'People don't want' PS Vita - Heavy Iron

Developers offer grim assessment of upcoming portable, saying Sony will have a tough time finding audience with prevalence of iOS and Android devices.

Nintendo is having a tough time with its 3DS. Not six months after the device launched, Nintendo slashed the price tag on its 3D-enabled handheld by 32 percent in the US, and analysts heralded the move as evidence that the market is shifting away from gaming-specific hardware. Now, according to Heavy Iron Studios heads Lyle Hall and Matthew Seymour, Sony and its PlayStation Vita are also in trouble.

It seems safe to say that Heavy Iron Studios will be staying away from the PS Vita.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Heavy Iron Studios' president and CEO Lyle Hall said that the PS Vita is going to have a hard time succeeding at its price point when it is released in Europe and the US in 2012. A primary reason for this, he believes, is competition from multipurpose iOS and Android mobile devices.

"If people aren't willing to pay $249 for a Nintendo 3DS, why would they pay $299 for Vita?" he said. "People don't want to carry more than one thing in their pocket; that's why Android and iPhone have done so well. They are the devices of choice; they offer multiple functions outside of gaming."

"People don't want it. That's Nintendo's huge challenge--how do they add value to that?"

Heavy Iron Studios' Matthew Seymour was harsher with his assessment of the PS Vita's launch prospects. "With all due respect to Sony and Vita, it's a car wreck," he said.

According to GI.biz, Seymour has some 20 year's game-industry experience and formerly headed up Silent Hill: Downpour studio Vatra Games.

As for Heavy Iron Studios, the Los Angeles-based developer was formed in 1999 as a wholly owned THQ shop. The outfit created several licensed titles, including games based on Spongebob, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and others. In 2009, following the release of a title based on Disney Pixar's Up, the studio became independent. Most recently, Heavy Iron Studios shipped UFC Personal Trainer and is currently at work on unannounced projects.

Although Hall was harsh in his critique of the PS Vita, he did state his admiration for the technology. According to Hall, "The technology is sweet; I'm a huge fan of mobile technology, but I just don't know there's a market out there anymore for the hardware. I can't see why you would want to put a device out that only does games."

Sony's latest efforts in the portable device sector haven't proven too fruitful for the Japanese giant. Most recently, Sony discontinued production of the PSP Go in Japan, following its rocky launch in 2009, and the PlayStation Phone--the Xperia Play--was initially sold for $200 in May and then was quickly cut to $100 in July.

For more on the PS Vita, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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Discussion

736 comments
Morpheus9950
Morpheus9950

Matt Seymour may be correct: his customers, the people who bought such brilliant games as Spongebob, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Up, and UFC Personal Trainer, may not want the 3DS or the PS Vita. But who gives a f**k?

RACiEP
RACiEP

Why do all of these "analysts" assume that console/handheld gamers, tablet users, and cell phone users all fall under the same category? Clearly people who ONLY have a smartphone do not care to have a deep gaming experience. They only want to play little five-minute games to kill time in places like the doctor's office. These are two completely different demographics. Cell phone games will ALWAYS be inferior to handheld and console games. I am a console and handheld gamer, therefore I do NOT want to replace these with a silly tablet or a new phone. Like most of the population, I have a smartphone also, but I have absolutely NO intension of it replacing my game systems. The reason why the 3DS isn't doing well is that the line-up of games, was and still is weak. There are so many more DS games that people just don't feel the need to upgrade. Hopefully Sony will have a strong line-up. *edit* Oh and the price in the article is a bit misleading... only the WiFi+3G model of the Vita is $299.99. The WiFi only model is $249.99. You don't have to get the 3G model and I don't see why anyone would anyway. Sony has stated that the 3G wouldn't be fast enough to play together online with anyone. The purpose of the 3G is to just do things like access the Internet and chat with other users.

IrvDanali
IrvDanali

they had me at two analog sticks. Im so on board.

dinslacck
dinslacck

what? how dare he say that, i want vita!

milkpudding
milkpudding

I don't know what makes the 'analysts' think smartphones will replace a dedicated handheld gaming device. They can try to be a swiss army knife but they are still jack of all trades.

AvanDeventeer
AvanDeventeer

@Frame_Dragger: Well, as long as the burrito is not that spicy, I believe it should be OK mate! Lol! Cheers!

PresidentDman
PresidentDman

While i appreciate there are those around who are looking forward to this I posted a comment about this months ago more a less along the lines of "why bother"? This is only going to appeal to a minority of people and given the failure of the xperia play you really have to scratch you head at this one.

