PlayStation Vita Roundtable
Posted on Wednesday, February 22 @ 13:44:18 PST by Anthony Severino
Q: One of the criticisms of the PSP is that Sony may have focused too much on its multimedia capabilities in the beginning and not enough on the device as a handheld games console. However, with Microsoft having a number of entertainment options on Xbox Live and Apple’s iOS devices having the support of iTunes, does Sony need to develop a substantial multimedia/entertainment strategy for PSN with PlayStation Vita support?
Dale North: Sony may have been ahead of their time with the PSP and its multimedia abilities—a lot has changed since the PSP's launch. Now that streaming video and downloadable music are the norm, a solid strategy for entertainment options is very important. Sony has already announced support for Netflix and their own Music Unlimited service, and it's a safe bet that more options are in the works.
Nicholas Michetti: So long as Vita is compatible with the entertainment options available on PSN, Sony shouldn't need to have more than that. Vita's primary competition is the 3DS, not iOS devices, so Sony should remain focused on delivering games to compete with Nintendo's platform. Most gamers probably aren't relying on their handheld video game console as their primary entertainment delivery device anyhow, and the emphasis on entertainment is much greater for the HD home consoles than on dedicated gaming handhelds.
Adam Dolge: Absolutely. Given the enormous competition from mobile devices, people want everything in one package. In fact, the lack of a phone on the PS Vita may turn some people off, especially those new to gaming devices.
Daniel Bischoff: There’s already been plenty of posturing from Sony in this regard. Renaming the PlayStation Network as the Sony Entertainment Network is a clear sign that big things are happening to the company’s content delivery capabilities. The company already has a massive lineup of music, movies, and games. Partnerships will open an even bigger catalog. We expect to see more on this in the approach to the competitive gadget-shopping season in the Fall.
Q: Finally, Vita’s software is ranging between traditional handheld game offerings and console games in terms of the types of gameplay experience provided and the number of hours each game lasts. Should Vita’s games be striving to arrive at a balance between the two or head more one way than the other? What about more low-cost, 99-cent, iPhone-sized games—should Sony embrace cheaper and more accessible content?
Daniel Bischoff: What Sony should do is continue to cultivate third-party support, delivering downloadable titles that last a handful of hours and range from $5 to $15 in addition to the console-like experiences you can’t find on any other handheld device. While the traditional game developers are working on those, it’d be smart of Sony to push for nearly-full Android capabilities. What if the Vita offered the best of both worlds? What if you could play Angry Birds and Uncharted on the same device? What if you could download both games wherever you were in the world?
Dale North: Vita is unique in that it can cater to both casual and core audiences. While I think developers would be smart to focus on the system's graphical capabilities, connectivity, and new control interfaces, there's always room for the lower-cost, casual-style titles. Sony is likely looking forward to both and anything in between.
Nicholas Michetti: A balance between the two is probably best, with only a rare few opting to be more of a full console experience. Price is a critical factor in the handheld console war, so keeping game prices low is of the utmost importance. Games that are more like full console experiences run the risk of having the full $49.99 price tag, which many handheld gamers would likely be hesitant to embrace. Having some titles that do certainly wouldn't hurt Vita, though.
99-cent iOS games may not be what the community is looking for, but Vita does have a touchscreen and Sony should at least look into bringing some of those iOS experiences over to Vita to see how they perform in sales. At worst, they don't sell and are ignored. At best, though, they open up new possibilities for games and developers on a promising platform. Experimenting with and investigating 99-cent games is something that Sony should be considering, if they aren't already.
Adam Dolge: Sony needs to embrace all kinds of games to provide something for everything. One of the biggest problems with the PlayStation Move is its lack of interesting, more core games. This could be the same problem for PS Vita. Sony should have some balance between large, sprawling games and shorter hits that people can play on their way to work or school. Minis are a great option, but $1 games aren’t a bad way to offer additional content to an ever-changing market.
Editor's Note: Special thanks to everyone who participated. Questions produced by Anthony Severino, Managing Editor, Game Revolution, Sebastian Moss, Managing Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle, and Nicholas Michetti. Final edit by Nicholas Tan, Senior Editor, Game Revolution.For more on the PlayStation Vita, visit http://www.gamerevolution.com/tag/vita
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