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Miyamoto: Lack of PS Vita software is weakening handheld's prospects
Miyamoto: Lack of PS Vita software is weakening handheld's prospects
May 4, 2012 | By Mike Rose

May 4, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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Nintendo veteran Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed his thoughts on the PS Vita handheld, Sony's rival to Nintendo's own 3DS, stating that, while it's clearly a powerful device, it's suffering from the same lack of software that the 3DS also originally saw.

"It's obviously a very hi-spec machine, and you can do lots of things with it," he told Edge, "but I don't really see the combination of software and hardware that really makes a very strong product."

Nintendo launched its 3DS handheld early last year, and was forced to cut the price due to dwindling sales. Miyamoto admitted that the 3DS simply didn't have enough decent games to warrant consumer purchases, and hinted that he believes the Vita is falling at the same hurdle.

"When we launched the 3DS hardware we didn't have Super Mario 3D Land, we didn't have Mario Kart 7, we didn't have Kid Icarus: Uprising," he explained. "We were striving to have all of these ready for the launch, but we weren't able to deliver them at that time."

He continued, "We were kind of hoping that people would, nevertheless, buy into the product, find 3DS hardware promising; but looking back we have to say we realize the key software was missing when we launched the hardware."


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Comments


Benjamin Quintero
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It looks likely that Wii U will have a strong software release, considering Wii has seen very little lately. Time for Nintendo to start printing money again. =)

Benjamin Quintero
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Anthony, I'm only speculating since we haven't seen any really big releases (that i can recall) to hit Wii. Chronicles was a nice release but it's been in circulation for a while overseas. I'm guessing anything outside of Ubisoft's Dance game was pushed to fit the Wii U window instead of releasing on Wii. If this is not true, then it means that developers just gave up on Nintendo and that could be very bad news... With releases like Darksiders 2 making it's way to Wii U however, I doubt that Nintendo is completely abandoned.

Ian Uniacke
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That's a bit misleading, they said they can't promise the launch titles will be strong which is completely different to promising that the launch titles will not be strong.

Eric Pobirs
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Believe it when I see it. We've yet to see any examples of the Wii U concept applied in a way that takes it beyond novelty. Back when they showed the GameCube/GBA hookup it seemed very cool. But what did we have to show for it afterwards? A Pacman variant and a Zelda spin-off. Despite the wireless capability simplifying the execution, the concept was allowed to die in the Wii/DS generation.

It just hasn't been of much use to have multiple screen at a substantial distance from each other and having to track both. I suspect we're going to see very few games that really make good use of both. What we'll have is a lot of big screen games that use the tablet display as a HUD that is almost constantly ignored, and a bunch of ported smartphone and tablet games that draw the focus to the small screen while the big screen is ignored. Somebody who already owns a PS3/Xbox and a tablet already has this ground covered. Interaction between the console and tablet is but one app download away.

Joe Zachery
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If Sony or Microsoft had a Tablet. The only way to get the gaming your experience your talking about. Is if your a Apple consumer using Apple Tv, Ipad or Iphone right now. Even if you are your not getting now where near the same quality in games. As you mention Nintendo has had this idea since the Gamecube. Finally with the tech to pull it off maybe we get see all those ideas.

Bob Johnson
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I think the killer app for the Wii U controller would be continuing your console game on the controller if another family member needs the tv or if you want to watch a show while playing your game. It remains to be seen whether this is even a feature or not and how well it works, but would would be a selling point for families.

Glenn McMath
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Another thing to consider is that all of those instances you pointed to require peripherals that some segment of the audience won't have, and for that reason, developers and publishers will often be reluctant to use those capabilities. Even in the case of the Wii and DS, which would surely have a very high overlap in ownership, the functionality isn't immediately obvious to players in the same way it would be if the screen is integrated into the system's controller.

It's certainly worthwhile to look at past examples of similar capabilities for reference, but I think it's too early to write off the concept. You said yourself that it seemed like a cool concept when they first introduced it... hopefully, now that it's so tightly integrated into the system's functionality, they can finally make good on that initial promise.

You do have every right to be skeptical though...

Raymond Grier
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But Eric, this time the device linked to the main unit is part of the console, not a separately sold console that does stuff by itself. That's a significant difference. Tablet-like controllers are the future for games that don't work as well with pointers and motion detection. All 3 have good futures...for specific types of games.

Amir Sharar
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I can't disagree with your skeptical views as Nintendo themselves have done little to persuade us from being that way, but I do think that there are going to be a lot of games that can make good use of the second screen for more traditional games.

Madden football will be a key benefactor, and I would suspect the Wii U version would be the de facto tournament version of the game at MLG.

A GPS/Menu screen for Grand Theft Auto, status screen for RPGs, communication screen for FPS games (ie. marking targets in online FPS games), inventory screen for adventure games...I really think that implementation of this will be rather obvious and beneficial for traditional games.

The question for me is that whether or not it will make gaming more accessible to a larger audience, something that the original Wii did so well. This is the part that really needs explanation.

Johan Wendin
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Bob Johnson: They showed that capability in the original announcement trailers already?

Bob Johnson
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@Johan

You're right. But we're talking about a trailer. WE don't know the capabilities and limitations of continuing a game on the controller nor do we really know if this feature is ultimately included.

Amanda Lee Matthews
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The 3DS still doesn't have enough to get me to buy it. Once the novelty of 3d wears off, it's just the same games I've played before. There is 1 3DS game I want - and even that is a remake/sequel - but 1 game is not enough to justify a console purchase.