The_PS_Critic
The_PS_Critic

A phone will never outpreform a dedicated gaming handheld ever, end of story. You analysts can keep your phones, I'll keep my 3DS and Vita when it comes out.

anzelm
anzelm

I will buy PS Vita. It all come down to the games. I'd like a gaming device that will let me enjoy games like Uncharted when I'm travelling. Snack size gaming isn't for me in the long run. I also would like real controls, not only touch screen. PS vita could easily play games like those on Iphone as well as more AAA titles like Uncharted, Killzone and so on. Now it is in the hands of Sony and the developers, please don't let us down.

skyvongola13
skyvongola13

im going to buy vita i think it is a fun console

milkpudding
milkpudding

Eh they are wrong. I'm a girl yet I want a Vita (not 3ds) Android and iphone cannot even substitute my psp2000 not to mention Vita.

megakick
megakick

I don't want this? I can buy a phone that can do the samething. How much money and how good does the graphics have to be for playing games on the run? No thanx.

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

Listen... 3D=nothing but gimmick. Been around since my grandma, seriously. Is it a bit more refined? Yes, but it always goes out of season, and eventually makes a come back. All and all though, don't make a commitment like Nintendo did to it. I said the 3DS would end up like the cube, no ones buying. Bravo for the bravery Nintendo, that why people love 'em. But you either gotta be a whole lot more brave than that or a whole lot more safe with this economy. The PS Vita, can succeed. But they're right, no ones gonna drop 299 for it, I mean... that's more than the ps3 now. This aint about people dropping out of gaming, it's about the industry of gaming dropping out people. We wanna game! Gaming has never been as successful as it is now, but these marketing chumps... c'mon. If only the people that sold your product, loved your product, and wanted you to love their product. But they only want you to buy their product, reality. Can't blame them I guess. Remember how much the ps3 was on release? Oh god, that's literally my entire paycheck.

Granpire
Granpire

I am sick and tired of these analysts claiming that people "don't want" newer portables. The reason why the 3DS hasn't taken off is because of the small number of quality titles and the lack of any real new features. At least, that's my analysis of the situation. I have a very different idea about the Vita, and I do plan on buying one.

AvanDeventeer
AvanDeventeer

At this pace, cellphones will come with a Microwave, an toilet paper, dishwasher, etc. I don't know about you guys but one good thing is the fact that people are playing more games, hence increasing the demand for "quality" products with cellphones, however if these big brand companies want to be big players in this "game" they may need to consider a better pricing strategy... Vita looks really cool but I think Sony could lower the price a little, to make it more attractive to the consumer. My 2 cents...

syedmuz
syedmuz

I'd bloody want a vita over all those other handhelds.

Bomberman10
Bomberman10

I actually think quite the opposite; the tablet and cell phone gaming is encouraging new people to play games. Since the tablet and android don't offer too many HUGE games, they will go to systems like the playstation vita and DS. The gaming community will want more in-depth games, so they will buy these consoles and games.

mrzisawesome
mrzisawesome

the games for 3ds are incomparably better than anything on the iPhone. same probably goes for the Vita.

predatorGS
predatorGS

It sounds like they are thinking that every smartphone user was a handheld gamer before the smartphones became powerful. Almost all phones are now smartphones, not every owner of such a phone is a "real" gamer. I imagine that people who bought handheld devices before, are likely to buy the psp vita (or even the N. 3DS), even if they have a smartphone.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@WaterMelnKidd It doesn't have those games at the moment but I'd imagine it'll surpass Vita in those aspects pretty soon. With games like Resident Evil, Dragon Quest, Kid Icarus and Zelda along with Metroid and Fire Emblem bound to come. There's not much on the Vita that doesn't look like console copies put on the handheld. It's biggest pull seems to be games like LBP and Uncharted which we've already played quite a lot on PS3 and have little reason to invest in a handheld for inferior versions. Nintendo's games tend to differentiate themselves each time and have some unique pull and I think the Vita will be quite good in the end but so far I see no unique and interesting (or even hardcore) new titles that aren't just franchise spin offs of PS3 games. In the end at least I can count on Dragon Quest, Phoenix Wright and Pokemon to be different to what I'd get on the Wii but Sony has yet to differentiate its handheld from it's console other than it being portable and copying touch controls. They will both be good but they both need more games and it's sad if anyone considers either side to be on the right track at the moment as neither have enough good unique games.

Au4Ob10
Au4Ob10

People gotta realize, quality over quantity.

bluespire1
bluespire1

Its a game console not a smartphone

bluespire1
bluespire1

I'm a buying me a vita ya know...Obviously people who buy I phones and Android phones are not gamers...People who buy the 3DS and Vita are gamers most people who bought the Wii are not gamers that's why the difference in the market.Playsattion Vita is built for gamers not for facebook

varunvikram1
varunvikram1

the idea behind vita is good ie ability to play ps3 games while traveling. If they stay true to this i am in.

catsith
catsith

I don't know about you guys, but seriously i own both ps3 and psp and i find myself way more attached to my psp than my ps3 becuase I study away from home and didn't bring my ps3 me. I would seriously pay for a very well made portable gaming device even if it cost more than a home console. Its about quality not quantity for all you those thinking home consoles should be better than portable ones

