It seems like almost everyone has an iPhone, iPod or iPad these days. I actually had one of the early iPods back in the day. That thing was a brick, but I loved it. Now it seems that maybe I would love the Vita in the same way, if we believe PlayStation UK’s Managing Director, Fergal Gara.
Speaking with VG247, Gara explained that they’d hoped for higher sales of the Vita, but that the market is complicated:
In all honesty, higher sales would have been what we had hoped for. The market Vita entered was more complicated than it was when the console was originally thought about and designed. Games on tablets and phones have changed the marketplace and people can’t carry too many things around at one time.
The truth is that the number of people that want the core experience [that Vita offers] is not as big as the number that simply want any sort of game available on the move and, because the likes of a tablet and smart phone are so multifunctional in their use, they will always be very appealing.
Really, I think the reason it hasn’t sold more is that it comes down to people thinking: ‘Do I need it as well as these other things that are taking my money?
So, the Vita has fallen into the “yet another gadget” pigeon hole. Gara goes on to say that the link with the PS4 was planned during Vita development so that their architectures would be compatible. While the Vita and PS4 can stand alone, they can also work together to form a common gaming ecosystem. Just as purchases of iPods helped to make iTunes a major player in the music industry, it appears the the Vita will also be a game changer (I hate that expression, but oh the irony):
Compared to PS3, Vita has had a higher percentage of games bought digitally since it was first launched. It’s interesting and it demonstrates how many people look at it as the iPod of handheld gaming. More Vita games are still consumed through physical game cards than they are through digital, but things are increasingly moving the other way. Could be that in future physical games becomes the side we do without.
I certainly wouldn’t mind owning a PS Vita, mainly to play awesome indie games on handheld. It seems like a cool platform, and would certainly help me make greater use of my PS Plus subscription. I already have a Wii U, and the PS Vita is outselling that floundering console, so maybe I’ll get the PS Vita next. Or maybe I’ll just buy a shiny new iPad Air instead.