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Sony struggling to recruit third parties for PS Vita
Sony struggling to recruit third parties for PS Vita
August 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

August 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
Comments
    28 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



"We're having a more difficult time than we had anticipated in terms of getting support from third-party publishers, but that's our job."
- Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio president Shuhei Yoshida admits that the company has had trouble convincing publishers to create games for its struggling PS Vita handheld.

Launched just eight months ago, PS Vita has had little success gaining momentum -- its software rarely cracks the top sales charts, and the poor performance of its hardware recently forced Sony to slash its portable sales forecast for the fiscal year from 16 million units to 12 million.

A common criticism levied against PS Vita is that the system has few compelling games on the market. If lacking hardware sales and these difficulties recruiting third-party support continue, there seem to be few opportunities for Sony to turn around PS Vita's sales outside of a major price cut.

With the exception of Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed III: Liberation) and Activision (Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, for which there's little information about), hardly any major publishers have pledged to release potential blockbusters as exclusives for the handheld.

Yoshida, though, previously pointed out to Gamasutra that Sony has managed to attract independent studios to PS Vita, as we've seen with games like Queasy Games' Sound Shapes and Nifflas' Knytt Underground. But will those games be enough to convince consumers to start buying PS Vitas?


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Comments


wes bogdan
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Well while i own a vita declasifyed and liberation are two more games i'd like to buy and play but expect will be unplayable by myself and others.

How many times must i say spread the controls out with a giant screen and southpaw is broken....that is using the half default half southpaw console scheme.

What i'd do to make games playable is send triangle to up,square to left,x to down and circle to right which in turn sends the d-pad functions to the corisponding face button.

This is how southpaw works when there's a screen pushing controls far appart.

Also zoom should be the left shoulder and fire weapon should be right shoulder.
Why any southpaw scheme would have zoom / walk rather than zoom/freelook is beyond me.

When i play up-down and down-up i couldn't imagine up-up and down-down as i never use and really can't use that aiming system.

Remember there are games i want but CAN NOT PLAY so i don't BUY them. Patch them and we'll talk.

As for sony's troubled vita cod and liberation could go a long way to fixing that though teaming those releases with a $20-$30 cut could seal the deal. Sadly then we'd be waiting on games as developers and publishers scramble to release titles..and i hope not simple quick n dirty ps3 ports.

Vita and portible gaming needs it's own games and expierences.

Keith Thomson
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Many vita games rarely use the DPad for movement at all. Uncharted, for instance, only uses it for switching weapons and reloading. The right face buttons are only really used for jumping. The "freelook" is more used with the tilt controls than the stick on uncharted anyway. I also can't remember using the d-pad at all for Gravity Rush. Uncharted does use zoom/sights on the left trigger and right trigger for firing. Which games are you playing that you are getting different controls?

Game controls are almost universally a learned motor skill. I've used my left hand for controls on the PC that I now use my right hand for with no real problems...

Mike Kasprzak
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I don't own one (no games I want yet), but I definitely do want one and definitely want to develop for it. I am afraid of the smaller marketshare, hence the need to focus my efforts on phones and tablets. But still, in my eyes, the Vita is absolutely the ideal system for a lot of games. The problem is a lot of those experiences are even better on a TV, and when I go somewhere, it's a phone in my pocket.

Keith Thomson
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Hopefully when they release the PSM suite, you'll be able to develop for tablets, phones, and the Vita with one common language. Though only if you like C# and Mono.

Mike Kasprzak
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@Keith Thomson I already develop for Tablets and Phones in a common language: C++. The problem is doing it for Vita too requires dealing with our game industries product approval legacy (though from what I understand, the Sony is one of the better ones here of late... still, the approval machine takes time).

Keith Thomson
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That's what I was hinting at. C++ requires much more approval time to develop with on the Vita, and more expensive dev tools. C# would go through a different approval process with less expensive development tools. ($100 when its released.)

Joe Wreschnig
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"C# would go through a different approval process with less expensive development tools."

And those development tools are incompatible with every other platform.

