Economics for AAA games “simply don’t work” on PlayStation Vita, Sony says

Does Vita need more AAA exclusives, or are indies, remote play, and streaming enough?

The economics of producing a big, AAA game for the PlayStation Vita don’t work with the traditional process, according to Don Mesa, Director of Product Planning and Platform Software Innovation at Sony Computer Entertainment.

Earlier this week, Mesa wrote a post on the PlayStation Blog announcing the release of the slimmer, $200 PS Vita in North America.

In the comments section, one fan made the point that while the $200 price point is nice, and might get more people to discover the selection of indies on the platform, Sony did promise the Vita will get “console-quality” games. Sony has put a lot of effort into making the PlayStation 4 and Vita indie-friendly platforms, but the Vita hasn’t seen many AAA releases like Killzone: Mercenary and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

“As for the big games: The economics simply don’t work with the traditional process,” Mesa responded. “We have to do something different to get AAA games on Vita. We accomplished it to a certain degree by making PS4 games work on Vita via remote play. PS Now will be another way, streaming PS3 games on Vita. I can’t wait until PS Now is out on Vita – I hope you’ll try out the experience and let me know what you think.”

PlayStation Now will allow users to stream a selection of PS1, PS2, and PS3 games to the PS3, PS4, and eventually the Vita and other devices. The service is currently in a limited Beta, but is set to launch this summer.

Do you think the Vita needs more AAA exclusives, or are indies, remote play, and streaming enough?

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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Written By

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Discussion

377 comments
gfrequency
gfrequency

I think one mistake they keep making is equating so-called "AAA" titles with lackluster spinoffs of bigger console siblings. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Arkham Origins: Blackgate, Killzone: Mercenary -- these all just seem sort of supplemental to the "real thing" you play on your PS3 or 360. What they need to do is to start making well-marketed Vita exclusives that aren't remakes or spinoffs, more stuff like Tearaway and Gravity Rush. I don't know if they'll ever enjoy mainstream financial success, they just don't have a Pokemon or a Mario Bros., and they don't have Nintendo's nostalgia factor, but I think "AAA = pre-existing next-gen franchise" is the wrong way to go about it in Sony's case. (I do appreciate them importing so many niche games from overseas -- my Vita gets more use than my 3DS these days.)

megakick
megakick

PS Vita is shovelware tier. Sony is saying, you win Nintendo you win.

GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

i need AAA.

im not smart enough for indies

 i got bored in gone home.

 i thought gucamelee should have been in unreal engine

 heck i didnt get bioshock infinite at that was AAA

 also i skip cutscenes.

 i need more games where people run towards me to get shot by me.

 there i said it.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

The vita hardware is amazing,  However, it has never been able to make even the smallest dent in the global market, where Nintendo's dominance is absolute.

With this, Sony admits what we already know: The PSVita is a failed system.  As someone who bought it at launch, it hurts to say that, but I'm not going to fanboy out - the system has failed outside Japan, and I'd honestly be surprised to see another Sony handheld.

Keaze_
Keaze_

Vita is an awesome platform, it's a blast to play on it. Everyone that has one can concur.  The problem is that not enough people know that.  If you don't have a vita, you don't know how great it is.  It has so much potential, but not enough support.  Still, I have a dozen games on it and played them through and through.  Of course, it would be nice to have a bigger selection (i.e., bravely default, etc).  But if the platform sales aren't there, of course developers won't be inclined to develop for it.  It's a catch 22.

jusko27
jusko27

Shame - i've won Vita few days ago but i'm not so happy at all. Why? Because i like good AAA like Resistance, Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Need for Speed, Black etc. So in conclusion - i like games from big consoles like PS2/PS3. 


I have PSP from 2 years right now, but i'm starting to like this handheld just now - because of poor games. Many games for PSP was...let's just say...total crap (like Need for Speed's) - crappy ports or japanese games which are often little strange and fun only for some gamers from outside Japan. But after 2 years, when i've discovered NORMAL GAMES like Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Burnout, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Gran Turismo, GTA - PSP start to be fun for me.


