It’s still months before Sony’s new handheld is due out in the US, but it’s already not heading in a good direction.
It’s rare for anyone in the industry to make strong statements about a new piece of hardware before it’s released, especially strong negative statements.
Yet Lyle Hall and Matthew Seymour from Heavy Iron Studios, a development group that works mostly on licensed TV- and movie-based games, are slamming it with force.
Hall points to the $299 price point of the Vita, saying consumers will see the Vita alongside the $170 Nintendo 3DS, and there will be no contest.
It could be the whole PS3 debacle yet again, where Sony has a piece of superior hardware that no one wants to buy because it is so far beyond the price points of comparable devices on the market.
Seymour goes even further, saying the Vita will be a flat-out “car wreck.” His rationale is that people don’t want a device that can do only one thing anymore. There is no place for a handheld game platform in a world of iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone, he argues.
These comments are hitting the blogosphere in a way that Sony most certainly can’t be happy about. After all, there are no strong comments on the other side of the fence, in support of the Vita.
Both have salient points. After all, with the 3DS’s lackluster sales, one can only assume the Vita will falter as well. The 3DS, though, was poorly marketed, rushed out the door, launched without all of its features (they were later added through firmware downloads), and was released without any of Nintendo’s standout franchises.
So it’s not necessarily a price issue or a “gamers don’t want a handheld game device” issue as for why the 3DS didn’t sell. If Sony does it right, it could turn the Vita into a success, but it certainly has a lot more to lose than in previous console generations.