[User Banned]
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Merc Hoffner
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Third parties don't want to invest in a platform that's installing worse than the Dreamcast...
...unless they're Japanese and Microsoft's moneyhatting. Go figure.

Nuttachai Tipprasert
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Last time I checked, MS and Nintendo consoles are the most close system of them all, and yet, 3DS just celebrated their 20 million sell last month.

[User Banned]
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Merc Hoffner
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Your argument is ridiculous:
NES : Closed, Supported and Successful
Gameboy : Closed, Supported and Successful
SNES : Closed, Supported and Successful
PSX : Closed, Supported and Successful
GBA : Closed, Supported and Successful
PS2 : Closed, Supported and Successful

You're right, 3DS, DS and Wii are all anomalies, because for the first time we have successful consoles that are going unsupported. For the first time open development has become more important to developers than actually supporting the market. Oh wait! The platforms they supported instead were closed too!

For the last 7-8 years console developers have predominantly been interested in power and nothing else. Certainly not making money. We could make a list of the profits, losses and deaths of developers and parent publishers over this period but it would make for depressing reading. One might argue they're interested in ease of development, and that Nintendo doesn't support developers very well, but then I don't think there's anything easy about a $100 million production. When you have to worry about the manpower costs of having artists draw unique buttons for every shirt of every character in your next city based game, I'd say the powerful platforms developers HAVE chosen are creating more headaches than they're relieving.

Maybe this explains why virtually all games on the mobile platforms use only a tiny fraction of the power available. Perhaps weak support of Vita is the first sign of a reversal of the console developer trend: maybe 3rd parties are finally balking at the prospect of the power/cost phenomenon repeating on handhelds.

Alex Nichiporchik
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@Merc - you are comparing platforms from the past when there was no internet everywhere, when digital distribution was not here yet -- and when there was no open platform alternative.

Now that open platform alternative is about to become the biggest gaming platform ever (iOS)

The initial argument from Dan stands

Merc Hoffner
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What an odd thing to say. The implication being that the past has zero effect on the future.

First of all I'd point out, you know, that uh, PC exists, is open and has been since the beginning of, well, the entire industry. Second of all, the internet was everywhere since like 2000 at least. Third, calling iOS the biggest platform ever is patently ridiculous on multiple fronts: In number of gamers? Uncountable. Given the number of non-players, the level of upgrading and the redundancy of accounts across iOS devices almost certainly much lower than everyone seems to think. In total number? Smaller than both Android devices and, oh yeah, PC. In revenue? Across 600,000 apps It's only made 5 billion for devs...ever. The DS by comparison has conservatively made more than 15 billion in revenue. Fourth of all, actually the trend is the reverse of Dan's argument if anything:

Developers have migrated to more closed platforms, not the other way around: Today's console developers are, as Dan himself suggested, yesterday's PC developers. How is that moving towards openness? The iOS marketplace is, practically by definition, more regulated, controlled and curated than the PC market before it. Or even Windows Phone 6 before it. It says a lot that Microsoft is closing their platforms down on PC and mobile to be more like Apple rather than opening them up. People are referring to iOS and Steam as a new golden age of distribution. Surely it's totally counter to the actual age of untempered freedom back in the wild west days of flash games and Newgrounds. Why do you think Apple was so adamant to never support flash outside of video? I always though it was mostly because they wanted to protect the Appstore platform they were still cultivating from the freedom of the internet via Safari. Don't you forget, the Appstore certainly ain't the internet. And the internet came first. Developers aren't being liberated by freedom. They're being monetized by control. Else PC would have killed consoles long ago. I'm actually afraid of this new age, where people refer to what they've made as apps rather than programs. Where Gabe Newell bemoans the level of store integration and control of the next Windows. Where I now need to get a pass from the biggest and most litigious corporations in the world if I want to put my shit out there. Where Skype is owned and run (and one day monitored) by Microsoft for Pete's sake. THAT is what developers have been jumping into.

