PlayStation Vita's biggest challenge: Convincing developers

Gamasutra: PlayStation Vita isn't exactly the success story that Sony would like it to be. Sales of the handheld are lagging worldwide, and many third party game makers aren't willing to invest in a platform that has a modest install base. Add a prohibitive $300-$350 price tag, and you have the ingredients for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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GribbleGrunger2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

It's the chicken and the egg situation. For third party support, the Vita has to sell well. For the Vita to sell well, it needs third party support. The usual milestone to garner interest from more third parties is 6 million, but at the rate that the Vita is selling, that won't be hit until next year (It 'might' hit it sooner of course. You never know how consumers are going to react during Christmas). This means that once third parties do start supporting it, there will be at least a years development time to be added to that.

My conclusion here is that the Vita won't get a deluge of games through most of 2013, but WILL get significant support nevertheless. It won't be until 2014 that we start to see games flooding in. You also have to consider how much more powerful the Vita is and the fact that development time is going to be similar to that of a console.

The only option for Sony at the moment is to heavily support it themselves to drive those figures up, but there ARE some third party games that will help carry the responsibility. These are not quite enough to drive the Vita to a much bigger average weekly sales figure though. They WILL illicit spikes that should lead to a bigger average over Christmas, but that average will not represent the 'norm' simply because it's the holiday season. We'll likely see the actually average once January 2013 hits.

PSMobile and PS+ are also likely to play a huge role this Christmas too, but like I said, it's not the best time of the year to be drawing any conclusions. Next year will be the time to judge. Until then we can only speculate... But, at the end of the day, putting any nonsense of a race to one side, the Vita will do just fine.

Just to add one more thing: A price cut would be something a a double edged sword for Sony at the moment, so I would rule that out myself... I could be wrong. It would help sell the machine, there is no doubt, but with Sony having money problems, can they afford to do that? Then you have the problem of the PS3. I believe the reason Sony have removed the retail price is to avoid the usual price comparisons with the handheld. Now Sony can point to the retailers and not carry that burden of responsibility themselves. A price cut would also send out a message of desperation (even if it had been planned earlier in the year). That's not the a message they want the consumer to receive OR their investors.

LX-General-Kaos2149d ago

I don't know much about the vita.. But I do know that in the end it all comes down to price.

GribbleGrunger2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

I don't disagree. But we have to acknowledge that Sony is in a transitional period. The last thing they need at the moment is to take any big hits on their hardware; they can't afford to. This why they are entrenched at the moment. As much as the consumer would like them to do certain things, they simply can't... it wouldn't make economic sense.

So Sony will (and I believe rightly so) continue with this strategy. This makes the consumer nervous because there is, without a doubt, an element of risk involved, but a risk, I believe, that WILL pay off in the end. Fans tend to think short term, it's only natural, but Sony are thinking long term, and when I say long term I'm talking 5 to 10 years. Sony is a large ship and it takes a very long time to turn a large ship around, especially in such a treacherous sea.

LX-General-Kaos2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

In a way I do agree with what you are saying, I just dont believe that things are that easy anymore in the industry. You cant just wait and see while your platform is being destroyed for an entire year. Further risk must be taken.

For the price of a Vita you can pick up a Nintendo Wii U or 3DS entertainment system with games, a PS3, or a 360. In a way the Vita in my eyes is stuck in a very nasty situation as far as competitive pricing is concerned.

Right now their wait it out plan is not working. I honestly can not see anything working until the price is dropped, and some real sales start to pour in. The longer they sit in this position, the more the Nintendo 3DS entertainment system will run circles around the unit. While garnering all of the dev support. By the end of this year, Nintendos handheld has a solid chance to top off between 25 to 30 million units sold. That would be annihilation to the Vitas dev support if they continue with sales this moderate.

I am no business major, but I firmly believe that the Vita will not survive going into the holiday season at this price point. And the memory cards need to be reduced asap as they put the platform at around $300 before a game is purchased. All platforms from all corporations will continue to pass this thing by at the current price point.

