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Sony: Vita Proving To Be A "Niche" Device

Right now, many would agree that the PlayStation Vita is a question mark.

Interestingly, Sony has called it a "niche device" and people who appreciate it have an "eclectic taste in games." This is what Sony UK managing director Fergal Gara told MCV in a recent interview.

He admits that smartphones and tablets have diminished the appeal of the snazzy portable, but he still maintains that the Vita offers a richer, deeper experience. He also wanted to clarify that just because he used the word "niche," that doesn't mean the Vita's audience is small:

"Vita is proving to be a big niche device. Using the term 'niche' makes it sound tiny, but it's not. The console is occupying an interesting space for interesting games built for more committed gamers. Yes the market place for it isn't as big as it might have been had smartphones not arrived, but it is still a more thorough, more complete experience.

And it is therefore appealing to people with a more eclectic taste in games. And many of these indie developers are proud to be on the platform. All of this is before we even talk about its role alongside PS4, which is clearly exciting and we seeing some good results from that."

That Remote Play functionality hasn't gone over exceedingly well with consumers, although some really like it. Perhaps as more games become available for both the PS4 and Vita, this is a feature that will rise in popularity. Gara did concede that the Vita is "lacking in upcoming AAA games made specifically for the system," and in my opinion, this is the single biggest issue facing the handheld right now.

As for it being "niche," I don't know...would we have considered the PSP "niche?"

Tags: vita, playstation vita, sony, vita games

3/13/2014 11:32:45 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 11:50:06 AM
Reply

Handheld sales are doing just fine. The issue with the Vita is there aren't enough games. That's the reason the 3DS is destroying it. Put more original content on it and more gamers will check it out. It doesn't help that it uses expensive storage (something we always got on MS about) and was poorly marketed.

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Underdog15
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 12:36:34 PM

Exactly. And it isn't just more games, either. 3DS has some pretty stellar titles.

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Lord carlos
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 1:43:07 PM

i miss memory card duo

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Axe99
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 4:59:46 PM

I'd probably agree it's niche these days, but not in a bad way. It's an excellent portable gaming device, with a great range of games (really, only someone who _only_ played portables, and did it a lot, wouldn't have enough for it - anyone who played another system, or played a Vita but only 5 5 or so hours a week, has plenty enough on the system for them).

I also think that part of it's problem was that the Vita launched when Sony's image was fairly low - the casual handheld market was on DS, the casual mainstream market was on Xbox. If the PS4 picks up steam, it could well carry the Vita along with it a bit.

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Bonampak
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 11:36:47 PM

@Axe99 - Sony's image had anything to do with Vita not catching on.

The problem was that Sony failed to support the system from the get-go. The system wasn't even a year old and Sony failed to promote it in a meaningful way at E3 (in their presentations). And their 1st and 2nd party devs were dragging their feet to support it (most teams refused to work on Vita games).

People won't buy a system that they don't know if it exists. That's the same problem the Wii U has. To this day, most people think the Wii U is an add-on or peripheral for a dead system (the first Wii).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 12:10:37 PM
Reply

He's right, it has some unique experiences (Gravity Rush, Trigger Happy Havoc) that are what I consider real games as opposed to smart phone crap.

It was a mistake to sell it as a AAA console on the go, they should stick to the unique experience route. For me the backwards compatibility with PSP and PS1 makes it worth owning.

If they wanna sell more though, just make a damn way to play the games on TV for us westerners. Most people want to play at least a couple of Vita games but don't like portables enough to buy it.

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Underdog15
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 12:37:14 PM

True. I still use my PSP to this day. Right now, I'm nearing the end of Disk 3 in Final Fantasy IX.

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firesoul453
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 12:44:12 PM
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Part of the problem is the vita would cost the average user more than double that of the 3ds

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Beamboom
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 1:11:31 PM
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That's what I've always said they should consider it to be, and adjust expectations to. It's most definitely a niche device in todays market.

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ethird1
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 1:28:26 PM
Reply

Every game I have on the Vita, and that is 2 30 gb cards full of games, I would rather play on my ps3.

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Lord carlos
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 1:39:58 PM
Reply

I hear the vita is picking up steam in the land of the rising sun since the PS4 launch!
Now release a vita/PS4 bundle for 2015!

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gumbi
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 2:37:40 PM
Reply

I'm still a little heartbroken that we never got the remote play they advertised with Vita on PS3. It was a big factor in my decision to buy the Vita at launch. I'm still a while off buying a PS4, too many ps3 games to catch up on first.

I'll stand by it's quality though, the Vita is a stunning piece of tech. Gravity Rush is still one of my favourite games of the past few years, and I'm really looking forward to a sequel.

There's also a really good chance that I'll be buying FFX HD for both Vita and PS3 next week, since it supports cross saving. It's too bad it's not a cross buy game, that would have been great.

