Here, we talk about the tale of two handhelds.
Reports of the Vita not being released in 2011 here in North America (and anywhere else other than Japan) were hit with quite a storm. Despite the fact that Sony had told its consumers at E3 that they were hoping for a 2011 calendar release, it seems that they were unable to do so. Even though I’m a pretty big Nintendo fan, I don’t really have anything against Sony. Sure, Jack Tretton can be a pretty big d*ck hurling insults at all of his competitors, and sure Sony fanboys are the worst fanboys of ANY company (sure, the back touchpad is cool and all, but seriously, it’s not going to revolutionize the way we play games), but Sony’s not that bad of a company and I still enjoy the plethora of titles available on my PS2. That being said, I think the recent news about the PSV is quite a topic to talk about, despite the fact that my blogs are focused primarily on the 3DS.
The relationship between the 3DS and the PSV is quite interesting. In a way, they’re enemies, competing against each other. In a way, they’re allies, trying to prove to the public that there is room for dedicated handheld gaming devices.
In case you’ve missed the news, the PSV is confirmed to be released in 2011 in Japan, and early 2012 everywhere else. This would leave the holiday season all to the 3DS, with big name titles like Mario Kart and Kid Icarus coming in with it.
So what exactly does this mean for the PSV?
Obviously, Sony is missing out on a lot of stuff by not being able to release the PSV by Christmas. Not only that, but they’re releasing it in Japan, the only place in the world where its predecessor, the PSP, can actually be described as “thriving.” By killing the PSP and introducing the PSV, Sony is actually taking quite a risk. But knowing Japan, the PSV would probably sell without a problem.
But in America and Europe (and Australia), things are a bit different. As far as what’s been announced, many of the “launch window” titles for the PSV are PS3 ports. Add that to the fact that the PSV’s target audience is about the same as the PS3, Sony might actually be hurting themselves. What Sony needs to do is to make sure that the differences between the PS3 and PSV versions of the same game have a big enough difference, which a few more months after December would allow, though I still don’t think someone would buy both versions of the same game (more people probably would rather play it on a large HDTV).
Though surely Sony is using these few extra months to make sure that it will have adequate launch titles, unfortunately, I see the PSV fall into the same path as the 3DS. You miss holiday season, start selling your system with a lackluster lineup of several ports and several original titles, get one or two stand-out titles, and then you get a huge drought. Sure, things might look better after a while, but I expect the first few months of the PSV to be a bit rough. And then come holiday season, and maybe we’ll see some new titles arrive, just like what the 3DS is doing now.
In the mean time, as for this year’s holiday season, it looks like Nintendo is taking full advantage of attracting customers with a now attractive price, major software releases, and the lack of direct competition.