Tapping my foot here.


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Vita and Wii U; Same Problem, Different Solutions

In all fairness, I do not yet own a Vita. I still intend to get one (most likely after I get a PS4); a platform of its nature will undoubtedly have the potential for great content. So far, the games I wish to get for mine include Persona 4, Tearaway, Gravity Rush, Muramasa: Rebirth and any of the transferable Playstation 1 and digital PSP/Vita games sitting in my PSN account. For me, this will be enough right off the bat.

For the rest of the public, I'm not so sure.

Some time ago, Vita sales saw a small increase in sales, most likely due to its price drop in Japan. Since then the Vita has seen some slightly better numbers in that region in particular. This, to me, is not nearly worthy enough for a celebration.

I've been exceptionally critical of Nintendo this past month in particular. They played this year's E3 frustratingly safe and still did not manage to announce the one must-have Wii U game for this year. But if there is one thing that we as gamers were telling Nintendo to do, the one thing that Nintendo definitely listened to was "Get the games on the system." They may not even be the games we wanted, but the system will be getting a number of games that fans will most likely enjoy, most of them by the end of this year. My own personal choices of anticipation (in no particular order) are Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Sonic Lost World and Zelda Wind Waker HD.

The Vita system is in dire need of its own exclusive content. Scroll back up and read the list of games I want; only two of the games on that list are exclusive to Vita. Worse yet, Sony almost made no mention of Vita at E3 this year (obviously to focus on PS4 which currently shows far, far more promise). Remember what Sony announced for Vita last year at E3? A spinoff of Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty Black Ops 2, the latter of the two being widely panned by critics. Sure it has cross-buy, but I doubt many will really pay the extra money necessary to play PS4 games on a handheld.

Now I know what many of you will tell me; I'm well aware that Vita has a lot of games in its library, of which I will definitely keep an eye out for something that appeals to me personally. Again, hear me out; I already want a Vita and I'm going to get one. But its library is not bringing other consumers into the boat, much in the same way that Nintendo's Wii U is obviously not offering a lot to the public right now, but on the flip side there is content that I personally do want.

With Nintendo's Wii U, rushed would not even begin to describe the console's first year thus far. With very few first party games (and more importantly no big Mario or Zelda titles) the system failed to excite anyone outside of the most hardcore Nintendo fans and has been struggling, sometimes even more so than Vita. In fact, since the Vita's price drop, Nintendo has seen some weeks where the Wii U sells significantly below that system.

Its biggest weakness presently is its software library, riddled with poor third party ports and support, a currently miniscule Virtual Console library, shorthanded eShop library and obviously very little first party support until August this year. This combined with a surprisingly terrible lack of marketing has given Wii U very little traction and it's daunting to imagine what Nintendo is doing, if anything, to rectify this issue.

The Wii U's problem is not that it is poorly received (outside of the few users on the internet who hate it for being 'underpowered') it's that it is overall an unknown. Fans have already supported it, but Nintendo has not captured its other audiences; gamers looking for the core experiences and families who want the next new thing. Without the games, you don't get gamer support. Without marketing, families will not even know of its existence. A price cut can generate more sales in the short term, like for Vita, but it will take a lot more to make the buyers come.

It's strange to think that Sony's handling of Vita (mostly outside of Japan) and Nintendo's handling of Wii U are very similar in some ways. Neither were being marketed very much and both had what many in the mass public must have deemed to be uninteresting game libraries. The two have now found separate ways to try and entice the consumer; Vita has slashed its price and Sony seems to think that PS4 cross-buy will invigorate the consumer interest. Nintendo on the other hand buckled down and started focusing on content with six plus big name titles coming out this year alone. This is all made even more interesting given that the Vita and Wii U both have very similar functionality; they both have touch screens, they both have HD displays, have off-TV play capabilities, and other similarities.

These efforts are fantastic for us gamers who already own one or even both of these platforms. But I can't help but perplex at how the mass market will respond to both of them. My hope? I want them both to be very successful. They are both great hardware in my opinion, but their creators are, in my opinion at least, not doing them justice right now.

What are your thoughts?

dedicatedtogamers3730d ago (Edited 3730d ago )

As a proud owner of the Vita, I can sympathize with people who do not see the appeal. I imagine the Wii-U (which I like but I do not yet own) is in a similar boat.

The people who own it love it, but it's really hard to get non-owners to take the plunge.

You said "The Vita system is in dire need of its own exclusive content".

I disagree. I think the Vita (and Wii-U) are in dire need of an identity, even if that identity is "the best place for indie games" or "the best version of multiplatform games" or something like that. Software will come and go, but as you pointed out, even though both systems have games if you type out a list, neither system has hit sweet spot yet for most people. It's not just about one game. It's about a robust library that caters to various tastes.

Maybe Vita will finally popularize portable online multiplayer. Who knows? Maybe Wii-U will finally popularize full-blown RTS games for consoles. Who knows? The problem is we need the GAMES to showcase those possibilities.

