: Opinion Exchange: No More Portables For Sony?

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Opinion Exchange: No More Portables For Sony?

The mobile market has been even more unpredictable than the console market in recent years.

After a bumpy start to the 3DS Nintendo eventually caught their own wave as they often seem to do. I can see why too, it's perfect for their typical youth market. Sony was hoping to parlay the success of the PSP (don't listen to anyone who tells you it was a failure) into a new age of portable gaming with the Vita.

The vision was tantalizing, a hand held piece of high end technology that plays PS3 quality games on the go. What could go wrong? Apparently a lot of things. Lack of support with AAA must play games has probably held sales of the portable down. More than that though, everybody is already carrying a smart phone, lost their attention span years ago, and needs simple entertainment they can drop in and out of. That's a play style that doesn't fit well with your Assassin's Creed and Uncharted portable options.

Sony has said they are still happy with how things have turned out, namely that Vita is a platform for original ideas and unique experiences that can't be had on consoles or tablets. I don't think that's just PR; Vita is full of interesting games like Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Gravity Rush, and Soul Sacrifice as well as plenty of indie gems. We do get games like Killzone: Mercenary and Borderlands 2 but I think it's a fantasy to suggest these are going to move enough systems to make Vita the success Sony was hoping for.

In seeking your opinions on the future of Sony and portables I'm not suggesting that Sony up and abandon the Vita by cutting bait (though some of you may be of that opinion). I do, however, think that Sony should do some soul searching before trying to continue in this market when the Vita finds itself out of date. On the one hand a portable can succeed as an exciting gadget, but on the other hand everybody already has a bunch of expensive gadgets. Where software is concerned a portable system is a great place for smaller developers to debut and original concepts to be tested, but if you can't get the system into the hands of millions then the software is moot in this competitive landscape.

I get it, the portable market is tempting because everybody and their mother is on the go but it might be wise for financial purposes to consider focusing on the home market when Vita enters into its sunset years some time down the road. Time to weigh in, should Sony keep plugging forward with portables in the future or end it with the Vita?

4/16/2014 David D. Nelson

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Legacy Comment System (47 posts)


Akuma_
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:11:36 PM
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Yeah.

Sony should exit the handhelds market, and Nintendo should exit the console market.

Maybe they could become partners? Ninty characters on Sony consoles, and Sony characters on Ninty handhelds? That would be a profitable relationship for both.

I want Sony to focus on the PS4 as much as possible, i mean they are kind of lacking with support so far, in terms of both games and software. I mean, the XB1 has received how many updates so far? The PS4 has had 2 I think.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:43:46 PM

I'd like them both to succeed in both markets. Sadly Nintendo's decisions on consoles this past decade has alienated me from using their products other than the DS line. Sony sold me with the PSP but the Vita is a gaming wasteland.


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Xombito
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:25:31 PM

I think XO only had two or three I think. Not much more.

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Harerazer
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 10:49:02 AM

Vertigo..."a gaming wasteland"? Not meaning to sound rude but that's somewhere among the most ridiculous statements I've ever read. The Vita has been mentioned as having the highest game-to-console attach rate in gaming history. How exactly is that a wasteland? I think they said it's somewhere around 8-1 or 9-1. Just because you don't like the games out, it can hardly be considered a wasteland. I don't follow the masses and am very choosy with my purchases but even tho I'm not the average consumer I don't say "there's no games" just because I don't like the 100 choices put before me.

Again, meaning no disrespect, but a statement like that has to be qualified before you just throw it out there.

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 2:01:25 PM

@Harerazer - Vita's user base is relatively small so its easier for the console to have a higher attach rate.

For instance, the Gamecube had a 9.59 attach rate. Which was bigger than what the Nintendo DS enjoyed in its prime: 6.12

Yet there is no question which console was a success and which one was a failure. The DS was a massive hit despite having a lower attach rate than the Gamecube.

The Vita's user base needs to be massive, in order for its attach rate to mean anything. And that's just not the case yet.

For instance, the 3DS has a low attach rate. And yet it already has over 25 titles that are million sellers. While Vita, with a higher attach rate, has only 1 million seller so far.



Last edited by Bonampak on 4/17/2014 2:09:57 PM

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 9:15:32 PM

Attach rates are pretty damn important. You don't compare one to another directly through ratios, but you do compare standard deviations.

Again, comparisons help analyze quite a number of things.

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:31:36 PM

@Underdog15 - If you directed that reply to me, I never said attach rates were unimportant. Only that they depended on a very important factor. A factor that gives them relevance. Especially in the face of stiff competition. As happens with game consoles.