Today's console developers (who are yesterday's PC developers) are interested in power and that has left them high and dry. Today's iOS developers (who are yesterday's PC hobbyists) are interested in monetisation and that has left them censored. 3rd party abandonment of Nintendo platforms happened long before Apple's 'new world order' and probably remains a bad idea.

[User Banned]
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Nuttachai Tipprasert
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It's the chicken and egg problem. No developers gonna develop the games for the system that has very low installation base and no gamers gonna buy the system that has no games to play. This is the tough one. Unless Sony successfully solve this problem, the future of Vita is quite dim.

Camilo R
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Lead by example Sony. It still baffles me that Sony hasn't taken a few of their many first-party development studios and have them work on new IPs made for the Vita (no, not console adaptions). Sony has the largest number of first-party devs out of the big three and they're making poor use of them.

wes bogdan
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Southpaw WHINING REALLY i simply can't play ANY other way. I had no trouble on the :nes,snes,genesis/sega cd/32x,saturn,dreamcast but where things changed for me was when i recieved my training on n64 shooters where the c-group of buttons was what would become the right stick and the only analog stick would become the left stick.
plus i'm a die hard lefty. Sony bend used a n64 southpaw mode in dark mirror,logan's shadow and resistance so adapting circle,x,square and triangle to the right stick in a dual analog scheme while placing the face button functions on the d-pad and freelook on the left stick should've been obvious to them.

Where do i get off using a control scheme that works for me in games that don't support it-guess what i have modded 360 pads where they look like yours but are cross wired so i permantly flipped the controler face and as for ps3 i use a fully customizable OUT-OF-THE-BOX gamepad where i can program anything legacy industry southpaw or my FULL SOUTHPAW.

Remember if i can't play it why would i BUY it so go on don't give simple games like tank battle ,journey or pixeljunk shooter 1 or 2 southpaw so i can play it without my custom pads modern gaming would be UNPLAYABLE....but keep us @ ps one days and as the wii u,720 and ps4 rise i won't be able to play over 98% of it....GREAT JOB i mean it's not like taking my money for great games is hard but it will be impossible if i can't play it as i won't and havn't bought uncharted or other games.

Can i play deviants or escape plan sure touch is new and everyone's on the same curve single analog or d-pad works but give me even a twin stick shooter or dual analog i'm screwed.


You'd think by 360 or ps3 this would be behind us and i could design my own scheme,save it and move on but even the great folks @ insomniac sent out a fully custom fall of man but left ratchet unable to be customized i should've been able to use my resistance designed scheme in ratchet same company but no dice.

AGAIN EVERYONE WANTS MONEY and i'm happy to buy games if i can PLAY THEM if not NO DICE!!!

Justin LeGrande
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I think ambidextrous/symmetrical controller designs are the way to go. Few controllers are truly ambidextrous/symmetrical- at the moment, I can only think of the Wii Remote, some rhythm game peripherals, and some kinds of computer mice. However, everyone is different... so there's no such thing as a "one size fits all" controller.

wes bogdan
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Btw stardust delta allows customization and yes virgina i did buy it.

Derrick Lim
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I actually use my PS Vita more for playing legacy PSP games than actual Vita releases. I've tried Uncharted and Resistance, and I find that having to use the touch screen for some interactions are horribly tedious and painful. Maybe I'm Asian and have small hands (but then again, Sony being a Japanese company should have thought of that), but stretching my thumb out from the analog controls and trying to hit something on the screen is not a pleasant experience. In firefights, that precious second between lifting my thumb off the analog stick costs me.

Anatoly Ropotov
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The only viable solution for Sony is to open full SDK to all developers without approvals instead of providing a crappy C# one. Either that, or death of the platform.
Let developers develop and fix your crappy, unusable Store where most of the games lack screenshots and there's no ability to stream videos. Sony has enough free release spots to feature great games instead of endlessly discounting old 3-star crap.

Derrick Lim
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You got a point there. Discovery is a problem for the PS Store, it's hard to evaluate if a game is good or bad solely on information from the store. Having demos for some of the Vita games is nice though. For the games that do have screenshots, they're really tiny and hardly of use. It's the same problem with the PS3.

wes bogdan
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Well psp was strong out of the gate and ran out of gas pretty quick while the ds a much weaker system thrived and now with an even more fragmented portible arena and developers /publishers after easy money vita struggles on.

