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think that Sony should do some soul searching before trying to continue in this market when the Vita finds itself out of date.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