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The PS Vita and the 3DS have a common problem.

With the 3DS already released and the Vita on its way, it got me thinking about the place these devices have in my life. One common problem occurred to me. They are not phones.

To bring my point across we must jump back in time when the PSP and the DS were released. I remember think this is quite cool. A console in my hand. They seemed perfect for travelling and great for passing the time. Now we are going to jump a couple of years with the release of the 360 and the PS3. How so much as changed in such a short time. A drive to become a multimedia device has become more apparent. Sony's attempt to get a blu-ray player in every house left a mark on the gaming industry. These console were not just about gaming any more it had to do everything. Just to produce a gaming console is just not enough. To maximise profits the casual and non gamer must be added to the install base. It then became apparent that this multimedia image came a little too soon because the Wii with interesting new technology grasped this casual market with little multimedia functionality. However as this generation progressed this theme of multimedia functionality became more of a main feature than a nice extra.

Now smart phones have been around for some time. Arguable it didn't take off until the RIM brought out their Blackberry line of phones. It instantly become popular with business people who loved the function of sending emails and having a phone in the same device. But this wasn't anything like the surge to come in 2007. Apple's Iphone shot multimedia devices into the masses. It was a small computer in your pocket that was also a phone. Not only could you check your emails and call people but you could do much more. Now ,on N4G, the idea of the Iphone being used for gaming is seen as blaspheme. In the early days it did struggled but as it progressed the gaming part of the phone became more apparent. It was seen to be cool to have one.

Now the background is out of the way I can get to my original point. The 3DS and PS Vita have one common flaw. They are not phones. Times have changed since the release of the PSP and Nintendo DS. Carrying around one all inclusive device has become very popular in recent years and almost a necessity.

To say, on N4G, the Iphone and other android smartphones are a threat to gaming is followed by onslaughts of abuse especially on the topic of how you are not a "real gamer". This type of gaming is having little to no affect on home consoles but it is ,however, having an effect on portable gaming. It is hard to ignore the success the App Store has had on mobile gaming. The 69p games have very low development cost but relativity high return. These games are also small simple games perfect for on the move. There are other types of games (like Modern Combat) who gets the controls spot on but lack the battery life to really play. This however because a mute point in the large scheme of things.

I am finding it harder and harder to justify getting a dedicated portable gaming machine when the times I am on the move (or anyone for that matter) is barley long enough to justify getting into a fully fledged game. The BBC in 2003 said the average commute in the UK was 45 minutes (which was the highest in Europe). There were no collective figures I could find for America but for Washington it was around 25 minutes in 2006. OK these are people who have jobs but school children are no better. Considering in the UK a lot (bare in mind not all) live in there schools catchment area. My commute was no different to the figures produced by the BBC. The only aspect in life I can see buying a PS vita or a 3DS useful is on flights, where you are spending some hours sitting in one place.

No you may be thinking what I haven't really talked about the phone aspect in great detail but I have in directly. The problem the Vita and the 3DS has is they are in direct competition to the Iphone and android devices but without the most essential component. I know a lot of you will be getting it and think I am mad but even if all of you on N4G get it that isn't enough for the companies. We must look at the bigger picture and so must they. Sony tried, sought of, with the Xperia Play. It ended up being half of each. It wasn't a good phone nor was it a good gaming device. I do hope this hasn't scared Sony off. These smart phone devices offer more games (I know some are garbage) for less money so buying a game at 69p doesn't drain on your wallet like PSP and 3DS games do.

The 3DS has hit road blocks right from the get go. The hardcore gamer seemed less interested by the limited number of games and the casual were not as easily impressed by new 3D technology as they were when the Wii came out. The biggest test for both the systems is when the Vita comes out. It should sell in Japan as they love pocket gaming but with the increase popularity of smart phones, that do everything, there seems to be little reason to get the Vita and 3DS with the £20 per game price tag.

Phones are not the same as they use to be, nor are MP3 players. They have evolved with the times like many other devices. The two dedicated gaming machines must evolve or die and at the moment they are in danger of the latter

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LightofDarkness2442d ago

Well, perhaps in a number of years, phones will be able to replace a portable gaming device as the primary means for playing games on the go. But that time is not now.

Phone hardware simply isn't up to the task of producing games with the same level of fidelity of systems like the Vita and 3DS. More to that, phones rely on touchscreens and minimal, simplistic input interfaces in order to be user friendly for the average consumer. This means that they will, at least for a time, have very limited input options, which means that games with any more complex controls than sliding your finger on the screen, tapping the screen or tilting the handset will be unfeasible.