I do own and enjoy some vita games but only those i can play.
Games like:disgaea 3,stardust delta,lego batman 2,sound shapes,lumines,rayman and hot shots golf However if i could play resistance,gravity rush and uncharted they'd be there in my gamescape as well.

Yes i know as far as vita goes it needs a massive influx of games like cod and liberation class to survive but a $20-$30 price cut couldn't hurt and perhaps bring out a vita with both vita memory and micro sd so people have money to buy games.....$100 for 32GB WHAT A JOKE.

Even nintendo allows me to use a standard size SD CARD and i have a class 10 - 32gb card in my 3ds which does have good games out on it as a rule and not the exception to it.

Also vita might be powerful enough to pull of ps3 like expierences but still needs it's own identity.

I HAVE A RULE IF JUST PRESS X WORKS BETTER THAN TOUCH IS A WASTE OF TIME.

While rubbing might be cool in uncharted and take you deeper into drakes world slashing through jungle is taking you away from the expierence as it's like the arcane symbols in the first ds castlevania there because they can not because they should.

And players should ALWAYS be able to disable somthing like iritating touch gameplay even disgaea 3 requires you to touch the gamesave file and again to load it-JUST PRESS X would be faster and touch loading/saving adds NOTHING to disgaea's gameplay except look we now have a touchscreen lets use it somehow even if it doesn't make sense.

I wish i could just press x to save/load without stupid touch demos.

Deviants or escape plan are sold on their touch controls and that's fine however not EVERYTHING needs touch no matter how stupid the use don't just put it in .

I hope sony fixes vita's problems 1-games or lack thereof

2-price needs to drop and 3-players need options in games like disable all stupid uses of touch and southpaw which is easy as the d-pad and face buttons switch sides with freelook.

Yu Ki
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I am always wondering why Sony does not make use of their great fortune of PS2 archives on PSV. There are some remastered PS2 games for PS3 and few for PSV, but I think Sony can support PSV more.

Island Nassu
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The Vita Leap
Developers/ Third parties, don't want to take the vita leap because of the *professional *comments *people make.
Why would a company who is bearly making ends meet invest in something that *everybody is talking bad about. That does not make any sence to me.
So, *People if you want to see Sony fail: lets talk bad about everything Sony does and make.
If you want to see Sony succeed then, let's be fair in what we say and how we word our comments.

Leader/winners don't talk about things/*people that are beneath them, they look ahead.
Sony please keep looking ahead.
I'm getting a vita
I'm getting the wonder book for my daughter(myself).

Island Nassu
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The Vita Leap
Developers/ Third parties, don't want to take the vita leap because of the *professional *comments *people make.
Why would a company who is bearly making ends meet invest in something that *everybody is talking bad about. That does not make any sence to me.
So, *People if you want to see Sony fail: lets talk bad about everything Sony does and make.
If you want to see Sony succeed then, let's be fair in what we say and how we word our comments.

Leader/winners don't talk about things/*people that are beneath them, they look ahead.
Sony please keep looking ahead.
I'm getting a vita
I'm getting the wonder book for my daughter(myself).

From the point of Developing a game that make money, The DEV need to be certain that it's worth there while
In taking the vita or console dive, I wish someone would make a PS3 version of the game called "One"
But if they do, *people would probably say it worked better on the psx. But if the MRSFT Was able to secure it then the same *people would say wow it's Awesom.

Say/write/Blog good things about companies and they will succeed
Say/write/Blog bad things about companies and sale number will tell the story.


PDIN

Liam McMahon
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Nobody wants to dev for them. because no serious dev studio trusts them anymore. The only games out for ps are a small internal dev, which they really do not support. They are a hardware selling company. Look how many different camcorders they develop at a time, cameras, etc., the bluray, lol, they change technology bases to keep you buying stupid trendy crud.


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