PS Vita is worse that PSP fo me - i've won this handheld but what games i can play? Few AAA and tons of strange Indie's, which are not fun to me (anybody can write a game but those games are often crappy and boring, so Indie's are like a junkyard with rare pearls).


Shame - Vita is great handheld with big amount of power but become landing place for Indie's - it's not handheld for Sony fans, it's handheld for casual player's (3DS is better in that case but Nintendo is not for all gamers). How it can be a PlayStation if it don't have core PS series? In that case - normal smartphones or tablets are better because same Indie's are there and much cheaper.

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

portable is dead. while that hardware looks amazing, theres not much wow factor to the experience. i mean playing on a huge screen with a really good surround sound.

Gvaz
Gvaz

With articles like this, yeah vita's future death becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as more content creators get scared.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

The Vita is an incredible piece of technology but sadly the games are very boring to play. I had a white Vita for a year and really I couldn't bring myselft to finish any games I had for it outside of P4G. At first I thought it was really cool to play some games on both my PS3 and my Vita and share trophies etc but it ultimately it worst part, too much of the same games and the exclusive are boring ... I had to force myself to play a game and 10 mintes later I got bored and continue my P4G game or I play on the PS3 for better graphics and controls ...


I sold the damn thing after Danganrompa came out. I had Assassin'S Creed, P4G, LBP, Tearaway, Soul Sacrifice, KillZone Mercenaries, Dragon's Crown and Danganrompa ...


I have bought a 3DS and seriously it is a blast compare to that thing that became no more than the WiiU huge game pad ...

darthburrito
darthburrito

Seems everyone here knows exactly what the Vita needs.

The_X_Factor_9
The_X_Factor_9

I use my Vita to play old PS One RPG's, Persona 4 Golden, Persona 3 Portable, and MLB: The Show.


The Vita works for me, but I can understand where/how people view it as a huge disappointment. I'd be happy to have it as my go-to gaming device if I was away from home for a considerable amount of time. 


I agree that the future of the Vita is in the indie scene/cross buy-cross play/and Remote Play. A lot of PS4 games run shockingly well via Remote Play. It is truly impressive. 

NeoJ4K3
NeoJ4K3

The lack of information that people have on the console is staggering. There is 1800 games out for the system, many in the genres you all describe that you want, you just refuse to look. I love the vita and that is a good thing coming from someone who didn't enjoy the psp that much really. Good games but the vita has nowhere to go but even further up. So any great games on the system it is shocking.

m-k_wolf
m-k_wolf

I believe im gonna pay for playstation now its not free and I need to have Internet to stream games and if I wanted to play more AAA games I need to buy ps4 to have fun with my ps vita so if people dont have a ps4 no more fun....... just indi games

that I can get them for free in my phone

Kjranu
Kjranu

We don't need 'console-quality' but Vita exclusive games that make the platform worth buying and/or brushing dust off! 

sdinh225
sdinh225

What I think the Vita needs?


I think the Vita needs more Japanese games, especially JRPGs since that's why I bought the PSP 3k and both Vita models for, but I'll pick AAA exclusives out of the options in this article. I bought a few exclusives like Killzone Mercs and Tearaway but only on sale for less than 20 bucks because they don't keep me settled down for too long but at least definitely longer than indies. Can't comment on remote play because I have neither PS3 or PS4, yet.


I'm mainly looking forward to games like SAO and PSO2 for the Vita although the lineup in Japanese games are pretty decent enough for the time being. Still want more to get statesided though.

derekscorp
derekscorp

This is jus like the WiiU. It's a sales flop and most 3rd parties don't want to commit to it.

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

The Vita is the best gaming console in the history of the universe. I've had mine for over a year. I've got at least 30 games for it, and there are at least 30 more I want to get.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

If they ever make another handheld, they should avoid using proprietary memory cards... The excuse of "equal condition for everyone" is bollocks when you consider people having different hard drives in their consoles/computers, in the end what will make more money them selling a few memory sticks to the few people that buy the system, or getting a decent amount of people buying games for it... Not to mention a lot of people would still buy their brand of whatever they go with anyway, just wont pull a stupid profit on each one.

