would be creating a successor to the Vita, he cited the current climate as making it unlikely that they would create a successor. Don't go putting words in people's mouths.

Also, the Playstation Vita sits at around 12 million units sold, not 4 million units.

Pretty sure the less than spectacular reception was in part due to failure of first party support.

Morti:
Two words: proprietry memory.

I would quite like one, got a huge list of free games from PS+ to play, but I am not buying something just to have to shell out another £60 immediately to make it usable.

Yep. This is it. If it had at least a decent internal storage to start with then it would be good.

I love my vita and play on it every day. It has a lot of interesting Japanese style games on it.

The other killer thing is that I can't find any games for it. It's not that the library doesn't exist. It's that I can't find stores that sell them. Even EB (GameStop) has a very limited selection. And then the nerve of Sony pulling shit like releasing MLB: The Show 15 in a retail box with a code and not saying on the package that you need 6GB to download it was atrocious. I have an imported 64GB card but I put that extra effort into hunting down one for $100 Canadian. But not everyone will be so committed.

SlumlordThanatos:

The White Hunter:
No, the biggest things to damage the vita were poor marketing, high price, extorionate proprietary storage, piss poor first party support and a general apathy towards the product from Sony.

It's a solid system but all I really play on it are indies and PSP titles, I've played maybe 3 actual vita games, which were really good and very impressive, but4, they fucked up, the market has it's difficulties but the Vita failure is entirely on Sony's back.

I think it should be their final handheld because they suppoprted this one so badly that it's almost definately killed what market there was and Nintendo is very strong in the market now, though the 3DS is affected by the mobile market it's still incredibly successful and has a great library.

Beat me to it.

It also doesn't help that it is more difficult to develop for. I mean, you can make a game that's mechanically better than anything on the 3DS, but why put in that much time, money, and effort when you could develop something for the 3DS?

So that means that first-party support is vital, and Sony fell flat on their face in this regard. To this day, the best games for the system are freaking PORTS.

Did Sony just think all of the Vita's problems would solve themselves?

I saw the quote for this thread. I expected fan rage. I got an intellectual response agreeing with me. Basically by not supporting it with solid first party titles after Golden Abyss and Killzone they killed incentive to buy and develop for the system, hence all the quick ports and not much else but kickstarted indies.

It could have done a lot better but alas, it was doomed from the off.

Well, what did you expect for trying to replace something already good?

The White Hunter:
No, the biggest things to damage the vita were poor marketing, high price, extorionate proprietary storage, piss poor first party support and a general apathy towards the product from Sony.

It's a solid system but all I really play on it are indies and PSP titles, I've played maybe 3 actual vita games, which were really good and very impressive, but4, they fucked up, the market has it's difficulties but the Vita failure is entirely on Sony's back.

I think it should be their final handheld because they suppoprted this one so badly that it's almost definately killed what market there was and Nintendo is very strong in the market now, though the 3DS is affected by the mobile market it's still incredibly successful and has a great library.

Bascially, yeah. I don't get why they even bothered with a handheld if they were going to just drag their feet the entire way.

The mobile market is certainly a factor, but this really is primarily on Sony. Which is a shame,because the Vita is a competent handheld. I just wish they didn't charge an arm, a leg, and your firstborn for storage.

Its all been said above really. I love my Vita. I actually like the system itself more than I like my 3DS but by the gods did they mess up with it. Also the whole proprietary memory thing is incredibly annoying. Its somewhat unfairly maligned as "having no games" which isn't exactly true, but most of the games available for it now are JRPGs and if you don't like those well...yeah.

I think it might also have suffered a little from exactly the same thing Nintendo did with the Wii U. There seems to be a bit of "well it seems to be exactly the same as their old console and its named nearly the same so is it just a slight upgrade?"

I dunno man, the 3DS is doing fine.

I haven't owned a Vita, but a bit of looking things up tells me that the battery was proprietary and not replaceable in the classic or the slim version? Others have pointed out the memory shortcomings, marketing etc, but to my mind the battery is something else that would have dissuaded me from buying a Vita. My current phone doesn't have a replaceable battery, but it seems to be lasting (2 years now) and I expect to replace it and not be too concerned about the games on it. I know replaceable batteries add weight, but I would want the nostalgia of being able to use a console many years later. If the battery dies, can a Vita be run solely from mains power?

I LOVED my PSVita when it first came out. The machine was powerful and had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, nearly all of the first-party titles were shit and a lot of the games that followed weren't much better. The Vita was doomed because Sony didn't seem to give two shits about it at the end of the day. You never saw any marketing for it and the game library was sparse even several years after it's launch.

Is it any wonder that Monster Hunter made the jump to Nintendo's 3DS?

I still own a fucking PSP... and no one has told me that the Vita makes a better MP3-esque music player than the PSP... Also, fuck having the Vita needing it's own special storage stick... The latter's the main reason why I would not buy a Vita pre-PSTV...

Other than that, if the Vita had Kingdom Hearts on it, I would have bought a Vita without any [major] complaints...

