Sony has recently announced that their Playstation Vita might be their last handheld console — for now. The company believes that the current market for dedicated handheld gaming consoles is not ideal due to the emerging technologies that integrates many functions into one device, sound familiar?
Smartphones now have a plethora of features — from calling to streaming entire full length movies. Since we are talking about the possible extinction of handheld consoles — you’ve probably have already guessed the root cause. Our advancement in micro chips now enable us to play quality games on our phones that surpass those found in handheld consoles. Mobile gaming, phones included, are preferred mostly due to the convenience of not having to carry another device for gaming. Would you carry around an MP3 player as well as have a phone that can play MP3 files? No? Thought so!
Yes, smartphones are making things more convenient. That’s how technology is supposed to be. Efficient and making life easier; BUT, at the end of the day, gaming on a smartphone, tablet, phablet, whatever it may be — it’s just not the same. You don’t see a Banana quitting the grocery store just because Oranges are selling better. We agree — the smartphone is growing in the gaming market, however, the key to getting on top is exclusivity.
As an example, Sony still has the option to keep its key games exclusively for the Vita — this will prevent key games to ever being put unto other mobile platforms, thus keeping their mobile gamers sticking within their handheld gaming market. One can conclude that Sony themselves are looking to migrate their exclusive games to other mobile platforms — furthermore, those who are gaming on their phones, rarely ever actually purchase games; let alone pay a full price comparable to how much a new Vita game costs today.
Another reason why more and more people are leaning towards playing games on their phones is that there’s a big library of free games that is available for it; graphical intensive or not, most are still addictive. Look at the success of League of Legends; one factor that made League of Legends famous is because it’s very accessible. It did not have a high hardware requirement to play, therefore it was able to widen its audience on top of its addictive gameplay. Phones are accessible, and addictive — see where this is going?
Should handheld consoles truly need to go away forever? Should companies like Sony migrate to smartphone and tablet platforms? I think by now you already know where we stand — what about you?
Out of all this, one thing can be said: companies exists because of capital, and they will go to wherever people are to get that capital. But will Sony be able to abandon the gamers that bought their handheld gaming consoles, without afflicting their main gaming console, the Playstation 4? Gamers these days are bold, and when companies neglects what the players want — it usually backfires. Mass Effect 3 anyone? It’ll surely leave a taste to be desired.