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MrAnonymity
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:24:16 PM
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Ugh.... the Vita has so much potential, but so few are willing to give it that chance. However, Borderlands 2 hasn't dropped yet, and that could serve as an eye-opener. But... only time will tell. Either way, the Vita should not be abandoned.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:44:52 PM

Yay...a port of a 2year old game I've already put 200hrs into. The Vita needs more original content. I'm not looking to replay games on a smaller screen.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:25:31 PM
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I actually think games like Assassin's Creed work great for a mobile platform. In that they're loaded with lots of somewhat relaxed objectives. One could collect papers or feathers or do side missions without having to be too invested in a deeply engrossing narrative or uninterruptible "death match" play.
...but that's a different discussion.

I don't think Sony should exit the handheld market, just refocus it's existence. The reason games like CoD and AC have fallen flat on Vita has a ton to do with their lack of quality. Mobile games aren't going to draw in the same kind of heavier spenders as consoles do, so AAA productions for a mobile platform is commercial suicide. This is exactly why I thought Sony should've never campaigned the Vita as a PS3 experience in your hands. Sure, it may feel palatably the same from an interaction or graphics standpoint, but production-wise there's a vast disparity for the most part.


Down the road I see Sony offering a $150 or less mobile solution that is more of a PS family gadget. It'll have good indie support and mobile targeted game offerings etc.
It's marketing and hype would be kept within a bounds that would allow the system to be profitable while being able to keep the mobile Sony base happy.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/16/2014 10:27:13 PM

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Xombito
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:27:51 PM

You hit the nail right on the head.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:46:28 PM
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Sony hasn't invested enough 1st party support for the Vita and it has drastically suffered as a result of it. I also see similarities between the PS3 launch and the Vita launch. The Vita priced itself out of competition and unlike the PS3 it is doomed.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 10:57:14 PM

I think there's only so much Sony can sink into the Vita with AAA titles before it becomes clear they'll be fighting an always losing battle on that front.
That is, seeing that the Vita has pretty much failed at the AAA level by the majority of publishers, for Sony to go in at it alone at this point is just to throw money away. It seems to me smarter for them to start supporting the market with the kind of software that would promise safer returns or less losses.

…but I do still hope they squeeze out at least one, maybe two, big titles a year (Where's my GoW Vita game!). They make for good platform marketing pieces, like for bundle advertising etc.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/16/2014 10:58:12 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:11:25 PM

I fully agree. I was mostly referring to the launch and the year following the launch. Speaking of 3rd party support where is the Resident Evil title we were promised?! The Vita is clearly a failure. For me personally the fact that I own a 3DS but not a Vita says it all. The few games I have played for the Vita I've enjoyed but sadly I don't regret not owning one.

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wackazoa
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:31:57 AM

Why do AAA titles on a mobile need to cost an arm and a leg to produce? If they made the games cost $15-$20 and made them more like DLC then a full game then they could get more out of the game from a handheld perspective and probably sell a few more.

Thats the thing I think Sony is missing. They want to spend big boy budgets on a little boy game. Most mobile games should be about 8-12 hours and the price should reflect that. And most game missions should be 4-10 mins long.

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Crabba
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:01:28 PM
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Why would I buy a separate portable gaming device when I already have a relatively speaking large screen android smart phone with thousands of games, and lots of really great games to choose from for those times when you want to play on the go...

I think dedicated portable gaming is going to be a thing of the past, if Sony should try to capture a share of the market they should at least go for a hybrid smartphone & more powerful gaming device, aka better GPU than what you get in the average smartphone...

Then again, they then have to beat Samsung & Apple in that market, and I'm not sure they'll have much success with that...

In other words: Yes I think Sony should get out of the portable gaming market and focus on their strong side: powerful home gaming consoles!

Last edited by Crabba on 4/16/2014 11:03:25 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:14:08 PM

There are some of us that prefer to play "real" games on the go. Unfortunately for Sony those of us that prefer these type of games on the go are more likely to enjoy them on a Nintendo device.

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SASSYGIRL82
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:08:35 PM
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The vita would be more attractive if u could connect it to an external screen n more games allowed remote play n games like baseball etc didn't require 2 copies to continue from home n away these r what I see as a deal breaker

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ProfPlayStation
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:31:23 PM
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When everyone already has a powerful tablet or smartphone, you have to offer more than a familiar button set on the sides to draw a crowd. The Vita has the unfortunate sense of feeling unnecessary, and simultaneously hits a bit of the same problem that the PSP had, near the start: AAA 3D Action games aren't cut out for the portable domain. They look nice, but people don't generally enjoy playing them there. PSP took off like a rocket with simpler games, like JPRGs or dating sims, and it can still work for those games.

