Do We Really Need The Playstation Vita?

March 11, 2012 5:46 pm

Ten Years ago everybody knew what a Gameboy was. Nintendo simply dominated the handheld gaming market. A decade later, and it is a completely different game. In the intervening years Nintendo has released the Nintendo DS, a portable gaming device that provided a completely unique gaming experience that could not be achieved on home consoles, while Sony attempted to bring the power of the console to a device you can carry with you, the Playstation Portable (PSP). Both fared well due to the different experiences provided, and the different target audiences.

Sony's Playstation Vita

Sony's Latest Handheld: The Playstation Vita

Now in 2012, a new corporation has entered the mix: Apple. With the iPhone, iPad and App Store, Apple has managed to completely revolutionise the handheld gaming market place. Games such as Angry Birds have become household names, with anyone from children to grandparents being able to enjoy these types of games. They are perfect for your daily commute, and cost less than a Big Mac. What is even better is that you can download new games and apps straight to your iDevice anywhere that has an internet connection. This sort of connectivity could only have been dreamt of ten years ago. Nintendo also released their latest entry to the handheld gaming market last year, the Nintendo 3DS. Whilst being overpriced and lacking sufficient software at launch, it has gone on to be the fastest selling gaming device EVER in Japan.

So why has Sony decided to release the Playstation Vita? To me, it makes no sense. In a market already saturated with handheld gaming devices that either provide an innovative gaming experience (3DS) or are extremely practical to carry around (iPhone/iPad), why do consumers need such an expensive and clunky new Playstation to carry around with them? They don’t, and that is why the Vita is failing to sell well in Japan, Sony’s home country and where their devices tend to sell best. In fact the Nintendo 3DS is selling seven times as many units compared to the Vita.

With the rise of the iPhone people are now able to get HD quality graphics on their mobile phones. Games like Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade 2 provide a console quality game on a device that can make calls, browse the web and take high quality photos. That is as much as your average consumer needs to fill the time waiting for a bus. They do not want to carry around another £250 device that is twice as thick and heavy. Despite their lack lustre launch sales, when games like Call of Duty start to come out for the Vita I imagine that there will be a surge in sales of the device. However, as most people play Call of Duty for the online component, they will need to have a good internet connection to play, and so will end up playing at home on their own Wi-Fi. So why not just play on an Xbox or PS3? Well there is no reason, so that is why the Playstation Vita was a redundant product before it was even released. It will still sell well over the course of its life time, and probably make Sony a fair amount, but I would not be surprised if this was Sony’s last foray into the handheld gaming market.

Let us know what you think. Would you buy a Playstation Vita?

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