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.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the winner of VGX’s “Best Handheld Game.” The game was up against three other Nintendo 3DS games – Pokemon X and Y and Animal Crossing: New Leaf – as well as one PlayStation Vita game, Tearaway. Animal Crossing: New Leaf won in the “Best Casual Game” category, however, and was chosen over Disney Infinity, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time and Skylanders Swap Force. Meanwhile, the “Best Nintendo Game” was awarded to Super Mario 3D World, which was favored over Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and Rayman Legends.
Respected tech enthusiast site Digital Foundry has experimented to see whether the PlayStation Vita Remote Play is anywhere near as good as the Wii U tethered to the Wii U GamePad. The publication states that while it’s a neat concept, the Vita Remote Play simply isn’t as good as using the Wii U with the Wii U GamePad. Here’s what they had to say.
“It was perhaps a bit much to hope that Vita Remote Play could match up to the Wii U GamePad, or even Nvidia Shield’s performance. Nintendo built its system around its controller – ultra low latency was built into the design, while Vita Remote Play simply doesn’t have that priority for Sony.”
However, whether we’re talking about image quality, latency, frame-rate – or the simple fact that 1080p gaming doesn’t always translate well to a five-inch screen – we couldn’t help but feel that we were getting a less than ideal experience, and that nothing compares to just picking up the Dual Shock 4 and playing PS4 games in the conventional way.