Though the Vita doesn't have a much larger number of appealing games, it at least has skype and 3g; making it a viable option for people that want to game and need to make calls but don't want to carry around 2 devices. However, the Xperia Play is the same price as the 3G vita, and that gives you both the PS store and Android games, as well as much better battery life. Handheld sales are weak because they offer less games than phones at the same or greater price.

Mark Kilborn
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I'm with Christian on this. Handheld sales aren't weak, at least not for the 3DS. And there are plenty of experiences that make handheld gaming worthwhile if you're into that sort of thing. I have yet to find a mobile game on my iPod/iPad or Android phone that comes even remotely close to the depth and quality of something like Super Mario Land 3D.

I don't think mobile games are replacing handhelds, at least not for core gamers. If anything, the cell phone is the new arcade. I love games like Temple Run, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, etc. Playing them reminds me of when I was a kid and I had the arcade, a SNES/Genesis, and a Gameboy. All three provided different gaming experiences.

Also, there are some great titles for the 3DS now, and more on the way. Super Mario Land 3D, Cave Story 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Kart 7, Resident Evil: Revelations, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (a reissue, yes, but with lots more content), Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (Xcom anyone?). There are seven fantastic games for this machine, and there are sure to be plenty more with the sales they're seeing.

The "DS/3DS has nothing to play!" argument is much like the "Wii has no Mature games!" argument: completely baseless.

As for the VITA, I've been playing Mortal Kombat on it lately and having a blast. It needs more solid games like this though. I hope it gets them before the poor sales scare off publishers.

Raymond Grier
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I rarely use my 3DS's 3DD abilities at all, it's a great system without it and finally it's getting a reasonable roster of good games. I have 5 games for mine now and I would have bought it for those games without 3D because my older DS couldn't play those games.

Chris Christow
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Compared to smartphone sales handheld sales are pretty weak.

Joe Zachery
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Personally after reading the article I don't see him saying it doesn't have games. The Vita did launch with more games than the 3DS. He is saying what everyone already knows the Vita has no system sellers. The 3DS didn't launch with no system sellers. The Combination of games, and console he is talking about is something like the Wii, and Wii Sports. A piece of software that explains, and express what your console is about to the consumers. Why do I want to buy this device? So people come in, and say Miyamoto is talking crap about the Vita not having any games. He didn't say that at all it has no system sellers.

Jonathan Murphy
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They are competing against the 3DS which has most of the market? Half of it is children? They are doing this with higher prices, smaller target audiences, a wireless 3g plan, expensive memory cards, games. How was this thing supposed to ever be a success?

Mike Henry
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Yet another console company re-realizing that you need good software back up your device. I know there are a ton of moving parts that go into the planning and execution of a console (or handheld) but you'd think by now our industry would be better at planning support right out of the gate.

Bob Johnson
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The problem is planning support out of the gate conflicts with releasing games when they are fun and done.

Nintendo leans towards fun and done more than just having product on the shelf because the calendar says they need it.

They also don't like to sit on finished games for too long because of competition and the fast pace of change in the industry.

Michael K
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I had a psv in my hands, headed to the games and there was not one game I really wanted to play. I think the topic hits right the spot, Sony wont sell that more units in the long run if they drop the price, they rather need more AAA games. The device is really slick and the price is better than the psp had, it is just not much use atm.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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It's easy to forget that the 3DS struggled as badly last year as the PS Vita does now. Fortunately for Nintendo, a price cut and Mario Kart 7 saved their hides. If and when Sony gets some top-name titles for their handheld, Vita's fortunes will rise again. It's a nice piece of hardware, it just needs good games, and there's still time for Sony to change the road they're on.

The problem for Sony and Nintendo is that Apple has completely disrupted the portable game market with iOS. Quick arcade thrills for $1-$2, or rehashed console franchise sequels for $40? Even Mario Kart can't defend against that forever. Something has to give.

Eric McVinney
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Let's not forget about Infinity Blade II, Jetpack Joyride, World of Goo, Dead Space, and Tiny Tower just to name a few ;)

Bob Johnson
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Yeah, but Nintendo does have an eshop. They have been improving it. They do sell inexpensive games in the store although they don't stoop to the $1-$2 pricepoint. They are going digital with the next SMB. Remains to be seen if the pricepoint of the digital version is lower than the price of a cart.

I think Mario Kart can defend against the $1-$2 games. I think the quality Nintendo games justify a higher price. MK isn't $40 either. Not when it's resale value will likely be half of that or more for a long time.

On top of it Nintendo won't sit still if they need to move. They will embrace digital delivery eventually and pass on the savings to consumers if they need to. They also will switch up business models if need be. They are already looking into F2P-type business models.

They also have the luxury of designing hardware specifically for games whereas an all around device like the iPhone does not.

Ian Uniacke
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Mario Kart Wii is still selling for full price. Until that behaviour changes you will be hard pressed to convince me that Mario Kart is at threat from mobile gaming.

Chris Christow
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How about PS Vita being a stupid and unattractive name?

Or maybe in a world of open platforms like iPhone and Android (yeah, open...), where everybody could publish some software, keeping under the hood, what you are doing, doesn't do you much good any longer?

Craig Page
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If they want more software, why don't they start giving away Vitas to developers for publishing in their marketplace? Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM are all doing it.

EnDian Neo
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I wonder why Sony forgets the success story called PS2. In my opinion, what sold the PS2 to non-first-movers (what a mouthful!) is its existing range of playable games from day 1: the PS1 game library. Add the lure of strong launch titles for the more hardcore (and PS1-owning) users and you tapped 2 big sections of the market.


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