Technology changes rapidly. Most businesses (should) project for a total tech realignment roughly every three years. However, this change can be hard to predict.
In the mid-to-late 2000's, the gaming industry witnessed a slew of popular mobile gaming. The Nintendo Dual-Screen allowed for reverse-compatibility of Gameboy Advance games, while bringing wireless ad-hoc gaming for bigger hits such as "007 Goldeneye: Rogue Agent". The Playstation Portable had titles such as "Burnout: Dominator", "Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines", and "Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception" that rivaled the home platform.
At this time, cell phones were transitioning from flip-phones (such as the RAZR) and slide phones to more of a "Blackberry" style phone. Apple's take on the phone, the "iPhone", was released to markets and drove development for hundreds of large company games – everyone from Square Enix to Ubisoft to EA and Activision-Blizzard had some sort of game for it from 2008-2010. It seemed that the future of gaming was in the mobile device.
Sony's design of the Playstation Vita follows this logic. The central processor (CPU) and graphics processor (GPU) design is based on cell phone architecture (even utilizing the same APU design as the iPhone). While cell phones were bulky and expensive, often with contracts, the Playstation Vita brought a cheaper platform for gaming and cell usage. Some bundles even incorporated 3G cell service – in the US with a 2-year Verizon contract; NTT Docomo in Japan.
When it came out in 2011, however, the mobile market had shifted. Google's rival platform, the Linux-derivative Android OS, being utilized by many phones for a standard platform for gaming. Additionally, the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent recession (known as the Great Recession) had greatly reduced the spending capacity of customers. Large developers and publishers, concerned over potential flops to the market, turned back to focusing on generating "safe" games for consoles (and PC) that would be more likely to produce a return of investment compared to the fractured market.
In 2012, the Vita was in a crisis: without production of games by large publishers, and with no reverse-compatibility for Playstation Portable Universal Media Discs (UMD), the company had to retool it's use. In addition to attracting small publishers, the focus became "remote-play" with the new Playstation 4 (released November 2013). However, the system was effectively dead in the water in the US markets. Nintendo would survive by producing in-house games for the 3D Dual Screen, such as Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and Mario Kart.
I created this to share what I had noticed with the Vita and game development when reviewing popular games for mobile systems. What other trends have you noticed? Other perspectives on the Vita that I may have missed?
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© Post "Sony’s PS Vita attempt on capturing mobile gaming, and other trends that did not happen" for game Gaming News.
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