I know for sure that was the reason I didn't bother buying at release and now no one wants to develop for it because of said lack of sales.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

This didn't seem to be a problem when the psp had gta, metal gear, and god of war exclusives. Perhaps the handheld market isn't what it used to be in the west.

ninja-jason51
ninja-jason51

I probably won't buy a Vita if it doesn't get more AAA games, maybe if it got more JRPGs that are in English I would get my hands on one, but for Indies, no never.

binbin90
binbin90

didn't the PSP had it's fair share of AAA games???? How come it doesn't work on the Vita??

gabrielpatty
gabrielpatty

 My heath is wavering cause I don't hear AAA titles are coming

gabrielpatty
gabrielpatty

PS VITA! I'm rooting for you! I LOVE YOU, dammit!

immortality20
immortality20

I didn't buy the Vita to play PS3 games or stream PS4 games or anything like that. I bought it because I thought they'd put unique AAA experiences on it, I'm pretty damn disappointed. Guess now it's nothing more than a indie box and hope 3rd party games will be good. You're not making any 3rd party more interested if you're officially saying it's not worth putting big budget games on it, not good marketing at all.

e93gsx
e93gsx

I do a lot of traveling and out of the house a lot so I was excited about the Vita and it did not disappoint. I love the Vita. Gaming on a cell phone or tablet is nice but more suited for a quick game every now and then in my option. I love all the indie titles and do play a lot of them but I do wish there was more AAA games that really would flex the Vitas muscles. It’s an awesome piece of hardware I am playing some relatively simple games on.

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

Vita was a waste of sonys time and money which could of been better spent backing the ps4. Right now handheld gaming is hitting a crossroads due to the advent of mobile gaming even the 3ds will likely finish its run as the lowest selling handheld out of nintendos handheld portfolio. Let alone a new one which doesn't have the brand name recoginition that nintendo hand held ips hold ( pokemon). The Psp was a decent effort I just wish sony saw the writing on the walls and saved themselves some trouble.

AtlasTheStrong
AtlasTheStrong

I had a Vita for some time but i traded it in, not because it was bad but because my console died and much rather play on my TV then in my hands. Now i have a PS3 and PS4 and once i have the cash i plan on getting a slim. With all that said the major reason we don't see AAA games on it is it's sales numbers. At most i believe there are 8.5 million Vitas out there and that's not enough to warrant the cost of AAA. IMO.

keyboarder20
keyboarder20

I bought my PS vita about 4 months ago. I wasn't to sure if to get it or not because of the negative reviews. However, I'm so please I have it. The Vita is in my opinion the best handheld console ever. I enjoy to play games on it, it has great graphics and sound and I find it to be very good for the internet.All I can say is that I play the Vita more than any other console handheld or not. So,I'm really excited about Sony's future plans for the Vita. You knock down the Vita if you want but in my opinion it's a great console. I think that the people who don't like the Vita are the one's who don't own one for whatever reason and they don't know what they are talking about. 

bigruss730
bigruss730

It is too expensive for an irrelivent piece of hardware

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

Does anyone else hate the Vita's UI? I find the bubbles atrocious. At least allow for classic mode. 

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

I blame PS+ for poor sales. Why pay money for Vita games when in 6 months you will get it free on ps+? It encourages fewer sales which leads to fewer profits and the smaller probability of AAA games. 

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

this is an easy problem. have square and capcom release games for the system like old final fantasy/phoenix wright/ professor layton/ bravely default. bring more jrpgs/hatsume miku / addictive life/dating sims & lower prices of these stupid memory cards. they already have good support from western indies so that will solve the sales problem. 

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@GregoryBastards I know you were mocking, and I honestly don't get how you think being "smart" is relatable to indie games. People just want some quality games, and games that are big and have money put into them to create a great story, graphics, characters/voices etc.. They promised a console experience, and yet they have failed to deliver. I didn't buy the VITA to play overpriced phone games and indie games,. I would even be more happy if multi-platform games are released for the VITA, but they rarely do.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@YukoAsho Vita isn't failed system, it's a good system with failed marketing. That might change ps4 streaming and PSNow becomes popular.

