Sony Was Surprised How Few People Wanted To Make Games For Vita

Illustration for article titled Sony Was Surprised How Few People Wanted To Make Games For Vita

Why is the PlayStation Vita floundering? One reason is that people just weren't interested in developing games for it. At least that's what Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida believes.

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"One thing that was surprising and disappointing to us was the [lower] number of third parties to come out [in support] after launch," Yoshida told Gamasutra in an interview published today. "...In retrospect, there are so many options for publishers now that we cannot take it for granted that our new platform would be supported by third parties, like [it would've been] many years ago."

Also surprising and disappointing for Sony must be the fact that Nintendo snagged Monster Hunter 4 as a 3DS-exclusive. Monster Hunter was a monumental success on PSP, which is one of the reasons Sony's last handheld is still enjoying healthy sales in Japan.

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Yoshida's goal: get more games!

"We've been working harder with our third party relations department to secure more content for PS Vita," he told Gamasutra. "...We are confident that we have the right hardware platform that we have with PS Vita."

PlayStation Vita's biggest challenge: Convincing developers [Gamasutra]

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DISCUSSION

mikefulton
Mike Fulton

Disclosure: I am a former SCEA employee.

First, some people have pointed to the Vita's price. I don't think that's the biggest problem, but it certainly doesn't help. I think easily the biggest mistake was for Sony not to include a phone in the Vita. And having 3G support *WITHOUT* a phone just tells people, "Yeah, we COULD have put a phone in there but we decided you didn't want one."

The price of games and complexity of the games is also an issue. Once upon a time, the mobile gaming market was essentially a subset of the hardcore console market. It made sense for games to be scaled-down versions of the console hits, with (slightly) scaled down prices. But that time has passed.

Game prices are perhaps the biggest problem. The modern mobile gamer is fairly casual in comparison, and is very unlikely to pay $40 for *ANY* game, let alone buy several of them. Sony would be better served abandoning retail sales of software altogether, in favor of an online only App-store style setup. Try to hit a $19.99 (maximum) price point with the usual 70/30% split with developers.

Gamers will buy a lot more games at those prices, and the elimination of the middleman means that both Sony and the developer will bring home close to the same amount they do now, but with a much higher sales volume. Retailers might yelp a bit, but I don't think they're really going to care all that much... the Vita stuff just ain't moving anyway.

And lastly, if Sony really wants to get more developers, how about reducing the number of flaming hoops they have to jump through in order to become a developer? Right now it's quite expensive, for no good reason... what's the point in trying to make a big profit on development hardware if the price turns away a lot of developers who could have created big hits? And there are a bunch of annoying requirements placed on developers, like only being able to access the developer website if you have a fixed static IP address. I can understand wanting to protect proprietary information, but Sony has a warped sense of what information really needs to be protected and what information could be put on Google's home page without really hurting anything.