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Tretton: Mobile Gaming Won't Steal Away Portable Console Gamers
Tretton: Mobile Gaming Won't Steal Away Portable Console Gamers
June 14, 2011 | By Kris Graft

June 14, 2011 | By Kris Graft
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    18 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton has reiterated the company's confidence that increasingly popular smartphones pose little threat to Sony's dedicated portable gaming business.

Asked by The New York Times if he's worried about gaming competition from Apple's iOS platforms would steal away Sony portable gaming customers, Tretton replied, "No."

He explained, "The great thing about gamers is that they have tremendous influence over what they want to play. If their parents say I'm getting you an iPad and that's your device, but their friends are playing a dedicated console like a PSP, then the kids will find a way to get a PSP."

While The New York Times was asking about the current PSP in particular, the upcoming PS Vita borrows the same basic strategy from the PSP, being a portable device that's' dedicated to gaming.

But the Vita will also adopt some mobile features, including a model that supports 3G through AT&T, and the PlayStation Suite, which serves as a PlayStation-branded app store for original first-party and third-party titles to release on Android devices.

In the U.S., the wi-fi-enabled Vita will sell for $249, while the 3G-equipped model will sell for $299, with expected launches later this year. Sony Ericsson also has the new PlayStation Suite-supported Android-based Xperia Play gaming phone.

SCE Group CEO Kaz Hirai had similar sentiments regarding competition from the increasingly popular mobile gaming market: "I don't see the PS Vita being in direct competition with smartphones and tablets."

He added, "However, I do recognize that that's a growing market as well, and that's why we announced the [PlayStation Suite] initiative where we are bringing the PlayStation experience to Android-powered smartphones and tablets."


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Comments


T K
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what planet is tretton on? vita will fade into sunset like the psp and ds

Fiore Iantosca
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The question is what planet are YOU on? LOL

Kevin Patterson
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People on the fence for mobile entertainment probably won't buy a gaming device like the Vita, but for people that actually game, the Vita is a godsend with dual stick controls. I have bought a ton of games for the iphone and never play them. Why? because the touch screen controls annoy me. I wasn't interested in a PSP or 3DS, but the Vita interests me.

If some killer open world games come out for it, i may just have to get one.

Christopher Enderle
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What's the difference between a "Mobile" and a "Portable?"

Joe McGinn
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Mobile games cost $0.99 to $9.99



Portable games cost $39.99 to $49.99



That's it really. Tretton is dreaming, hoping, and probably praying. But to me sounds an awful lot like record company executives who *still* want to sell complete albums five years after that business model has been dead.

Tim Agnew
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Dual analog sticks. That is all you really need to say. No mobile device can give you the depth of game play because they lack the controls. I love me some Angry Birds but no way is it as deep a game as what I saw on the Vita.

Darren Hedges
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Sorry Jack.. You talking crazy.. Mobile already has taken portable gamers, and will continue to do so as phones get more and more sophisticated. The age of the handheld gaming machine that isn't a phone is coming to an end. See John Carmack's early story, he's right on point...

Sebastian Cardoso
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Seconded

Ardney Carter
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Got evidence to back this claim? There's no denying that there are plenty of people downloading games on their phones. What I've yet to see proved is that people who were existing consumers of dedicated handheld consoles have given those up in favor of gaming on their phones. To me, that hypothesis seems ridiculous. I remain convinced that mobile phone gaming and dedicated handheld gaming are 2 distinct markets with not nearly as much overlap as people seem to think. I further believe that what overlap there is is more inclusive ("I play games on my phone ALSO") rather than exclusive ("I play games on my phone ONLY").

Darren Hedges
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The only evidence is really the stats. Whilst mobile gaming be that on IOS/Android or just a normal phone has grown year on year (don't know the % stats but it is over $4 billion worldwide) the handheld market has been in decline.

3DS is not selling as well as Nintendo had hoped globally, DS is flattening off, PSP never really got off the ground compared to the DS or any smart phone. You have to weigh the options for a normal consumer. Does the average consumer spend 200 for an iphone/touch (which most people have) and spend 99 cents on a game, or does the average consumer spend $200 on a phone and then $250 on a Vita. The days of people owning both are now declining, the mobile devices whether we like it or not are growing. Handheld devices I'm afraid are now relegated to the more "hard core" games consumer and not the mass market.

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Joe McGinn
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Sadly agree. Wish it wasn't so. People are right that the dedicated game handhelds are better game machines ... unfortunately not better enough to justify the 5x higher (at least) software prices.

Mark dogg
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PSV is amazing. Dual analog and all the features it has with great line up of games. It is going to rock. I do not know about smart phones screen size and controls but PSV has everything to succeed.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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PS Vita had a lot of positive buzz from E3. The $250 price was a big surprise, and it places Sony in direct competition with Nintendo and Apple. It's fun to see some actual competing in this sphere. These video game companies always seem to work their best when under pressure.



As always, it comes down to the games. The PSP suffered because it was, well, a Playstation portable. I'm really not interested in yet another round of me-too ports. I'd like to see something new and different. Portable games almost have to be quick and to the point by design, since I'm playing while riding the bus or taxi, or when I have a few minutes to spare. Last round, Nintendo DS had all these cool, quirky games, but the 3DS is taking a more conventional (and boring) approach. Sony has a real opportunity this time, if they can deliver the goods.



The wild card, as always, is iPod and Android. Scoff all you want, but this is not the mobile phone market of 2004. The iOS games are becoming more sophisticated and nuanced, and software developers are becoming ever more skilled at employing button-free controls. If the games continue to improve in quality and content, then this field is wide open.



Here's a good question: What about the Sony PSP phone? The one that is getting Minecraft? The idea of PSX controls added to a smartphone is very tempting. If Sony could convince Sega to port over some Genesis games...ooh, bring back Herzog Zwei!

Joe McGinn
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"As always, it comes down to the games. The PSP suffered because it was, well, a Playstation portable. I'm really not interested in yet another round of me-too ports."



Quite the opposite! Sony was the mortal enemy of anything even smelling of a PS2 --> PSP port, they killed that dead in the water. Mindlessly. It was the one thing that could have saved the PSP from being the failure it was: put the world's best game library on it. But no, around Sony that was crazy talk.



I saw this from Sony execs last week too, totally revisionist history, saying the problem with the PSP was that Sony thought of it as a place for PS2 ports. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Duong Nguyen
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The Vita is about 8x more powerful than the iPhone 4 for 250$, I wouldn't be worried about mobiles stealing away from portables but the reverse. Sony has created a monster handheld device fully capable of eating into the mobile platforms. Don't forget Apple still sells millions of iPod Touch which is just a iPhone without the cellular components. Now if Sony allows Apps on the Vita / PlayStation store, then it would get interesting.. Until then the Vita will just be a dedicated game device..

Alan Rimkeit
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Mobile MMO + Vita = $$$$$$

Duong Nguyen
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Mobile MMO already = $$$$$, that space is expanding fast.


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