Ben's Week In Review: December 1
We've been talking a lot about the PlayStation 4, so let's shift gears just a bit.
I swore I'd never again be drawn into the trap
As time goes on, I find myself not even thinking about Final Fantasy. Any time news shows up pertaining to that series, I tend to gloss over it, mostly because I'll know I don't want to read it. Plus, I don't want to fall into the trap again.
The trap of which I speak is follows: Whenever I see painfully clear signs that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that FF is indeed a shadow of its former glorious self, I attempt to understand Square Enix's side of things. But I never can. It just seems so illogical and irrational from every feasible point of view, including the business side. I hate falling into that trap and yet, here I am again, thanks to the early Japanese sales numbers for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Numbers-wise, it couldn't be clearer. 3 million for FFXIII when there were a very small number of PS3s in Japan; in fact, I think there were only like 6 or 7 million PS3s in Japan at the time, which meant that a ridiculous 1 in every 2 PS3 owners bought that game. That's an insane ratio, by the way. FFXIII-2 dropped to half that number. Lightning Returns falls to under 300,000. And yet, we see evidence from FFXV moving forward that in fact, Square Enix will continue down this same path. Can anyone figure this out? I'm willing to listen to any explanation at this point.
Sony on the Vita's reputation
SCE UK Managing Director Fergal Gara was quoted as saying that the PlayStation Vita is a very much loved and much respected machine." I believe that's an accurate but incomplete statement. It's accurate because I honestly believe that the overwhelming majority of Vita owners will leap to that unit's defense. They may claim the software - particularly the exclusive software - is lacking, and they'd be right, but they still love it. I don't see that many used Vitas at GameStops, do you? Granted, they haven't sold anywhere near well enough but of those who took the plunge, I think a very high percentage does not regret the purchase. I certainly don't. It is indeed a great complement to the PS4, and it's perfect if you've got a lot of time to kill when out and about.
However, it's incomplete because he's really only referring to owners. I don't think he's including everyone who doesn't own one; if you don't own the Vita yet, it's because you don't want it. Hence, how could they "love" it or even "respect" it? The problem is spreading that love and respect around, which is where Sony has been falling flat. I haven't seen much in the way of Vita promotion, unless it's somehow tied to the PS4. Using the PS4 as a late-coming Trojan Horse to get the hanheld into more homes just seems desperate. Bring us the games and many more consumers will respond to the inherent awesomeness of that unit.
Personal gaming update
Speaking of the Vita, if you own one and you haven't tried Tearaway yet, you're definitely missing out. So much fun! My favorite title to date, in fact. I still have to deliver Resogun and FIFA 14 reviews, and now there's Skylanders: SWAP Force sitting here as well. Man, tell me that's not a super huge racket for Activision... It was a brilliant idea to sell physical versions of new video game characters, it really was. Monetizing unlockable characters and tapping into the lucrative toy market at the same time? How could it not earn billions? And don't forget that the games aren't half bad, either. Not necessarily my cup of tea but I'm not 8 years old anymore, either.
I have to try to find a way to finish GTAV before Gran Turismo 6 gets here next week. After that game, though, I'll finally have some free time to play and complete a bunch of games that had to be moved to the back burner during the PS4 craziness. Lastly, I never got the appeal of that Twitch functionality, anyway, but I'm not surprised in the least that people couldn't control themselves. Just sad.
11/30/2013 Ben Dutka