PopRocks3593730d ago (Edited 3730d ago )

Those are some very, very interesting ideas and now that I think about it, you've definitely got a point about platform identity (although I do feel I ought to insist that exclusive content, and lots of it, can definitely add to that).

"The people who own it love it, but it's really hard to get non-owners to take the plunge."

Exactly. I've seen the same thing happen with the Wii U. Friends of mine and myself all enjoy what we've gotten on Wii U and we're looking forward to some of the new games this year. Problem is not everyone is like us and we're obviously a minority.

The 360 did not have a great deal of exclusive content. What it did have was Halo, timed exclusive DLC for Call of Duty which reigned supreme during its generation and for a time was considered the console for online multiplayer. It's not what any of us would consider "a lot" but it was significant enough to make it a very big contender this past generation.

"Maybe Vita will finally popularize portable online multiplayer. Who knows? Maybe Wii-U will finally popularize full-blown RTS games for consoles."

Nothing would please more than to see these outcomes occur for either platform. And you're right, games will most certainly demonstrate this better than anything else. Sony and Nintendo just need to find a way to make it happen.

In the mean time (and I can't believe I didn't mention this in my blog), I can't help but notice that indies seem to be taking both platforms into account as of late. The past few months in particular have had good news for both platforms mostly about indie support. Maybe that can be seen as a part of their identity? Not sure; just speculation on my part.

dedicatedtogamers3730d ago

"Maybe that can be seen as a part of their identity?"

Months ago (and this was prior to me buying my Vita, btw) I suggested here on N4g in a comment that Vita could become popular if it becomes an "indie machine".

I got a lot of disagrees. Everyone who replied said something to the effect of "who would spend $250 just to play indie games?"

And I don't know the answer to that question. I also don't know why a certain "Craft"y Java game about building and breaking blocks sold over 20 million (and counting). I don't know why a game about flinging cartoon birds has become as prolific as Mario.

No one knows when the next indie hit will occur. Maybe it'll be on Vita? That's the thing. We just don't know, but I'd happily play all these PC indie hand-me-downs on Vita instead of on my PC.

Dr Pepper3730d ago

"Without marketing, families will not even know of its existence"

I'm still surprised/stunned at how poor the marketing has been for the Wii U. It showed during launch with the stacks of console boxes sitting untouched at Best Buy, and it shows with lackluster sales today. Plenty of people I know, who don't usually partake in gaming, know what the Wii is but couldn't tell me what the Wii U is, or how it is different. Instead of the "Wii would like to play" commercials that took up TV spots during the Wii launch window (and beyond), I remember only seeing a handful for the Wii U, which focused on what simply looked like a new controller.

Perhaps Nintendo thought keeping the Wii name would make the average consumer connect with the product, and associate it with the Wii in a positive way. However, they seem to associate it so closely to the other product that they don't notice a difference (or don't care to). They've gone about this situation in such a weird way.

PopRocks3593730d ago (Edited 3730d ago )

"Perhaps Nintendo thought keeping the Wii name would make the average consumer connect with the product, and associate it with the Wii in a positive way."

My thoughts exactly. Nintendo is working in a particularly strange way right now and as a fan it definitely sucks to see them in this state. I feel there's still time to turn it around, but at this point who knows how much can really be done?

There's the summer update, Nintendo says there is unannounced content coming, and supposedly they're going to start a new marketing push in August when Pikmin launches. While I'm hopeful, my optimism has honestly dwindled on Nintendo's chances of success with this one.

3730d ago Replies(1)
Nicaragua3730d ago

I love my Vita but it definitely lacks an identity.

I think it would be better to move all the cutesy "create" stuff (Little Big Planet, Modanation) to being vita exclusive. The quick 5 minute levels and touch screen creation tools work far better for the vita platform than the PS3.

The vita needs to act like a handheld, not like a PS3 wannabe. They should use it for building up some of the forgotten sony franchises - Lair Vita, Folklore Vita, Syphon Filter Vita etc.

Identity crisis aside then i think a Vita & PS+ is the deal of the century. I have only had to buy one game but the rest came as part of my PS+ subscription - Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Wipeout 2048, Metal Gear HD Collection, Lumines, Unit 13, Jet Set Radio, and many more. The only game i have bought is Soul Sacrifice and that is one of the most addictive games i have ever played.

