Thread: Is the PS Vita the Concorde of Handhelds?

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  1. #1 Is the PS Vita the Concorde of Handhelds? 
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    "We're taking a long term and committed view on PS Vita as a platform, just as we did with PS3 and continue to do so today," says Sony Computer Australia and New Zealand managing director Michael Ephraim to the crowd of assembled industry partners and reporters, all bobbing away on a barge on a windy Sydney Harbour. It's an odd place for a launch event. Perhaps it was to make it harder to escape when the "band" arrived to press play on their Macbook.

    "PlayStation Vita is a game changer that will offer unparalleled and uncompromised games experiences that no other handheld device on the market can."

    It may be an entirely unsurprising summary of the PS Vita from a man whose very job involves saying exceedingly positive things about PlayStation products regularly. But with two touch surfaces and a conventional suite of controls, complete with two analogue sticks, the PS Vita can offer experiences no other handheld device can. And it does.


    Like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Case in point.

    It's interesting, then, that the release of the PS Vita is being met, from some angles at least, with so much derision.

    Duke Nukem co-creator George Broussard took to Twitter recently to quip that the "PS Vita launch feels like the last dinosaur showing up to a mammal convention."

    Ignoring the fact Broussard is now perhaps best known for steering the 12+ year development of Duke Nukem Forever and should probably recognise a dinosaur when he sees it, his sentiment is intriguing – and he's not the PS Vita's only detractor. I have peers echoing the same attitude. They can't see the point of the Vita in the world of the smartphone.

    Of course, this argument really falls down at the first hurdle. Naysayers argue that we don't need high-end, dedicated portable gaming devices when we have smartphones and their good-enough 99 cent games. Smartphones rule people's pockets, and handhelds like the PS Vita are obsolete.

    Like that VHS copy of Road House you've been hanging onto.

    But if this is true, why does Canon keep selling cameras?

    Smartphones are killing low-end camera sales. They're nose-diving. But they're nose-diving because the 8-plus megapixel cameras in today's smartphones are more than sufficient proxies for cheap cameras. In the US The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service found that in the first 11 months of 2011 the point-and-shoot camera market had plummeted 17 per cent year-over-year in terms of units shipped, and 18 per cent in terms of revenue.

    However, it also found detachable lens cameras had increased by 12 per cent in units and 11 per cent in revenue over the same period, and that point-and-shoot cameras with optical zooms of 10x or greater had grown by 16 per cent in units and 10 per cent in revenue. Why are people buying these cameras? Most of them probably have smartphones already. Are these people mental? No. They're not.

    These people are buying them because they want to take better pictures, and better cameras take better pictures.

    Why is the Vita a dinosaur? To some the Vita is a dinosaur for the same reason as the 3DS: it's a dedicated handheld games console released after the dramatic rise of smartphone gaming.

    To be fair, if the Vita's a dinosaur, what's the 3DS? A trilobite?

    But this doesn't really take into account how well the PS Vita succeeds as a handheld gaming device. Smartphones are a casual gaming force to be reckoned with. They may rule the marketplace. But the Vita is better at games than a smartphone, just like a digital SLR is better at taking photos than a smartphone.

    Point and click photography is all many people need; when my 18-month-old upturns a bowl of spaghetti on her head a simple snap from my phone is more than sufficient. But a photography enthusiast may not be happy with the camera in a phone. He or she may want more from it.

    Likewise, simple, one-dollar games you play with your thumb and index finder may be all many people are after. Plenty of folk are just after something to pass the time while they're on the train. But some people want better games, just like some people want to take better photos.

    The lack of tactile feel means many genres are just fundamentally unable to be translated to touchscreen gaming without serious compromise. Genres that I like. Genres I look forward to playing on the Vita. Touchscreens are great for games like Fruit Ninja, or Flight Control, or Jetpack Joyride; perfect, even. But they make shooters feel superficial and shallow, and driving games simplistic and limp.

    iOS shooter Battlefield: Aftershock got yanked from sale because of complaints it was crap.

    I think it's close-minded of people to write off the Vita already. When Sony launched the PSP, the most repeated criticism I heard was the fact it only had one analogue stick, or nub, as the case may be.

    "Man, if the PSP had another stick we could play real games," chorused peers and colleagues of mine, some of whom are now very quick to express their disinterest in Vita. "Imagine the possibilities!"

    Now we have two sticks, and yet many of those same people are trying to convince me I don't need any. Aside from a few exclusions I don't really care much for mobile gaming. They're just trinkets to me and they don't hold my interest. I like the idea of handheld, near-console quality games. So I like the Vita.

    If the Vita is undone it will be by the same thing that undid Concorde.

    Stay with me.

    The PS Vita does not represent the same incredible technological achievement as Concorde. Concorde remains a marvel of aviation and certainly one of humanity's most-impressive 20th Century accomplishments. The PS Vita is a handheld video game console.

    In fact, ostensively speaking the two share virtually nothing in common.

    However, it could be argued that what they represent, is actually quite similar. The Vita represents how good handheld games can be. Concorde represents the very pinnacle of air transport, the height of what is (or was) possible. If you wanted to get across the Atlantic, Concorde was the way to do it.

    "You can be in London at 10 o'clock and in New York at 10 o'clock," said British broadcaster Sir David Frost of Concorde. "I have never found another way of being in two places at once."

    Imagine being a passenger on the Hindenburg, on any of the times it didn't burst into flames and crash. It took roughly between 50 and 80 hours to get from Germany to the US in an airship.

    It's the aerial equivalent of a Game & Watch

    The fastest transatlantic flight Concorde made was New York JFK to London Heathrow in 2 hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds from takeoff to touchdown.

    Ultimately, however, Concorde just wasn't viable. People didn't want to pay the extra to cross the Atlantic in three hours. Most people were content to pay a lot less and do it in seven hours, in a subsonic jumbo jet.

    Smartphone apps are the subsonic jumbos of handheld gaming. Cheaper and good enough. One dollar as opposed to 40. Or 50.

    Anomalies like Dungeon Hunter: Alliance on Vita aren't going to help. In Australia Dungeon Hunter is 7.49 on iPhone. On Vita? Well, EB is selling it for $68.

    Something's off...

    Sony continues to reiterate that it is in for the long haul with Vita and plan to support it for a long time. It is happy with the numbers and refutes claims Japanese developers are already jumping ship. But this price situation needs to be nipped in the bud.

    You used to be able to get from New York to London in three hours, but people spoke with their wallets and now you can't. With Vita, you can play near console-quality games with PROPER controls, on a handheld. Right now. You don't need a circle-pad add-on like the 3DS. You don't need to sync a regular controller with it like an iPad. It's one device.

    But if Vita doesn't get to stick around, say goodbye to Uncharted and everything else, just like we said goodbye to commercial travel at Mach 2. Say hello to Angry Birds just shy of the sound barrier.



    source: IGN
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  2. #2  
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    interesting case but the Vita will still succeed. I have an iPhone 4s and play 0 games on it because i think they all suck, and have no story or real content. Also they just drain my battery, my phone is used for texting, browsing, music, and taking pictures. I will always need a real portable console with me like most gamers out there. Dedicated hand held consoles will never die.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    Extremely late comment but
    If the vita was the concord,

    then project Fiona would be the blackbird
    Project Fiona | Razer™ | For Gamers. By Gamers.™
    Last edited by ThEliteCommando; 01-19-2013 at 09:48 PM.

    THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!!
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