Vita is in a similar, though not as dire, situation to the Wii U. The grandfather user base doesn't feel a strong need to pick it up, the general public isn't interested (or even particularly aware of its existence), and it's just passing time with a steady drip of good-but-not-killer-apps. There's nothing to point at and say, "That's why you need a Vita!" PSP had that at launch with Lumines, which was a very impressive and original game at the time, and only on PSP.

I'm not sure what Sony could do to change this situation in a follow-up portable. Maybe a cheaper price, because Vita comes off as a little too Premium, without a clear premium advantage, when you already have a smartphone/tablet, home console, PC, and so on. And, this is just me, the thing seems really bulky. PSP was slim and sexy looking.

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solidsnakins
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:40:26 PM
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with psnow coming to vita as well remote play they just need some games and lower the price it will sell.

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sirbob6
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 11:48:46 PM
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I vote Sony continues producing handhelds. It provides a platform for smaller developers and niche genres, such as many Japanese and indie developers and rpgs, that is unified and designed for gaming (unlike phones and tablets) without the higher cost of production that comes with primary consoles.

Financially speaking, though not a massive success, both the PSP and Vita have done well overall. The PSP sold very well, over 80 million, and continues to do so in Eastern Europe (~20,000 a week). The Vita outsold every other console in Japan this week, even the 3DS and PS4, and has sold more over its lifetime in Japan than the 360 and WiiU combined.

As a whole, the handheld market does serve as a useful breeding ground for the smaller developers and games. Without the PSP, there'd be no Ready at Dawn. Without the Vita, many JRPGs would be basically dead on Sony consoles (they'd be relegated to 3DS).

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 3:33:33 AM

I think you need to avoid the comparisons and just focus on the Vita itself.

You see, these comparisons are useless. The Vita is not a PSP that thrived when smartphones and tablets weren't yet a thing - and had a monopoly on Monster Hunter - plus was easy to hack.

Its not a console like the Wii U or the PS4 which are currently flopping in Japan - the land of portables and mobiles.

And its not a 3DS, which despite going through a slump this week, still manages to dominate in terms of overall hardware and software sales in Japan - with several games over the million mark. Which is something the Vita has yet to do over there.

We won't get anywhere as long as we go "well, Vita ain't doing so bad if we compare it to X". That's just avoiding the issue that Vita needs help.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 9:11:15 PM

Bonampak, you can't just evaluate the success of a player in a market by measuring it's own level of profitability. When there is competition, you must create comparisons for many different reasons.

Have you ever heard of a SWOT analysis? That, or variations of that, is standard practice. Sizing up how you stack against other players in the industry is a very important piece of the puzzle. It isn't the only part, obviously. But it's really short sighted of you to suggest comparisons in the direct under-hang of the industry are meaningless.

Actually, it's just straight up foolish, if we're gonna call a spade a spade here.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/17/2014 9:11:34 PM

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:16:35 PM

Comparison are useless when the conditions where certain events occurred cannot be repeated. And in this case, it can't be repeated.

The Vita is not living in the same world with the same conditions that the PSP did.

What is foolish is to hang on to the half-baked idea that comparisons can be shoe-horned into any situation. Just for the sake of coming up with a particular prediction. And with the lame excuse that it has to be done that way because there is no other way to predict an outcome.

Lets use facts instead. How about that?

Fact is the Vita is living in a world where smartphones and tablets have taken away almost the entire mainstream/casual audience away from dedicated handheld systems. Fact is the Vita does not have Monster Hunter to make it relevant as the PSP once was. Fact is the Vita uses a storage solution that prevents piracy in a much better way than the PSP ever did. Thus the incentive to buy the hardware for piracy/emulation purposes is just not there.

So the comparison to the PSP is pointless. Because the ecosystem for each system couldn't be more different.

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kraygen
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 12:22:02 AM
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They don't need to abandon handhelds or really anything they've done recently. They just need to provide 1st party support and encourage 3rd party support as well.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 1:07:28 AM
Reply

It doesn't matter if they can't compete at the same level as Nintendo. If they earn a decent enough profit, then the answer is yes. It's always yes if it pays you more money than if you didn't do it.

If it turns out to cause losses, then yeah. Maybe they should duck out.