With all the changes in technology the last 10 years, it's hard to imagine why you would want/need a mobile gaming system, and well to be honest, I'm sure the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan sure didn't help either.

image

Yeah sure that's what caused it, nothing to do with the lack of real first party games, overpriced memory cards and terrible marketing...nah, smartphones are the cause!

I'm gonna go against the general flow of the thread here and say he's absolutely right. Were there mistakes made at launch? absolutely. Launching with a very minimal library of games and then delaying PSone classics for close to a year after launch were definitely a factor in ensuring that the vita would spend the beginning of it's life climbing out of a whole. That being said, the vita had a lot of really great features and awesome hardware, and some really cool games, and I think it's biggest weakness was in fact, that in it's native Japan, mobile devices had largely grabbed the commuter market which was huge in Japan, and losing titles like monster hunter to the 3DS, which had helped drive PSP sales in it's later days, probably dealt a significant blow to the college student and youth markets.

Even personally it is undeniable that my phone, despite having less quality games, was easier to play on as I commuted simply because I could multi-task if I had to. I could respond to texts for instance and go right back to what ever I was playing. Ironically at the time, and I bought my Vita at launch, I was really hoping that they would improve a lot of their platform to better support non-gaming applications. I wanted my Vita to replace my tablet. It had the technical potential after all, but this never materialized. The browser felt like garbage, the applications where choppy slow and buggy, almost to a shameless degree, and now it's just too late.

I feel like they could have introduced some of this increased functionality and created a kind of tablet environment. Even if it was just checking emails. I still love the system, and it is definitely my long trip companion but, after that last final fantasy 7 port for iOS, I can kind of see phones replacing handhelds all together in the not so distant future. But I still love my Vita while it lasts, and I hope it lasts long enough for that HD port of FFXII that keeps getting teased lately.

tl;dr: Phones are just more convenient and a dedicated gaming handheld is becoming more and more of a novelty, and an expensive one at that. no matter how much I love it, I can only use it when I want to truly shut out the world, which is becoming less and less important as I age.

They should have seen the cell phone market as a threat back when the Vita was coming out. They designed it to partially compete with mobile - touch screen, ARM processor, 3G as an option. Sony tried to make a niche luxury device that did high end games, while fusing smart phone characteristics into the package. It became a jack of all trades, master of none (which cost more than just getting two different masters).

That's my main complaint with the Vita since the beginning. They put too much stuff into it. It didn't need the touch screen, the useless 3G, or the extra powerful (for the time) CPU. It definitely didn't need the touch panel on the back. All of that jacked up the price. The only things it needed were a little more horsepower over the PSP and that second analog nub we've spent years asking Sony for since the PSP came out.

Also to be the thousandth to say this today, the proprietary memory killed it more than piracy could have. Even Sony's Memory Stick Duo (what's used in the PSP and other Sony stuff) is remarkably overpriced compared to SD cards. When I got a micro SD card to MS Duo adapter and a 32 GB micro SD, I bought a lot of games off of PSN to carry around on my PSP. Some people would have loaded that card up with illegally acquired media, but most would throw more money at Sony and publishers, just for convenience's sake.

Smartphones having transformed the mobile market into a place less than friendly for premium portables like the Vita was well known before the Vita was released or even thought about. No excuses you don't release a new VHS machine when it has to compete with Blu rays , DvDs and Digital Downloads doesn't matter how advanced the VHS is.

Sony is to blame for Vita failure.

Sony, I'm a customer that owns a PSP and a Vita. The problem isn't the mobile climate, it's two things:

1. Proprietary memory: The moment someone developed an adapter for the PSP I immediately bought ten playstation games to store on it. You're needlessly limiting how many games we can buy with this shit. Stop it.

2. Games: Where are the games on the Vita? We've got the five or so good ones but beyond that all we can enjoy are old PS games. You can't afford to put out no games on a console. That's just ridiculous. I had the same problem with the PSP which I still use exclusively as an old PS gaming system.

Tsaba:
With all the changes in technology the last 10 years, it's hard to imagine why you would want/need a mobile gaming system, and well to be honest, I'm sure the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan sure didn't help either.

image

They're great for traveling and provide much more technologically demanding games than cell phone games provide.

infohippie:
Apart from the problems specific to the Vita itself, who wants to carry around dedicated single-use hardware when they've already got a good general-purpose device? Maybe Sony should look into designing a high quality Android smartphone that is more comfortable for relatively long gaming sessions than ones currently on the market, and develop games for that.

The Xperia Play would like to meet you...

Well I do like my Vita, Sony. And should you ever actually release anything for it again, you bet I'll be interested (looking at Gravity Rush 2 in particular!). But until that day, should it indeed ever come, I'll have more than enough games to play (mainly because the Vita is the first PlayStation system I ever owned, and thus, all the ports of older classics it has are a great way for me to catch up on some PS history).

I also really love my Wii U, btw.
It's only now dawning on me that I may simply be insane, though ;P

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