Rated E For Everyone

DivineAssault 2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

Games too my friend.. Its just now starting to pick up in the software department where is was sorely lacking.. U look at the 3DS XL for $200 & plays (mostly) 10yr-last gen ports at $40 a pop.. Vita may be $250 but plays current gen ports at $40 a pop & vita has many MANY more features as well that even exceed PS3.. Plus better graphics, a lot more adult oriented games, & a robust network having countless media options.. Im not bashing 3DS cuz i have one but theres just so much more to be had with vita despite what sales may have u think.. Get one asap if u enjoy handheld gaming. I promise, u wont be disappointed..

LX-General-Kaos2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )


This has nothing to do with me wanting or playing a Vita. I am pretty much here to basically give my opinion on why the Vita needs a price drop. Though you are right about games, they will arrive at too slow of a pace if at all if the install base does not significantly grow.

I stand by my opinion of the price simply being too high to stay competitive with the Nintendo 3DS entertainment system, and other home consoles. Especially when it is clearly obvious that developers are flocking to greener pastures as far as install base is concerned for their game releases. Im sorry to say that all of the super HD graphics, or cool features wont change that fact.

Rated E For Everyone

zebramocha2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

@lx On hardware alone the vita is not over priced,it's better than the current iPad and 3ds. What the heck are rambling about,I'm just pointing out that you think the vita is overprice,the vita needs are games that uses its features,beneficial apps and try to have games that fit,quick play intermediate play and extended play.

LX-General-Kaos2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )


Well the rest of the world at this point does not share your same enthusiasm for the price point of the vita. Being better than the Nintendo 3DS entertainment system or ipad mean nothing if both are enjoying success and the vita is not. They will both continue to run circles around the vita and accumulate most dev support if the vita remains in this position.

In the gaming industry, price is only as great as the consumer response to the product. Right now the consumer, not even PS3 owners are really responding to the Vita. The sales that we have witnessed all year should already provide enough proof that price is a major issue. I guess some people just need a little bit more.

We will continue this debate after the holiday season. The sales numbers will paint a factual picture for the both of us.

Rated E For Everyone

MikeMyers2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

All of these articles need to slow down. It takes time for things to cook. Give it until at least early 2014 before we draw to any conclusions. By them things will settle down. The early adopters will be long gone, a full calendar year will have passed in all regions. The second busy shopping season will have passed. More games showcasing the hardware will be there. Patience is the key and those wanting hits by grossly exaggerated topic titles should be ignored.

Price is just one area, as is software. There's a whole slew of reasons to the success and failures of every device. To come to any conclusions now or in the near future is pointless. All it serves is frustration from those who want it to fulfill its potential and chatter from those who don't.

miyamoto2148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

"I don't know much about the vita.. But I do know that in the end it all comes down to price."

That is the main reason why people started buying the 3DS from 250 to 170: cheap price.

That is basic consumer psychology. even a dollar price cut on any product compells any consumer to buy.

Casual gamers will play any game because of low price. But good for Nintendo these are not Sony's target consumers. Their loyal hobbyists are always their top priority.

I don't like this strategy because Sony denies many gamer to experience so good games made for Nintendo systems particularly for the younger gamers but they have an image to maintain.

Price cut surely is the obvious solution to unit sales but this dragging issue clearly tells us they have a profit margin they have to meet in a span of one year at the $250 price point. So they will stick to it until next year.

In Nintendo's case, to cut the price in such short notice clearly tells their overpricing strategy did not meet their "expectations". The consumers has assessed the quality of the 3DS and decided not to buy it at $250 because it ain't worth it.
same thing with the Vita consumers see it no different than a 3DS competitior. so it needs to compete on price not specs.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 2148d ago
SandwichHammock2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

As a PSV owner I love the thing but I am not blind to not see that its struggling a little bit. I'm not usually one to go or propose this route, but I think Sony should take out the ol' burlap sack with the dollar sign on it and "entice" some devs/publishers to make software for it.

I know I've said it before. But imagine this thing had the next entry in the Chrono (Chrono Break) series exclusively for it. The thing would sell like hot cakes.

At this point, there are only three titles that I can think of that I'm really looking forward to for the PSV: Jet Set Radio, Zone of the Enders, Soul Sacrifice.

edit: oh yeah, and Liberation is looking to be gangbusters too.

miyamoto2148d ago

If Sony's strategy is justifying the $250 price tag with quality hardware in the software side of the coin Sony's premiere first party needs to set the example for 3rd party developers to follow.

That will be the win win scenario.

Right now its win lose.

Hardware wins over the competition but software does not complement it in so many levels.