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 5:13:07 PM
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That is a very polite way of saying the console isn't doing well...

I have a genuine question here... Are there any Vita games planned for this year? The last notable title I can think of was Tearaway. But I honestly cannot think of any titles for the console at all... There is Final Fantasy X/X-2 but I intend to get that for the Playstation 3. I'm still content with my PSP for a portable console and have yet to see any reason to upgrade to a Vita.

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 3/13/2014 5:14:44 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 6:59:24 PM

I'm gonna review The Witch and the Hundred Knight soon

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PlatformGamerNZ
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 5:36:20 PM
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i think it's just that it appeals to a certain type of gamer and there just isn't a huge amount of them in the world at least it appears that way on the surface i have one but like i say in the spectrum i and we are a minority.

happy gaming =)

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johnld
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 5:36:24 PM
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just a heads up, since my user cp doenst seem to work on vita, look up catherine game on ps store. i noticed it didnt have a price so i checked the page. it asks me to pick a version, buy it or rent it for 1, 7, or 30 days. all the rental options were free too. im checking what else games arelike this right now.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 9:02:25 PM

johnld,

Hey, thanks to you, I just picked Catherine up on a 30 day rental
(and it's the 1st time in 61 years that I've ever rented a woman without them demanding some kind of lay-a-way plan,LOL)

Please do let us know if you've found any more of these "Lil gems" too.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/13/2014 9:04:54 PM

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BikerSaint
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 9:58:00 PM

johnld,

Just an FYI, Catherine has rejected me.

When I had gone into the PSN, it Ok'ed me to do the 30 day rental, but once I left & checked my download management files, it wasn't in there.
So I went back to re-load it again, but now the PSN won't even allow me to snuggle up with Catherine at all...not even for just 1 night.

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Tim Speed24
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 5:57:12 PM
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I'm not sure a lot of the PS4 owners know you can remote play the PS4 games on the Vita. It works quite well, by the way.

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qx512xp
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 8:17:08 PM
Reply

My vita been collecting dust forever.
I'm going to get rid of it soon.
Got no games that I really like to play on it

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 8:22:34 PM

Do your Vita a favor, then, and release it to someone that will enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.

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Robertson_99
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 10:26:22 PM
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It started promising. Launched with Uncharted, quickly followed by CoD and Resistance, both of which were OK at best. It has FIFA, but they just launched exactly the same game three times which an out of date engine. It needs some massive titles for the Vita exclusively.

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___________
Friday, March 14, 2014 @ 4:29:40 AM
Reply

the market may be smaller now than it was without smartphones, but that not the thing hurting the vita most.
the biggest problem with the vita is yes it does offer more complete experiences, but you dont really want them when your out on the go.
my 3DS a perfect example i absolutely adore zelda games, given the choice at home id play zelda 100 times before i would touch a mario game!
but on the go its the opposite, on the go you cant have the volume turned all the way up so you can hear whats going on, you start and stop playing so you forget the story, you forget your quests, you forget which items you need.
zelda is a terrible game to play on the go!
whenever i would play a vita game it was the same, always LBP or MNR over golden abyss even though thats the much better game.
i always found myself going to something quick, simple, and fun, not the convoluted in depth story masterpiece experience.
you dont really want the immersive experience of a console title, and you kinda cant have it, because of whats going on around you.
your on the bus so you pull out the vita to kill some time, but you have to keep a eye on your surroundings so you dont miss your stop.
your waiting in line for whatever, so again you pull it out to kill some time, but again you need to keep conscious of your surroundings.
you cant have the immersive encompassing experience that separates the vita from smartphones anyway because you need to keep stuck in your world so to speak.
the only time you want to get away from your world, is the time your relaxing at home, and at home why not use that big screen, more comfortable controller, and more powerful system?
and that leads onto the vitas second biggest problem, it NEEDS games of its own!
ONLY reason i played golden abyss is because it was a vita exclusive so i actually played my vita late at night instead of playing my ps3, and im glad i did because i loved it!
but had it been on the ps3 i would of never bought a vita.
so when you think about it, i guess the vita kinda is very niche, because there are very few rare circumstances where you would be able to enjoy those few extra things it offers you over other portable systems.


Last edited by ___________ on 3/14/2014 4:36:25 AM

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tusunami
Monday, March 17, 2014 @ 9:26:12 PM
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I have had a PS Vita since it came out and at first I was disappointed with the support of 1st & 2nd party games. But now with the indie developers getting on board for the platform I am very happy to own it. There is definitely a lot of depth on the PS Vita compared to when it 1st came out. And with the remote play a incredible feature I must say so myself. And also for those complaining about the memory card price that would be the hackers fault for the exploits that happened on the PSP. So I can see why Sony had it where you could only get a memory stick from them.

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