MCV have ran an interview with PlayStation UK MD Fergal Gara and talks to him about a variety of subjects. One of the things on discussion is the 3DS, which Gara says shows that the dedicated handheld market isn’t dead as many would have you believe.
“Well that just shows that playing on a dedicated handheld device has not gone, as many will try to suggest. We want to have a healthy share of that handheld market. But we are playing fairly differently to Nintendo 3DS, when you think that is a dedicated handheld device with a very strong showing amongst kids. Vita is positioned differently. Yes it appeals to kids but also to committed gamers and as a companion device for PlayStation 4. 3DS shows that the sector is still there and that Nintendo is doing very well in it, so there is a market to harness.”
Respected online gaming publication Eurogamer has written an article declaring that the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita are our new Dreamcasts. However, the publication says this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as despite neither achieving commercial success, they both have a good back catalogue of games.
“Commercial success may evade them, but these ailing consoles are future classics.”
“It’s one of the odd phenomena seemingly exclusive to video game fandom that some people really do care. Sales figures are used as self-validation for those that have picked the most popular side, and there’s no shortage of morbid mobs prematurely ringing the death knell for struggling hardware. The strangely partisan behaviour of players who pledge blind allegiance to corporations is a matter for another day, though – what’s important is to forget about all that, and embrace some of those commercial failures while they’re still around for us to celebrate them.”
Apple’s iOS App Store and Google Play experienced huge game sales growth during the third quarter of 2013. This surge in App spending has vaulted these platforms above the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita for the first time ever. Analytic firm App Annie reports that the App Store and Google Play spending on games combined was three times the amount of that on dedicated handhelds in the third quarter of 2013.
“Smartphones’ ease of use, low price point (due to subsidies), and multi-functional use as gaming and primary communications device have given them a ubiquity across a broad demographic that portable consoles will never have.”
“Add apps that are fun and engaging, and that deeper penetration can equate to big dollars for game app developers.”
- Marcos Sanchez, VP of corporate communications at App Annie
Wedbush Morgan video game industry analyst Michael Pachter has told Game Informer that the Nintendo 3DS will continue to thrive despite smartphones and tablets, but the PlayStation Vita will “die a slow, painful death”. Pachter reiterated that Nintendo owns the dedicated handheld space and Sony misjudged the size of the market.
On the state of the PlayStation Vita:
The sales are horrible. My model says the Vita sold 4.2 million last year. It’s a pretty small number and I don’t think they are going to build a business selling 4 million a year — and that number could go down. Vita is a little bit too elegant and a little too expensive. I always feel like I’m going to break it. But then it has relatively few games because they are complicated to make and the market is so small. Very few publishers are spending money to make them. You had Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, that cost Ubisoft a lot. It’s a whole new adventure. Sony will spend the money with their internal studios, but you’re just going to see [Vita] die a slow, painful death.
It’s super high-end in the market; it’s too expensive for a casual gamer. I know that phones are subsidized, but you can get a smartphone for free when you renew your contract. You can get an HTC free, or spend $200 on a Vita. It’s too [hard] to pass up the free phone. They are never going to get the casual end of the market.
On whether connectivity with PlayStation 4 could boost Vita sales:
I don’t quite get it. First they were selling it as a controller, which was lame. I would rather just spend $50 on a controller. They were selling it as a controller because…I have to turn off the game on my TV because American Idol is on and I have to continue my session on my Vita? That’s what a DVR is for, you can watch American Idol later. I think most people who have competing concerns about use of the console versus watching TV have their console on a different TV from where their wife is. I agree those are cool features, but it’s limited.
On the future of Vita and Sony in the handheld market:
There is no future and they couldn’t do any better [than Vita]. The market is what it is because of Nintendo. Nintendo built the market and Nintendo has the best name in handhelds. I just think [Sony] misjudged the size of the market and launched it into this s—storm of mobile destroying the casual end of dedicated handhelds. And Nintendo’s not giving up much share on the hardcore side, because they have three games to every one Sony game, and they are good games.
Online gaming publication Eurogamer has posted hardware sales figures for 2013 in the United Kingdom. The publication says the PlayStation Vita outsold Nintendo’s Wii U in 2012, but members of NeoGAF believe that the site has removed 2012’s sales figures from life-to-date and are talking about the end result of 2013 sales.
Looking just at 2012’s figures, Wii U was out-performed even by PlayStation Vita, despite Sony’s struggling handheld itself falling 41.5 per cent in sales compared to 2012.
2013 Hardware Chart UK
- Nintendo 3DS (including 2DS, XL) – up 4 per cent
- Xbox 360 – down 30.7 per cent
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 3 – down 31 per cent
- Xbox One
- PlayStation Vita – down 41 per cent
- Wii U – up 41.5 per cent
- Wii – down 72 per cent
Jools Watsham from Renegade Kid the development team behind Mutant Mudds and ATV: Wild Ride for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS has chosen his top five games of 2013. Unsurprisingly four out of his top five games are on Nintendo platforms. The games Watsham has chosen are as follows:
- Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- Steamworld Dig
- Super Mario 3D World
Atlus and Spike Chunsoft has revealed a few extra details about Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars. Due for release in North America next Spring, the RPG focuses primarily on nurturing relationships between characters in order to birth “Star Children”.
Taking on the role of the protagonist – named as a “God’s Gift” who overflows with star power – players must build relationships with various heroines to raise their “bond points” so they can create Star Children. Of course, bond points aren’t easy to receive, so players must say and do the right things to please the heroine. There are seven heroines to choose from and each have different strengths and weaknesses. Choosing a heroine who bonds well with the protagonist allows the player to tap into a greater power within the game’s labyrinths.
Along with the details above, Atlus has also announced a special pre-order bonus. For those that purchase the game early, you’ll get your hands on a soundtrack CD, featuring 10 tracks, as well as a special collector’s box for the title. Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars will be released for 3DS and PlayStation Vita in Spring 2014.