Sony's struggling PS Vita handheld gets swept under the rug at E3 press conference
Sony's newest gaming handheld has not set the world on fire sales-wise, being overshadowed in a smartphone and Nintendo-dominated market. A lack of games resulted in lower-than-expected sales for the 3DS, and Nintendo righted the ship by lowering the price and, more importantly, releasing games for the system. Since then, the 3DS continues to outpace the DS in overall sales, and has seen a steady stream of new releases to keep the momentum going.
The PS Vita is in that same boat now, struggling to gain hardware sales due to a high price tag and a lack of games to make the system worth it. Sony's E3 press conference was the perfect time to give the PS Vita a jolt of good news and restore faith in the system.
So why didn't they announce a bunch of games for it? Nintendo's going to have a full-hour conference on Wednesday dedicated to 3DS software. And here's Sony sweeping the PS Vita under the rug. Sure, we saw an Assassin's Creed spinoff, a Call of Duty title, and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, but we already knew these games were coming. Heck, PlayStation All-Stars is just a port from the PS3, so how well will that sell? They're hyping the cross-play functionality with the PS3, but will gamers spend the money to do that? Where were the surprise games? PlayStation One games to be available for download is nice, but how far will that take Sony with their high cost of proprietary memory cards?
A price drop wasn't announced, and with Sony's current dire financial situation I didn't expect one. But at this point, they need one if they want hardware sales. Because if the system doesn't sell, then why would developers feel the need to make games for it?
It's a funny thing, really. Vita means life, yet, Sony seems to be placing the system on its deathbed.
UPDATE: Apparently Sony has been making PS Vita-related announcements after their conference. Need for Speed: Most Wanted will arrive, as well as a Madden 13 PS Vita bundle with a 4GB memory card included. Other games are slowly being revealed. Why these weren't mentioned during the conference I do not know. Sony's not sending the right message when thousands are watching it and the PS Vita is ignored.
Other press conference highlights
Quantic Dream, the maker of Heavy Rain, announced their new title, Beyond: Two Souls. The photo-realistic game will feature Academy Award-nominated actress Ellen Page as the character Jodie Holmes who can reach out to the "other side." It's graphically impressive, and shares the same qualities that made Heavy Rain so critically acclaimed.
Gameplay of PlayStation All-Stars was shown, featuring Sony characters beating the heck out of each other. It's a plain ripoff of Nintendo's wildly successful Super Smash Bros. franchise, and Sony doesn't seem to care about that. One of the characters is Fat Princess, a chunkier version of one Princess Peach. How desperate for characters is Sony? Big Daddy was announced as one, who is part of the BioShock franchise, which is multi-platform, a.k.a not exclusive to Sony.
Another look of Assassin's Creed III was shown, this time focusing on an action-packed naval battle. Wonderbook was officially announced, a PS Move title aimed at getting kids to have more fun reading. The first "book" will be Book of Spells, helped created by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. A live demo with painful technical hiccups was shown, waving the Move controller like a wand to create spells.
God of War: Ascension showed Kratos beating enemies to a bloody pulp. Finally, Sony showed a live demo of Last of Us, featuring more bloody beatings of bad guys that got the audience cheering.
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