Smartphones rain on Sony PS Vita parade
Pricey handheld console will struggle
Analysts have predicted grim times for the PlayStation Vita, with Sony set to lose money on every unit it sells.
SMBC Nikko Securities analyst Kazuharu Miura reckons the company will sell 2.5 million Vita units by the end of March 2012, but will lose roughly ¥5000 (£40) on each unit, Bloomburg Japan reports.
Miura said the losses could drop to ¥2500 by 2013, but insists these figures are totally dependant on the software Sony launches with the device, a view shared by other market watchers.
Ace Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda said it will be difficult for game-makers to work with a system that has no guarantee of success, so until the device gets a public reaction, developers will be wary. Yasuda also thinks the system has a resolution too advanced to create games quickly, extending development times and making it even longer before good punter-pulling content arrives.
Not shaping up too well for Sony then. Even developers are throwing their hat in the ring, claiming Sony is heading for a costly launch that has little chance of success, GamesIndustry reports.
But Sony is no stranger to losing money on its hardware. For years the company was down on the dollar for every PlayStation 3 unit sold. Fortunes eventually turned around there, though.
But it's handheld consoles we're talking about here, which have taken a battering from the mobile-gaming industry recently. To put things in perspective, the 2.5m Vita units predicted to sell in Q1 2012 is a drop in the ocean compared to the 16.24m iPhone 4s and 7.3m iPads that Apple pushed out in Q1 this year - even more so if you add in iPod Touch figures and sales of Android smartphones.
With a launch price of £280 - albeit for a 3G and Wi-Fi model - the Vita's price point could be a stickler too, but if Sony will in fact be losing money on the console already, by how much can it genuinely afford to lower the price by? Following Nintendo with extreme price cuts may not be a viable option.
The Sony PlayStation Vita will launch in Japan around Christmas. It ships over here in early 2012. ®
Should point out
Nintendo sold 215,000 3DSs in the week after its price cut, and gamers just have to buy three Nintendo titles to cover the loss, then buy another one or two for the Nintendo cash machine to start churning again.
Not much over the four-five year lifespan of the device, and the Vita has a potential 6-8 year lifespan, so a little perspective is warranted...
1. Irrelevant - lots of movie tie ins on iOS. All consoles are locked down by their manufacturers.
2. Really? The sheer volume of games on mobiles would seem to contradict that statement. Infact there are probably more games on iOS/Android than have ever been released on any Sony or Nintendo handheld barring maybe the gameboy.
3. Meh - your only point with any credibilty - but still feeble. Even then poor controls have not stopped 3D shooters becoming one of the best sellers on the consoles in spite of the inferiority of control pads to Mouse/Keyboard.
I think what you meant to say way there will be always those who want a dedicated portable gaming device however a lot of casual gamers who want to waste 10-15 mins at a time would still find a phone suffices.
Once again, the repulsive spectre of the iPhone rears its head. While mobile gaming has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years, due to advances in hardware and screen resolution, I really don't see mobile phones obsoleting the 3DS and Vita anytime soon. Three reasons spring to mind:
1) The Apple "lockdown" thing. Many gaming titles are cross platform, even when it comes to mobile gaming. The latest garbage movie tie-in always spreads itself across as many system as possible, like a fat man on a sofa. It's to see the studios agreeing to have their gaming cash cow purely on one system only.
2) iStore, Amazon, et al: Developers tend to make precious little from sales as it is without Apple or Amazon's App Stores taking a hefty chunk of the proceedings from any title sale.
3) The big one: Controls. Controls. Controls. Ever wondered why the majority of titles for mobile phones tend to be quirky games such as puzzlers, casual games and strategy? Its for the simple reason that touchscreens are awful for anything fast paced. Can you imagine trying to play something like Street Fighter 4 using only a touch screen? Or perhaps a snowboarding game where you have to enter a hundred and one different button presses to pull off that amazing combo in mid air? Even if it were possible to enter commands that quickly and have everyone register exactly the way the gamer intends, you wouldn't be able to see half the action on the screen because your fingers are in the way!
Example: I bought a game called Sky Force on my Android phone. It's one of those vertical scrolling shooters that were in vogue back in the 80s, when I were a nipper. The graphics and sound are fantastic, the power system is good, bla bla bla, but I always end up getting stomped by things flying from the bottom right of the screen where my hand blocks the view.
More than that though, have you ever tried playing a game on a phone for a long period of time? Its a fantastic way to end up with your wrist and hand in agony for hours afterwards? Something with an involving storyline will have me playing for hours on end (say FF IV on the DS or Castlevania on the PSP). My hand would not physically be able to do that with a touchscreen on a phone due to the ergonomics involved.
So please, can we finally ram a stake through the ever recurring idea that mobile phones will be the death of the DS and PSP? Not in their current form they bloody won't.
PS: This argument applies equally to both Apple and Android fanbois, so you can both shut the hell up.
I'm guessing the reason why it isn't being used is that the GSMA wouldn't like it (yet). Even Apple may have difficulty getting that idea agreed.
kids and smartphones
Umm, how many parents will spend £800+ on a smartphone contract for a child exactly? A £230 one-shot deal, while still pricey, seems a better deal.