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ethird1
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 1:34:58 AM
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I love portables. I just want to be able to play these games on the big screen as well. They are doing this on the Wii U!!!

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Dan
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 4:33:09 AM
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As sad as I would be for current owners, selfishly, being an Xperia owner, I would be glad if they would leave the portable console market. As maybe in that case, they would even improve the connection between their home consoles and mobile. I would be pretty sure if they did that, they would even boost their mobile sales quite a bit.

Currently, all they offer on mobile is the PlayStation Store.

For example, I remember once they released the Sony Ericsson Aino. It had the PlayStation remote functionality. It was the only hand-held device (Other than the PSPs) that had the feature. It would be quite awesome, if they re-introduce the feature to their Xperia line.

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trumpetmon65
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 4:44:26 AM
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My Sony xperia z is my portable. Played the remake of final fantasy 4 (or 2, whatever) on it and enjoyed it a lot. The phone is plenty powerful enough for any game I come across. The only thing that bugs me is the "z". What's up with that?

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homura
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 5:11:15 AM
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Maybe Sony portable will end with the Vita because of the rise of mobile games which are more profitable this days (Puzzle $ Dragons).

Even so, Sony can go with the flow by making games for androids and IOS after the Vita's death.

But for now, I'm planning on getting a gen 1 PS Vita in preparation for "Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines".

Go forth over my dead body.

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___________
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 5:18:08 AM
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not at all, the vitas doing so poorly because the same reason every $ony system that does poorly.
$ony just dont know how to put their full weight behind something, they spew up 100 ideas and whichever one sticks they go with.
the vita does not have half the software features it should have, like the ps4 actually.
99% of the games the vita has are crappy ports of ps3 games.
and the final 1% are either sequels of ps3 games like the COD, AC, resistance, KZ games,golden abyss, or pretty boring, repetitive and meh like gravity rush.
only game that i really loved playing on my vita was escape plan that was such a addictively fun game, and the characters were so darn cute!
but now thats available on ps4, so.............

so im not surprised at all the vitas doing poorly, and its not doing poorly because people are contempt with their smartphones or home consoles.
its happening because if im going to invest 400+ bucks on a device, plus 80+ bucks on each game, plus 60 bucks+ on a decent sized memory card which will can only fit 4 or so games, you need A, allot of amazing games to call its own, ie not sequels of ps3 games, nor ports of ps3 games, and B, it needs to have the software and features you expect from that type of device.
i mean it is just ridiculous you cannot hook it up to the TV!
it is ridiculous you cannot place games into a paused state in memory and startup another game, the f*cking PSP GO had this feature!
my 200 dollar crappy refurbished iphone 4 work phone can do that, so why cant a device which cost TWICE as much, and is several years newer, and is a device which is replacing its predecessor who could do it!?

perfect way to sum up the vita, its a pizza with the sauce and half the toppings missing and the toppings that are there are half as good in quality, as well as the half as much in quantity as they should be.
it does not do half as much as it should, and what it does do its not half as well done as it should be.
allot like the ps4 actually!
so whys that selling so well..................?


Last edited by ___________ on 4/17/2014 5:19:12 AM

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MRSUCCESS
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 9:09:58 AM
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I don't even have games on my tablet or phone so if I were to buy a portable device to play games it will definitely be the Nintendo 3DS XL. I'm waiting for a bargain price on the 3DS so I can enjoy those RPGs that will never show up the Vita.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 9:35:37 AM
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On the other hand, Vita has outsold the WiiU, thus far.

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 12:31:01 PM

And the 3DS has outsold the Vita, Wii U, PS4 and X1 combined. By almost double the numbers.

But again, what's the point of these comparisons? How does that help Vita?

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 5:10:44 PM

Turn it around... how do the comparisons hurt the vita?

Fact is, sometimes comparisons help put things into perspective.

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:22:06 PM

It doesn't hurt or help the Vita. That's the problem.

Such comparisons are a useless exercise that does nothing to improve the situation the Vita finds itself in.

The only way it could possibly help, is by easing the anxiety of a few Vita users who could find some comfort in knowing that another system is struggling.

Other than that, such a comparison does nothing to help the Vita. Because that's what it needs. Help.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 10:08:47 AM
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Great discussion, love when that happens :)

I think it's too expensive and after Vita they should focus on their streaming services and bringing available games to portable OS. I don't like touch controls but people don't seem to mind these days.

