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Is Vita losing developer support already? Sony responds
Is Vita losing developer support already? Sony responds
February 15, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

February 15, 2012 | By Christian Nutt
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An anonymous quote from Japan's Nikkei newspaper paints a bleak picture for the future of the PlayStation Vita, but Scott Rohde, Sony's senior vice president of Worldwide Studios, rebuts.

The PlayStation Vita has failed to catch fire in the Japanese marketplace since its December launch -- being routinely beaten in weekly sales by its predecessor, the PSP, which is still popular there, as well as Nintendo's 3DS.

In a story that went up on Nikkei's website today, written by Kiyoshi Shin, former head of Japan's IGDA branch, an unnamed source from the Japanese game industry says that "Major Japanese companies are canceling all projects intended for the Vita and are changing development to the 3DS."

"I did not see that quote, but you see extremist quotes like that all the time," says Rohde, who spoke to Gamasutra about the incipient launch of the Vita in North America.

"I mean, obviously, there is no way anyone could stand in front of a camera and say that all developers are changing focus from one platform to another, no matter what it is."

Rohde went on to say that his guess is that it's "largely exaggerated. I know many, many, many third party developers and publishers are feverishly working on Vita titles, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future."

It might not be literally true, but does it hint at a real trend? "No, I absolutely haven't heard," says Rohde.

"There's always going to be the hot platform of the moment in our industry," he says. "There's always going to be reason to talk about a story like that."

"You can, whatever -- rewind two years ago. Every developer was you knew was selling -- going towards -- I was going to say 'selling their soul', it almost came out -- to go build games for Zynga and the Facebook platform. And there's another time when you see everyone is going to do smaller iPad games, or iOS games in general. Then it was PS3, it was 360, it's Vita, it's 3ds. It's always, constantly changing. It's not something that concerns me whatsoever."

The full interview with Rohde, which contains his thoughts on the Vita's launch and future, and major competitors Apple and Nintendo, will be live on Gamasutra next week.


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Comments


k s
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Of course he's going to say everything is fine, to say otherwise would just hurt vita sales even more.

Jeremy Reaban
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Well, it's not like Sony really has supported the Vita (or PSP) well themselves. They have one top notch mobile developer - Sony Bend, and I guess they going to be cranked out Uncharteds for the next 6 years.



Still, just look at the release schedule for the rest of the year for the PS3 (or 360), then look at the Vita's. Even though the Vita can supposedly handle games of similar quality (if somewhat worse), it's virtually getting none of those games (basically Madden, as near as I can tell).



Sony should have taken some of that $50 million they are going to spend on terrible ads and used it to secure games.

Robert Boyd
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Two words for you - Gravity Rush.

Ian Uniacke
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I hear people talking about gravity rush, and while I'm sure it's possibly a great game, pretending that a game that could be on any flash game site (admittedly with better graphics) as though it's a system seller is kind of a stretch.



edit: I realise you're not necessarily suggesting that it's a system seller.

Robert Boyd
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He complained that Sony wasn't supporting the Vita with their own software other than Uncharted. I gave an example of a high quality original game that Sony just released in Japan for the Vita.



And you don't have any clue what Gravity Rush is, do you? It's a full 3D open world Action/RPG with amazing graphics, a unique art style, and the ability to manipulate gravity to walk on walls and fly through the air. It's nothing remotely like something you'd see on a flash game.

Ian Uniacke
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I suspect you don't play many flash games. As I said the only difference here is the graphics.

James Barnette
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no good titles?



Wipeout,

Unit 13,

Call of Duty,



not to mention FIFA alone will sell like crazy in Europe.



This system will the the defacto standard QUALITY for portal game. which is good I'm so sick of these crap games on iPad being heralded as modern marvels. 90% of game on iPad are crap. The reason that Apple does so well is because. a lot of people are will to take a risk on a game for $0.99-$6.99 I have literally bought prolly 60 or more games for iPhone and iPad. and 95% are crap!

Jason Chen
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It is reasonable that it is going to take sometime for the developers to make games for vita.

but that doesn't mean developers are going to abandon their current projects. Besides time is require to develop new game and functions that can take advantage of this new piece of hardware. I say give it a little time. I doubt 3DS is that popular, maybe only in JP.

Ian Uniacke
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You can read the facts about the 3ds. It's the fastest selling (dedicated) console ever. Also titles for it are making the charts world wide.



That says nothing for the vitas prospects in the west though and also give it another 6 months before declaring the death knell but initial sales in japan are extremely weak.

Travis Flynn
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The vita has a pretty awesome launch lineup in the US. Unlike the 3DS which was mostly shovelware with 3-4 first rate titles. I still don't understand how people keep talking about how the Vita is lacking developers.



There was virtually no software for the Vita at launch in Japan, which is presumably why it did bad. But the US launch lineup has several games that are getting rave reviews, and others which range from good to great.

Ian Uniacke
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Why do people keep up with the argument that the launch titles were terrible in Japan? For the MOST part the launch titles were exactly the same as what's being launched in the US. What title of note is going to be launched in the US that wasn't available in Japan?

Jason Chen
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well I am no fan of 3ds, I guess my presumptions of 3ds isn't doing well is false. I remember when 3ds launch same things happened, new hardware, new tech, no games, no sales, price deduction. no news after that, so I assume 3ds was a failure .



anyways, we all know for any console to be sold well, strong IP is definitely needed. I will pick up a vita over 3ds any time, but like most gamer I am waiting to see the library line up before I jump in. so if any one here is a psv developer, show me something good and I will jump in right away!



personal opinion, I still think 3ds are for gamer with less demand of entertainment .

