Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 13, 2014

Email: Sony blames poor Vita sales on tablets and smartphones

Figured you’d get a laugh out of this.
The rise in popularity of mobile games for tablets and smartphones has negatively impacted the sales potential for dedicated gaming devices like the PlayStation Vita, Sony has said.
By that logic, then shouldn’t the 3DS be selling just as poorly?
Then again the same Nintendo naysayers claim the WiiU’s doing badly because the casuals gravitated to tablets and smartphones.  Yep, this is going to be Sony’s last handheld device.

I don’t think of Sony consoles as consoles. I’ve always thought of them as ‘dumbed down PCs’. They’re like Steam Boxes as if Valve Corporation was able to sell them all at a loss.

Back in 2004, the PSP did sell well at first. While the game library was OK at first, much interest in the PSP was due to its ‘large screen’ which could play movies, music, and even browse the Internet. I think it is safe to say that the interest in the non-gaming aspects of the PSP was a precursor to the mobile PC explosion to come.  The third generation iPod Nano, which could do video playback, was released in September of 2007. While the DS beat the PSP fair and square in the market, the PSP’s non-gaming features of video playback, music, and Internet were being taken by the mobile PCs rising with the smartphones.

I don’t think it is the mobile games that has hurt the Sony handheld so much as the mobile PCs. Who cares if the Vita has video playback? So do our phones. Who cares if the Vita can go to the Internet? Our phones have browsers on them. The Vita can play back music? So can our phones. Much of the value of the PSP was with those non-gaming elements. I would say that such value was eroded from the PSP as mobile PCs absorbed them. When it came down to the Vita, one only thinks of the device in the context of games as opposed to games + movies + music + Internet like the PSP had when it launched.

Nintendo consoles do not intentionally try to conduct PC features. Nintendo, being a game company and not a general electronics maker, makes devices that are focused only on games. So when the Nintendo handheld and mobile PC meet, you can only compare the games (and mobile PC’s games are absolutely terrible). Nintendo consoles do not lose value if the mobile PCs can play videos, music, and browse Internet. Sony consoles, however, do lose value since Sony is trying to make the consoles be the device that ‘does everything’.

I think it is only a matter of time before Post PCs evolve to a point to absorb all the Xbox and PlayStation values. Both Microsoft and Sony are more in the PC side of business. They are not gaming companies.

Ever notice how in Generation 8 that we refer to home consoles entirely on games? Last generation, the talk was all about Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and Internet streaming. Maybe in Generation 9, no one in the Game Industry will talk about consoles doing ‘social media’ like Facebook, MySpace, MyButt, etc.


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