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@Keaze_ The VITAS have recently been sold out due to the Borderlands bundle. I want another Uncharted game, which I believe will help sales. I don't think it's exclusives that will help it the most though, but popular multi-platform games that will increase sales. The idea of playing big games on the go, on a handheld gaming system, seems more appealing than an indie machine, and even more than it would with extra exclusives.

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@jusko27 There's still exclusives like little big planet, uncharted, killzone etc.. there's games like need for speed, god of wars), metal gears etc.. It does lack games, but I'm just saying that the games you mentioned are playable on the VITA. It has a big library when you take into consideration that you can buy PSP games and PS classics. I'm still happy with mine, and  I have games like little big planet, uncharted, killzone, umvc3, final fantasies, metal gears etc..

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@gunnmetal It's not so much that handheld is dead.  It's exclusively that Sony has not done what is needed to make it relevant against the juggernaut of the 3DS.  All the games that really work on the go are consigned to being download only, where more casual consumers will NEVER see them, while almost all of the retail titles are either PS3 ports or games that would be better on PS3.


The failure of the PSVita - and make no mistake, the Vita is a failure - doesn't mean dedicated handhelds are done for.  It does, however, mean that Nintendo's iron grip on the dedicated handheld market will continue for the forseeable future, simply because it seems only Nintendo understands the value of physical versions of portable games that are appropriate for being on the go.

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@Coco_pierrot A game like Uncharted or even Little Big Planet is boring? Or even multiplatform games? it's about playing console-type games on the go, although I agree that they are lacking now by not bringing much new releases out. But come on, even games like final fantasies, Persona etc. on the go? OK. I'm sure it will be awesome with a PS4 also.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@canuckbiker It's because the psp didn't have the power to handle modern day graphics, so they were basically just putting ps2 quality stuff on there, which was cheaper... Not that I had a problem with that, enjoyed the hell out of my psp, still do occasionally.

ollie_sr
ollie_sr

@binbin90 The landscape has changed significantly since then. It doesn't make sense to put so much money into big AAA projects when that's not what people are buying anymore.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

1) Its hardware is as good as you'll ever see on a handheld anytime soon, 2) It's cheaper than the psp was.

KiriharaZro
KiriharaZro

@bigruss730  

No, they just are justifying their lack of interest in a console that has a lot to offer on its own, but they only see it as a tool for their PS4 fiasco

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@mr_nee @YukoAsho I'm from England, and the VITA was promoted a lot when it released. Then again, the advertisements also gave false hope. The lack of games is the problem, as even multi-platform games don't usually come out for the VITA. They might start giving a f if they release a PS4 + VITA bundle, but that probably won't happen now either as they seem to be more focused on putting the VITA features on their smart phones.

itsdannythatsme
itsdannythatsme

@YukoAsho You can't exactly call it a "failure" when it is still out. The PS3 had nothing for a long time. The current VITA has more to offer in games (at least exclusives) than the PS3 did for around 2006-2008. Also, the VITA was recently sold out with the Borderlands bundle, as well as being the top selling gaming system in places like Japan, and may possibly release in the future in a PS4 bundle. It seems like they have just given up on it for awhile due to being focused on the PS4, as well as the companies focusing on PS4 exclusive games. Sony haven't really delivered on their promises so far though.

suprsolider
suprsolider

@ollie_sr @binbin90 

Yet it works just fine on the 3DS when they get games such as A Link Between Worlds, Mario 3D Land, and more.

That is a bunch of hogwash and you know it.

Sony is just being lazy since they want to concntrate more on the console side aka PS4 where most of their fanbase is.  Sony needs to be called out more on their treatment of the Vita and people making excuses for them isn't helping.

Sora2314
Sora2314

@ydnarrewop @keyboarder20  I've had a Vita for around 5-6 months and it seems nice but I don't think I'm enjoying it as much as you guys. Right now I only have Persona 4 Golden, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, The Walking Dead Season 1, and Retro City Rampage. I also have Resident Evil 2 and Dino Crisis as PSone classics. Is there anything anyone would suggest to enhance my Vita experience to an optimal level?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Killzone mercenary is as good of a fps as handhelds can offer. Gravity rush and little big planet vita are fun exclusives. I'd recommend the god of war collection if you haven't played them. For indies hotline Miami and spelunky are fun little time killers.