Maciej Mróz Personal Blog

Because why not

Feb 22, 2012 - 3 minute read - Mobile Technology Game Industry

Is the era of dedicated gaming devices coming to an end?

Today was the day when PlayStation Vita launched worldwide. I had the chance to play most of the launch games already during GDC Europe last August and I think that both hardware and launch lineup are impressive. But I didn’t buy PS Vita on launch. It’s probably a very sad day for Sony, bacause “PlayStation” is my religion (on Facebook, at least :) ).

What happended? I faced the truth - mainstream mobile gaming is already on Android and iOS, and a lot of titles are released every day. I know that every single developer out there is working on these platforms, and they don’t mind selling the game for $1-$5. You can’t possibly deny the trends - these devices are the new player in the console market. Just a few months ago I have written (on this blog) that there’s not much danger to Vita from the iOS/Android camp. I hate to admit that, but I might have been wrong. Yes, phones and tablets might lose on overall experience, but at the same time they win hands down when it goes to price and convenience. I actually found myself playing games on both iPhone and iPad in past six months or so. And I enjoyed doing it, at least for a short while.

Of course it doesn’t mean Vita is dead on arrival. It’s the best portable gaming device Sony (or anyone) could possibly make and a lot of people will buy it. But they will be the most hardcore of the hardcore gamers. Others will settle for the simple and easy solution, sometimes even being fully aware of what they are sacrificing - it all really comes down to the added value. Some cannibalization is bound to happen. Will the remaining group of true gamers be big enough to make PS Vita a viable platform for developers? I hope so. I actually hope that PS Vita will sell a lot more than PSP. If not, we’ll end up with a platform that has 2-3 good releases a year … and that’s my biggest fear. You don’t buy console at launch because of the launch titles only. You buy the console because of the future games. Lots of them. And I am not sure they are coming :(

As a gamer I want truly epic experiences. PS Vita has the potential to provide them, potential that might be lost because of where the game industry is going. We are going towards simpler and shallower games, towards replacing challenge with compulsion loops, and towards freemium as a dominating business model … where’s epic in that?