If there was one thing that was evident during Sony’s E3 2012 Press Conference it’s that the publisher is struggling to entice third party publishers to create unique experiences for their newest handheld, the PlayStation Vita. While there are still plenty of Vita titles to be excited about, like Sound Shapes, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, many of them either have a console counterpart or are a less fully-featured version of a retail release. Needless to say, Sony is hurting for Vita content.
For Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida, that lack of third party content for the Vita stems from the fact developers are more interested in working on mobile platforms like iOS and Android than for a dedicated gaming device like Vita. Sony is very happy with how the Vita turned out – a strange sentiment considering sales for the handheld have all but halted in recent months – they just wish that more third party developers and publishers would get behind it.
“…Because of the growth of the social/mobile sector, lots of opportunities are being presented to publishers to choose from, and because the social/mobile side is the growing sector in terms of the business now, they are very quickly shifting their development resources to be part of that growing market.”
That isn’t to say that third party publishers and developers don’t see the value in working on a Vita title, they just find the value proposition in the mobile market much more enticing. We all knew that the Vita was going to be the last gasp for Sony’s handheld sector, but we never could have expected them to seemingly abandon the console so soon.
Even the Vita’s biggest competitor, the 3DS, struggled to make a splash at launch, but after a price drop and a few worth-owning titles were released; the company was able to start turning a profit. Vita, on the other hand, has only seen a few must-have titles released, and many of them have been more genre-based propositions.
Something like PlayStation All-Stars or a God of War developed specifically for the Vita might be the way to turn things around, but even that is unclear.
The release of Sound Shapes, the eclectic music/rhythm game from Sony Santa Monica and Queasy, should hopefully usher in a new age of intriguing Vita games, but even those could be considered more niche than your casual gamer is looking for.
Why do you think third party publishers are reluctant to put out Vita titles? What do you think is the must-have title for the handheld?