Portable consoles are not meant to be played purely while on the move, either. Many use them as a means of playing games while not having to switch all of the focus of the room to a console, so people can still watch TV/films and talk while they game. It makes it easier to simply pick up and play a little, while not having to sit in for a more "serious" session. An added benefit is the ability to use them while you're sitting in the airport lounge, waiting for your boarding call.

We are inevitably moving towards devices that do all of these things in one package. A phone/PDA that doubles as a PC or games console, simply by plugging it into your TV and preferred inputs. This is quite a few years away, however, and there is still more than enough of a market to sustain these devices for a few more years.

joeorc2442d ago (Edited 2442d ago )

an it's a very Viable point, but allow me to point out unlike the 3DS the PSVita does indeed address this phone issue..

Q: what is a smartphone?

A smartphone has 3G or 4G capability to make calls to any other smartphone or Landline right? with added functionality of PDA's which they converged an ABSORBED into a Smartphone.

Now if you Noticed the PSVita can use 3G connection no contract needed unlike the above smartphones, unless like the PSVita are no contract.

but Unlike the 3DS once again the PSVita offer's a direct TELECOM option for the user an that is SKYPE!

more an more USER'S of smartphone use skype to offset MIN's ussage, OVER THE AIR DATA is being capped for USAGE anyway..thus Gaming across a 3G or 4G connection is really impractical.

which put's them on = footing for communication anyway because, insted of usage min's Skype is or google Voice is being used more an more across data networks anyway.

SKYPE: has a skype in number thus people can call you on the vita, has TEXTING, MSG'S..TO TOP IT OFF video chatting is also there. Smartphone also has access to Skype!

Thus really the PSVita has more in common with the smartphone than just a DEDICATED HANDHELD GAMING DEVICE.

Thats frankly where the 3DS is lacking no Skype option for the 3DS yet, as far as i know an no 3G connection also

Both Vita an smartphones have skype, both will have non gaming app's..but the Vita will be a cheaper option out of pocket in the long run for the hardware which right now is the best bang for the buck vs what's in the top of the line Smarphones an even some tablets aside from the SCREEN AN HDMI OUT an the camera that you have to be on contract for 2+ years an your paying many times the cost of the PSVita for hardware.

Now games may cost more for PSVita but that's the key point, those very same games that run on smartphones an tablets can also run as native hardware on the vita because like the tablets an smartphones the PSVita is useing the same core chipset.

Its like 3rd party's leaving money on the Table when even the port of their Game would run native on the PSVita hardware.

-Alpha2442d ago

They aren't trying to be phones.

To me, this is the difference between a portable device, such as a phone, and a handheld gaming device. I do not imagine iPhone users playing their iPhone games outside of commuting or in private, but I do imagine gamers pulling out their handheld gaming devices in private.

It's still a gaming machine and the exclusive titles are what interest gaming consumers.

I do not think that the 3DS or the PSV, no matter how hard they try, are ever going to manage to ever capture the casual market though. That market belongs to the phones, but the 3DS and PSV are hardcore gaming machines and there is a huge fanbase for that sort of thing

Coopertone 2441d ago (Edited 2441d ago )

"The exclusive titles are what interest gaming consumers. "

----------------------------- --------------------------
Japanese investors pressuring Nintendo to put its games on Smartphones

“Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry,” said Stats Investment Management’s Masamitsu Ohki . “Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new.”

The exclusives.

Ddouble2442d ago

You could say it's a problem and you could also say it's a benfit.

My phone battery goes down fast when i'm constantly playing with or surfing the net. I need my phone to constantly be on as i'm sure most people do and so sacrificing battery life for games is something that puts me off games on phones.

With the psp you could play till the battery dies and resume the game from the same place as long as you get it to a charger within the day.

Phones main functionality are still making and receiving calls. The main funcitonality of dedicated gaming handhelds are still to play games. They overlap a bit these days but until there's a device that can do everything in a nice package I will have a dedicated handheld and i don't see that happening anytime soon.

artsaber2442d ago

The LAST thing you want is your favorite handheld get in bed with a wireless phone carrier. All your favorite Zelda and MGS handheld games interrupted by a phone call? No thanks. Expensive Mandatory data plans on your handheld, and then there is ball cancer.

It is bad enough that men walk around all day with cell phones surrounding their crotches all day. But a natural sitting position while handheld gaming is to hover that thing right above your crotch while thumbing away at buttons. Expect ball cancer to jump 15% in young adults and it will be blamed on gaming handheld phones.

IMO pricing on handhelds is too important to let them be absorbed by cell Phone companies that step sell technology. Those companies too often repackage the same phone inerts in a different shell, using a different name - while selling you mostly the same old technology in your current phone at a premium price, while touting all along how much better it is... using theoretical speeds, etc.

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