It's been an ongoing debate for the last couple of years at least about whether iOS and Android devices have completely taken over the portable gaming market to the point that gamers no longer want or need a dedicated handheld gaming device like a 3DS or a PSP. It is kind of easier to just haul your phone with you everywhere instead of adding in a gaming handheld as well, especially since so many "hardcore" games have been and are currently being ported over to iOS and Android.
Gamasutra interviewed Sony's CEO about the state of the portable gaming market to get Sony's feel on what was happening and what they were seeing from their own poor sales of the Vita in Japan. Andrew House's response?
Normally we don't really reference the competition a lot when we talk about the PlayStation business, but in this case it's perhaps a little salutary that the sales of the 3DS have been exceedingly good. I think that shows that there is, in general, a lot of demand for a gaming primary portable device, which is how I would describe Vita.
Mr. House further went on to say that the Vita has so much more to offer over the 3DS.
What I think we've done is point to a market that has really started out with potentially casual games on other devices, but now wants a deeper or better or more premier gaming experience.
Time will inevitably tell. I personally want the Vita to succeed in the US when it launches on February 22nd. It has a far better software launch lineup that PlayStation portables of the past, and if they want to tout that the Vita offers a deeper and better gaming experience, they need to keep those big name titles coming. I still haven't decided if I'm going to pick one up on release date or not, but I'm sure the gadget whore in me won't resist for too long.