Sony have forecasted 10 million PS Vita units sold this fiscal year, and looking at the numbers it would seem that have around 9 million units more they need to sell in nine months. It's not looking good, but Nintendo have shown with both Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS that slow starts aren't necessarily the end of the prospects of a handheld device.
In this article we take a closer look at some of the methods Sony can use in order to turn things around for what it is without a doubt a very powerful and capable device.
Great games push hardware sales. There's nothing that can help spur hardware sales like well received games from popular franchises. While third parties may benefit from introducing new franchises at the launch of new hardware (to attract a new audience) it is vital that a first party publisher brings out its big guns to lure in early adopters and longtime fans.
Nintendo found this out the hard as they launched Nintendo 3DS with a rather weak line up of first party titles - and it wasn't until The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and later Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land appeared that sales really took off. In Japan, things were also helped on by Monster Hunter.
Obviously, Sony does not any franchises on the level of Mario and Mario Kart, or perhaps even Zelda - but Uncharted was undoubtedly a good choice to help launch the device, yet it wasn't enough to really accelerate sales. This fall they have secured exclusive entries in the Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty franchises - arguably the two most lucrative third party properties out there - and they will be accompanied by fan favourite Little Big Planet and reliable performers like FIFA 13 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Obviously, the first party line up could be stronger. But Sly Cooper and Playstation All-Star Battle Royale are, however, interesting in another way, as they will tie PS Vita closer with Playstation 3.
So what does the PS Vita need in addition to this? Well, calling for Gran Turismo and God of War seems natural, and we're likely to see those announced within a not too distant future.
When we first saw the PS Vita, a game called Ruin was shown that featured cross platform save games between Vita and Playstation 3. And while there are some PSN/PS3 titles, and even retail titles (Sly Cooper and Playstation All-Stars), the more Sony can integrate PS3 and PS Vita functionality the better it is for Playstation fans. Independent developers should be encouraged to release their games on PSN and PS Vita simultaneously and Sony should do everything in their power to make cross platform development as smooth as possible.
While it's still not public knowledge how Sony plan on bundling Sly Cooper and Playstation All-Stars for those wishing to own both versions, we do know that games such as Sound Scapes will be sold as one game, playable on both platforms without extra cost. Giving faithful Playstation 3 players extra incentive to get a PS Vita is definitely something Sony needs to get better at. Extending PSN Plus to PS Vita is another thing that would add incentive, and while this is not bringing in a new audience, at least these sales would help bring more of a positive buzz to PS Vita, that in turn will help sales.
Continue to page two for our views on a possible redesign, new price point, and the a possible wild card.