Sony’s focus must no doubt be on its upcoming PlayStation 4 release in a few short months, but that doesn’t mean that the Japanese firm isn’t keeping an eye on its other product lines at the same time, and its recent announcement of a price drop for the PlayStation Vita is a prime example of that fact.
Announced yesterday, the price drop sees the Vita fall to $199 – a price point that Sony will hope is low enough to kickstart the platform’s somewhat lackluster performance to date. Will a lower price be enough to make mobile gamers plump for the admittedly powerful, and technically impressive Vita? Maybe, maybe not.
It’s arguable that the reason the Vita hasn’t set anyone’s underwear on fire is that people don’t play mobile games anymore.
Of course, that’s not true in even the most deluded of minds. Mobile gaming is booming, and it’s making developers both large and small huge sums of money in the process. The problem is, these games aren’t running on PlayStation Vita handhelds, or even Nintendo 3DS machines. Instead, these hugely popular games are being sold in massive numbers across the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Mobile gaming isn’t dead, it’s just been reincarnated.
Smartphones and tablets are where gaming is hottest right now, and given the fact that we all own handsets that can play some extremely sophisticated games it’s easy to see why people aren’t rushing to hand over their hard earned money in exchange for a Vita. With the likes of Real Racing 3 looking absolutely gorgeous on a Retina-equipped iPhone or iPad, do we really need a nondescript racing title on a Vita? One that costs ten times as much, no-less.
And that’s perhaps the real issue here. Gaming on iOS and Android costs peanuts when compared with Vita titles. Yes, the so-called hardcore gamers will want to play Gran Turismo, and they’ll happily spend whatever it takes to do so. The problem is the middle ground, the people who game every once in a while, and are happy to dip in and out of their gaming experiences. These people aren’t rushing out to buy ‘real’ handheld gaming machines because what they have already is ‘good enough.’ Real Racing 3 may not be Gran Turismo, but it’s ‘good enough.’ It’s free, too. Is Gran Turismo free?
Until now those hardcore gamers have been enough to carry things along nicely, but times are changing. With everyone looking to spend less and less on what they deem to be luxuries, any platform offering a great gaming experience at a fraction of the price is always going to be popular.
Right now, that’s iOS and Android, not Vita.