I also own a Wii U and all i can say is that its not getting much use. I have money in my wallet with Nintendo's name on it but there are no games on the shelves for me to spend it on. After 8 months that's a bit of a joke and although i hate all these doomed articles i think Nintendo has really screwed this up. By the time they start pumping out games at a decent rate the PS4 will have first dibs on my wallet - your loss Nintendo.

dcj05243728d ago

I think sony is trying to build up the VITA as the "Monster Hunting Machine" Soul Sacrifice sold great(JAP:200,000 NA:90,000 EU: 30,000) , Toudiken ( did i spell that right) Sold great in JAPAN(250,000). And i my self am VERY excited for GOD EATER 2 and I'm sure it will sell great in JAPAN, hopefully other regions because i will buy that day one. That one game, Monster Hunter, helped sale the PSP but Capcom had to be a........ company and make it Nintendo exclusive. Personally I think the VITA has far better monster hunting Games ( We have 5: Ragnark Oddessy, Soul Sacrifice, Phantasy Star Online 2, God Eater 2, Todoukien) than Monster Hunting and I think that is VITA's Identity, in JAPAN anyway.

SilentNegotiator3730d ago (Edited 3730d ago )

The very premises of the Wii U and Vita are flawed.

Wii U shows that Nintendo never learns when it comes to the console-side of things. They went from creating a system with the "gimmick heard around the world" to a system with a gimmick that people were impressed by 5 years ago (non-multitouch screen). You won't see Oprah (okay, not a great example with her main show being done, but still) having a Wii U on her show(s) going "OMG look at how awesome this is, I've never seen anything like it!" like with the Wii. Mario Kart Wii and other games sold very impressive numbers because Nintendo pushed so many units of hardware by having such broad appeal; Mario Kart 8 sales will guaranteed be very weak by comparison. And if third party sales on Nintendo systems weren't (on the whole) bad enough, Wii U lacks the volume to get third parties bothering. Nintendo didn't prepare hardly anything for Wii U's first year and sales suffered for it, thus so did third party interest.

Forget about lack of good ads for a minute. Everyone is quick to blame a lack of good ads. But look at how poorly Ps3 was advertised most of the time (at least pre-Kevin Butler); did it ever have a single month as bad as the last 5 months of Wii U? Never. Not even close. Any console can survive lack of good advertisement; no console can survive lack of word of mouth.


Vita's issue is that they thought they could throw out a very powerful (read: "expensive") handheld in an age where everyone has some form of handheld (read: "cellphone") to entertain them already. Heck, 3DS sold poorly at the Vita price and started picking up when they made the price what the DS itself was not very long before - that wasn't a price drop, that was a price ANNEX. They should know by now that people want cheap. They needed to release a mid-powered system and should have axed pointless crap like the back touchpad, and made the thing much cheaper. At LEAST $200.

Then they should have monitored quality on games coming to the thing. Look at the great franchises that blessed the the form of s**t; Resistance, Resident Evil, COD, etc. And others that clearly disappointed a bit, like Uncharted. If they hadn't created gimmick-centric Resistance and Uncharted games, and had helped third parties more with funding and made sure they took their time creating something that would make Vita desirable, they could have gotten a better payoff.

And then there was letting Nintendo get exclusivity of Monster Hunter handheld titles. Suicide. Why not just put a pillow over Vita's face and wait for it to stop struggling, Sony?

Dr Pepper3730d ago

"Forget about lack of good ads for a minute. Everyone is quick to blame a lack of good ads. But look at how poorly Ps3 was advertised most of the time (at least pre-Kevin Butler); did it ever have a single month as bad as the last 5 months of Wii U? Never. Not even close. Any console can survive lack of good advertisement; no console can survive lack of word of mouth"

Well, to create word of mouth among the casual people, or complete non-gaming crowd, I think having an effective marketing campaign does wonders (as opposed to not having one at all). That crowd seemed to be a large portion of the market Nintendo was interested in for the Wii (and they drilled it home with their advertising featuring the parents playing Wii Sports in the living room). Now, they seem to have abandoned the idea of enticing them again through strong advertising, and yet expect the same level of consumer awareness or sales figures.

These people don't know the Wii U is a different machine (I'm speaking generally, of course it wouldn't apply to absolutely every non-gamer). They see the "Wii" title with an added letter, a bulky touchpad controller being used alongside existing Wii controllers, and they probably can't tell major differences with the console. Word of mouth is definitely important, like you said, but it has a small chance of reaching a lot of the super casual people that bought the Wii, let alone strongly convincing them to purchase the new console.

PopRocks3593729d ago


I'm surprised you actually took the time to make an actual response and not just attack me or reveal some hidden-between-the-lines pro-Nintendo agenda for once. Congrats on showing some self-restraint.

On a less comedic note, I stated this before the Vita ever came out; if the 3DS, the successor to quite possibly the most popular dedicated gaming device just barely under the PS2, could not sell at $250, then who the hell was going to buy the Vita at the same price or even $50 more?

And yes, you make a good point about the Wii U's touch screen. I personally do see it as a nice convenience, but there is no "wow" factor because it's nothing brand new (not for the industry as a whole anyway). Worse yet there are few games that make use of it and because hardly anyone has one, there's no word of mouth. No one is talking about Wii U and Nintendo needs to stir up something to get people to notice and talk about the thing.

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