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Josh Bakken
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I picked up my First Edition bundle today. The Vita and I had a pretty rough start. The damn thing froze solid while I was trying to sign up for one of those data packages through AT&T. Touchpad stopped responding and it wouldn't even turn off. The worst part was that the volume froze too so I was stuck listening to that annoying background music.



But then I went and exchanged it and so far no problems with the new one.



I only mention this because I really like my 3DS too. However after playing with the Vita for a few hours, when I now try to play the 3DS, it really does seem like a low budget toy in every respect. Screen size, graphics, you pretty much name it, the Vita is a MUCH better experience and is replacing the 3DS for my commute.



The only thing that MIGHT get me to open the 3DS again is depending on how much I miss Mario Kart. I'd pay $200 for Mario Kart on the Vita and then never touch my 3DS again.



Roll out Netflix and roll out Skype and this thing is gunna be awesome.

Bob Johnson
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I like how lesser graphics equates to lower budget toy.

Jason Weesner
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"...an unnamed source from the Japanese game industry..."



Keep in mind this is unsubstantiated (for now) since we're hearing it from an unnamed source whose only verified credential (for now) is knowing a member of the Japanese IGDA. Granted sales haven't been hot in Japan, but I highly doubt that Japanese companies would stop development now before they see what sales are like in foreign markets when the Vita releases worldwide over the next few weeks.

Darcy Nelson
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"...Then it was PS3, it was 360, it's Vita, it's 3ds. "



It was the PS3 at some point? Maybe I was still overseas when that was going on.

Mark dogg
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Make no sense whatsoever.



Vita games can be basically ported to PS3 or vice-versa to an extent. The assets used in development between console games, downloadable titles avaliable on PSN, Steam can also be done to vita. Games like Rayman origins in avaliable in Vita too. Why would they alienate Vita? In fact I think opposite.

Rey Samonte
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Here's some positive feedback from a developer who is currently porting a game over to the VITA:



http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/39842/PSN_dev_Drinkbox_Studios
_on_porting_code_to_miniPS3_quality_Vita_hardware.php

Glenn Sturgeon
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@Rey I read that article when it originaly ran, but what i don't understand is "Vita's display resolution is roughly half of 1080p, and its video memory is about half of what's on the PS3,"



It's odd he says the vita has about 1/2 the video memory..But the systems total is 512ram.



As far as truley easy porting of AAA quality graphic ps3 titles idk. I can say the uncharted game looks better than any hand held title i've seen on any platform.



IMO Sony need a new dedicated Vita Monster Hunter game to be a bigger player in japan & maybe a good port of Skyrim for the NA/euro markets.

I tend to think short term there won't be a problem with having developers signed on, but trying to get them to actively develope games may be.

Short and mid term the Vita's worst enemy is its price. Long term may be its developement costs.

A W
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MH3 is most likely a BIG reason why the 3DS is probably doing well in Japan. Better display graphic than the original Wii version, more monsters, control probably more traditional to original (although the Wii supported classic too), and its optional 3D. MH4 announced for the 3DS with a DQ on the way and you got sales.



Vita has nothing like that ATM.

Ian Uniacke
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If the PSVita OS is anything like the iPod touches than 512 meg of memory will probably equate to much less than the ps3 which runs games in a dedicated mode, whereas the vita has multitasking (to an extent). Probably not half but it could be a significant chunk lower I could imagine.

Marque Sondergaard
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Hardly surprising words from a company, which fears it is facing its Dreamcast moment.

Sean Kiley
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Don't know what the answer for Sony is here, obviously you can't push a system based on power and graphics, look at the gamecube or the gamegear. You've got the price barrier, and a serious marketing gap between traditional gamers and casual and young gamers...

Camilo R
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It would have helped if Sony had some way of Backwards Compatibility with PSP titles. It seems moving forward, Sony places no relevance on BC, but gamers do.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Joe Wreschnig
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I wonder how Sony justifies their "people don't really want BC" position with their continued efforts to put PS2 games on PSN but not let people play their PS2 discs. Or the cost of the UMD passport program, or PSP compatibility on the Vita at all.



Let's be clear on this: Sony recognizes the value of BC. That's why they want to charge you for it. In fact they're so sure it's valuable they're charging you for it even though their competitors don't.

Jan Kubiczek
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independent market place on vita.lalala.

Joseph Garrahan
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Maybe people aren't interested in the double touchscreen gimmick...

Joe McGinn
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This other Gamasutra article seems to contradict Sony:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/40336/Survey_suggests_rough_fi
nancial_climate_for_Japanese_developers.php



Almodt 50% (!) of Japanese game developers lost money last year. This is in a country where the PSP was the most successful, both with consumers and for game developers. Most of these companies were making [profitable] PSP games for the local Japanese market.



So the rather pointed question to Sony is this. If what you are saying is true, why is it that so many of the most experienced PSP game developers on Earth cannot get Vita contracts?

Bob Johnson
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Nintendo made some right moves in their home territory by nabbing Monster Hunter and lowering the price aggressively to the detriment of Sony.

Jason Chen
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have to admit Monster hunter is a strong IP that boost sales on wii, psp hardware(in japan). in the end, it is all in the software.

Craig Page
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But... every new console and gaming device gets outsold by it's predecessor in the beginning.


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