Sony must lead by example just like they did with PS3. Naughty Dog, Samta Monica, Sucker Punch, Guerilla must all pitch in quality exclusives. Also Sony must address the younger market with the kind of games that they enjoy.

That is the identity or image Sony needs to define. A balanced platform for core and casual gamers; for the young and old.

PS Vita is basically a Ps3 in its freshman year. "High" price tag, few first party premium titles from premier first party developers, poor PSN support, etc. Sony just need to apply what they have done with PS3 and it will be a slowly but surely race to the finish line unless Kazuo give Sony a much needed speed boost.

Nutsack2149d ago

There are two things you need to do Sony:

1. Market the hell out of the PSVita. You ain't doing that. If you don't do that, it doesn't sell. If there is a low installed base no 3rd party dev is interested

2. Lower the goddamn price of the PSVita to 199 Euro/USD max incl a memcard. The mass of people don't want to pay over 200 for a handheld system.

Certainly not if PS3's nowadays in rebate are on sale for 200 already.

Nintendo got that message when no one bought their 3DS for 250, dropping it to 170 quickly after. Now you stop saying its worth the 250 when people clearly vote that it isn't with them not buying it enough!

bothebo2149d ago

I'm sorry you are just so wrong. Please try again.

Nutsack2149d ago

Pretty sure I am right, as the sales are low as hell.

Look at the 3DS, no sales at 250. Dropped to 170 and bam sales. Even without good games were there, they came after the price drop mainly.

The mass of people don't buy handhelds for 250, period.

Sales prove I am right.

omarzy2149d ago

This holiday season is the chance they need to convince those developers. If CoD, Assassins's Creed, PS All Stars, and Persona cannot help the Vita(I'm betting that they will help) then Sony can forget about strong 3rd party support for a good amount of time.

GreenRanger2149d ago

"Playstation Vita's biggest problem"
Actually it's Sony's problem.
The Vita is hardly going to market itself and secure exclusives for itself.
Changes will have to be made and prices will have to be cut, whether Sony (and certain overprotective fanboys) like it or not.

Tito082149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

I agree. What stupid Sony needs to realize, devs wants to see an established instal base & quick money, & stop releasing their own western games to the Japanese market when they know very well they don't sell, every LBP games have sold horribly in Japan, & still have the nerve in releasing another one to them, that's why the Vita sales sucked on the Japanese launch because it consisted mostly on western games, & not including a memory stick on every Vita when every smartphone & 3DS comes with memory on the box, & headphones or a little headset when they not even that expensive anymore.

After all these years defending Sony, I'm already getting tired of their stupidity, they're clearly acting stupid nowadays it's unbelievable. Supposedly they learned from the PSP mistakes, but they didn't completely... Approach devs & publishers, don't just stand there like dumbasses, they don't get the f$^%ng message. 3rd parties clearly knows what vita players wants, Sony is clearly such a stupid company nowadays it isn't even funny, but I hope they prove me wrong since it's too early in the system's life cycle.

What Sony have as a big advantage over Nintendo is the potential 3rd party game sales. But their idiotic moves in assisting 3rd party devs & publishers is abysmal at best, & Ken Kutaragi left the company for his convenience after all the shitty arrogant comments like if they think they're like Apple & people buy their products no matter the price, his comments cost the company dearly, Kutaragi is really to blame for that, & mostly in part for the way he designed the PS3's architecture that a lot of devs nowadays hates & sees it as a nightmare.

ShutUpDonny2149d ago

The number of people who buy the hardware is not everything. Look at the Wii. Yes, Nintendo makes a lot on money selling the system, but nobody buy the third party developer's games. If you make a AA tittle on 360 ou PS3, it won't sell because the AAA competition is too strong. The Vita is perfect for the midrange developer. They can make a game with a relatively low budget and it it's good, it will sell.

BlaqMagiq242149d ago

I agree. In this day and age they're not one but two battles that are fought in the gaming industry, the sales battle and the ratings battle. Yes hardware needs to sell but if there aren't a lot of GOOD games on it what's the point of those sales? That was the Wii's biggest downfall. And with that a lot is expected out of the Wii U. I hope it doesn't go the same road as the Wii.

boybato2149d ago

agree as well. a clear example would be mutant blob, a game relatively unknown not until it got remade for the vita.

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