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wackazoa
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:18:13 AM

I would never want to use the touch controls. Playing demo Vita's I have always tried to stay away from touching the screen. Smears and smudges on my screen piss me off, so why would Iwant to touch the screen to do something then have to pause so I can wipe the screen off?

I dont mind the back touch screen as bad though.

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Bonampak
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 12:37:14 PM

@wackazoa - There are already anti-smudge screen protectors for mobiles on the market. Precisely to combat what you're saying there.

Unless you're eating Cheetos or a greasy hotdog while playing, such screen protectors do work and you don't see any fingerprints or smudges on the screen while using those protectors.

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wackazoa
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 3:32:34 PM

Ah. I was playing a friends for a week and he didnt have one. But yeah I have oily skin. My Iphone has gone through 2 case since I bought it last year cause the screen cover will only hold up so long.

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Harerazer
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 10:43:34 AM
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I saw the title of this article and thought "That's a stupid topic to even discuss" but that was me thinking this idea was a "stop the Vita" option. They should continue to sell the Vita (and stay in the portable market) as long as it make profit for them. Sony is doing a lot of things that we gamers are loving now but the bottom line is that Sony is a business in business to do business. If a department is not (short term or long term) profitable then you should drop it, period. Just because they are not number one or number two in the market doesn't mean to stop. Do you think RC is going to stop selling soda because they're not doing Coke or Pepsi numbers? The mobile market is what's causing these problems and how many cell phone manufacturers and carriers are there? Anyone that thinks there's only room for one or two companies/products in virtually any field is insane. I never wanted a PSP and don't own a Vita yet but I never thought they should abandon all hope simply because Nintendo is king. They just need to "get it" about the market. Portable gaming is NOT shrinking our home console games down to crap games. The portable market feeds on portable games (that can be consumed in small chunks). Who really wants to play 1 40 hour extravaganza (like Uncharted/GoW) on a 4 inch screen anyway? There's a reason Angry Birds, etc sells millions in a week.

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wackazoa
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:14:53 AM
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My issues is that games that should be exclusive to Vita arent. Little Big Planet, Flower, Thatgamecompanies game in the desert...(cant think of the name)

Instead of taking those games to the big boy park they should be playing on the handheld. Also have maybe PS4 exclusive games have DLC for the handheld, not the full game so you can market the Vita like Sony wants to.... as a companion device.

Although, if they did that they wouldnt make the money that so drives the world. So there that I guess.

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Nerull
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:40:50 AM
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I guess it depends on whether the revenues the vita generates manages to balance the associated costs.

As a side note, I feel a tad disappointed because I want pretty much every gaming device to be a resounding success, but portables just don't fit my lifestyle.
Anytime I'm out or on the bus or whatever, I just have mp3 player, that technically can also play video, and that's all I need.

I don't really have the time/money to invest in another platform that I'd rarely ever actually use. I haven't owned a portable since the game boy colour and pokemon yellow.

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Gordo
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:48:15 PM
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Love my Vita. It is my gaming device of choice.

It is a pretty niche product for the hardcore gamer so it's not got the big sales unfortunately. It is a brilliant piece of technology.

Playing Killzone Merc multiplayer or botzone is fantastic. Show me one comparable 3DS or mobile/tablet game and I'll be convinced of not needing the Vita. Until then it's the perfect gaming device for my commute to work and sitting on the bed chilling out whilst the kids are watching TV.

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Robertson_99
Friday, April 18, 2014 @ 2:34:49 AM
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I love the Vita. It has enabled me to play to play (some) of the games I really want to when I'm not within reach of my PS3, but to be perfectly honest, it's not my 'portable' gaming device. and neither is my 3DS. Both of them I play at home, usually in the same room as my PS3 :/ I would genuinely be perfectly happy if these were the last 2 hand-held game devices, and we just got software from now on

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supercham
Sunday, April 20, 2014 @ 12:48:27 PM
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I love my vita but it's sony's fault it's in the state it's in. It has games but those memory cards are too expensive. When you can use any SD card for the 3ds what do think most ppl will choose. Remember you need a memory card for the vita to play anything. Games can't save to game cards like the 3ds. I hope sony wake up and lower the price soon.

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PunkFan84
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 4:18:42 AM
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I honestly would like them to succeed. I bought a Vita and Love it. I just wish they would utilize it more. For example.Dont just let the ios users have the Commander mode app. Put it on Vita, and also the ZombieU game thats on the WiiU I heard it might go to Ps3/4. They could use the vita for the second screen like the WiiU controller. There is plenty they could be doing with this thing if they just took the time to do so.

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