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Game Developer Voices Concerns Prior To Vita's Launch

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Actually, two developers from Heavy Iron Studios have voiced a bit more than just "concerns." In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, terms like "car wreck" and "people don't want it" were thrown around. Of course, it's easy to take big statements like those out of context: What they're talking about is whether there's an audience for a $299 US portable gaming device. After all, the 3DS' $249 price-tag is one of the major factors that's been blamed for the system not meeting Nintendo's own targets - and clearly Nintendo has come to agree. But more than just arguing over the price point, Heavy Iron president Lyle Hall reported that while he is impressed with the Vita's tech, "I just don't know there's a market out there any more for the hardware. I can't see why you would want to put a device out that only does games." The worry is that iOS and Android are finally in a position to muscle gaming-only devices out of the market. Coincidentally, today Google announced that it's buying Motorola, inching the American giant closer to the handheld market.

We've discussed whether Apple and Android really are taking a bite out of Nintendo and Sony's pie here already, but the landscape has changed just in the last six months. Hearing a developer express these doubts so openly, one wonders whether others are keeping quiet but feeling the same thing (look at the number of games available for the 3DS). Regardless of whether or not iOS and Android actually are competing with traditional gaming handhelds in the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere, if developers believe they are that may stifle game production for those handhelds - and that's a serious problem for Sony and Nintendo.

[via Eurogamer]

3 Comments

Draz said:

I would like to argue that android, ios, and I guess in some capacity or another wp7 are not taking a bite out of the dedicated portable gaming market... yet the last portable gaming device I bought was the DS phat.

With me I think the portable gaming device made a ton of sense when I was younger. There were plane rides, car trips, or just being flat out bored and the gameboy was there to fill the time in well. As I've gotten older that time has been replaced with reading a book on plane rides, I'm doing the driving on the car trip, and if I'm bored it probably means I'm trying to avoid briefing a case.

Now the problem is those who were in my age group probably already plopped down 300 for a high end phone that does facebook, twitter, the internet, AND a little bit of gaming at the same time. And I think that really could be the problem. In an environment where someone can fill their free time with social networking, youtube, or some other form of perpetual connectedness to the internet is there really a reason to whip out a 3ds or vita anymore? I'd still love to get a 3ds and play starfox or zelda on it, but at the same time I know my time is spoken for, much like the target audience as well.

If anything I would say nintendo and sony need to be aware of their markets. Home consoles can make a argument for themselves since they fill multiple niches, gaming, video, music, hell even facebook and twitter now too. But a single dedicated device with a high price tag... that's a hard battle.

KC said:

That's nice.

*looks at 3DS catalog, goes back to playing on iPad*

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