ForsakenWicked
ForsakenWicked

I think that there's still room for "gaming-specific hardware". I'd like to think that most of us GS users still like the idea of having full fledged games with a decent story, voice acting, etc. Of course a part of the market has now gone on to these other devices but that's no reason to think gaming-specific hardware is doomed. The problem with the 3DS, in my opinion, had to do with its price considering its already aged hardware and the lack of launch games.

muzza93
muzza93

Im definitely planning on getting a PSV, but not at launch cos none of the games look good, when they make a good FPS for the Vita i'll definitely buy it.

muzza93
muzza93

Im definitely planning on getting a PSV, but not at launch cos none of the games look good, when they make a good FPS for the Vita i'll definitely buy it.

stek_SFE
stek_SFE

People will carry more than one thing in their pocket if they want to play a half decent game while they're out and about. Smart phones are great for what they are but there's no comparison when it comes to the quality of their games and the ones on dedicated devices.

nicholaslo
nicholaslo

The vita will not fail. Didn't the response at e3 2011 show that.

mat989
mat989

I agree...unfortunately, also due to financial matters I'd rather not discuss here, people are tending for more flexible hardware now. I mean, the infamous phrase "play while you're traveling" sounds ridiculous now...anyone remember way back there when N-Gage was launched? it was so awesome (to the time) having a cellphone with capacibility of playing 3D games....now for a hundred bucks or even less you can get something way better, more functions, more battery life... and somebody answer me who in the world walks on the streets with a 3DS in his/her pocket??

koospetoors
koospetoors

I find it kinda hard to take Heavy Iron's statement serious when all they've contributed to the gaming world is a lame trainer and a whole bunch horrible movie games.

ColoradoKindBud
ColoradoKindBud

Umm, Heavy Iron Studios? Is this a joke? Tell me one game they've made that wasn't movie-tie in dreck & then maybe I'd consider their point of view. I think the Vita will do just fine without any games from this crap development house. And I own the latest greatest I-Pad & have a Jesus phone as well, & although there are some good games available, (and they're getting better all the time), they do not compare with the quality of a dedicated handheld gaming device for gaming. I've already paid off my Vita & am looking forward to having great games on the go as well as the "cloud" for compatibility with my PS3.

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

lol android and iphone games will never have the PSV and 3DS quality. 3DS just failed just because it had a poor lineup.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

@WaterMelnKidd : I think you've missed some of the great games on the DS because its flood of children's games and shovelware. The PSP's greatest titles stand out because support for the system dried up. The DS's greatest titles might not stand out so much because so many games were released for it.

PseudoElite
PseudoElite

Vita will face the same problem the 3DS currently faces: Why pay so much $$$ for a handheld when you can buy a full size console for the same price? If you want to play "on the move" you can always use your phone apps, which are getting more advanced every day.

ToughCritic28
ToughCritic28

I definitely think he has a point. I think there is a pretty large audience that will pass on it just because they have a smartphone that can multiple functions including gaming. However, to me where his argument breaks down is the fact that games on portable gaming devices are and will always be superior to smartphone games. There are multiple classics on portable gaming devices and only one for the smartphone (angry birds, which in my opinion is shallow and gets old fairly quickly). I definitely think there is still a market for portable gaming devices, I'm just concerned as to how big it is.

Santesyu
Santesyu

He needs to stay away from vita while everyone else will be playing it.

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

@Dualmask, I came on here to say almost the exact same thing. To put it another way: apologies in advance if this is too crude, but Heavy Iron's so-called analysis has about as much value as the TP I used to wipe my bung-hole this morning. The reason the 3DS hasn't sold well has NOTHING to do with iPhones/Android phones, & everything to do w/ the following 2 facts: 1) The 3DS launch games SUCK ass. 2) We are in a world-wide depression...so, many people are getting by on less money. In the US, this is primarily due to off-shoring of good paying jobs to other countries. When people have lower paying jobs or no job at all, they have less money to spend. In economic terms, lower demand = less sales because people have to pay for rent/mortgage, food, doctor bills, etc...first before they can buy toys. So, if the launch lineup for the Vita is better than the 3DS *and* the economy improves so that people have good jobs & more money to spend, then I think the Vita will do fine. If the economy does not improve but the launch lineup is good, it will still do fine because many people will simply buy the Vita using a credit card (not smart, but it is what it is). If the launch lineup sucks & the economy doesn't improve, then yes the Vita is in trouble & it will do no better than the 3DS. One thing is for sure: these analysts are morons. The iPhone/Android gaming market has nothing in common with dedicated hand-helds & does not cannibalize sales from it.

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GhostHero333
GhostHero333

vita is going to be amazing if they can put out good games for it. Like call of duty, battlefield, resistance, resident evil, and more big franchise games, but they need to make sure its not too watered down they need to have the same aspects.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I said it before and I'll say it again: no one goes out looking for a gaming handheld and grabs an iPhone over a DS or PSP. I honestly do not believe iOS and Android devices are a threat to portable gaming hardware in and of itself, because dedicated portable gaming hardware has games that offer console-quality levels of depth...not to mention actual buttons. None of these analysts are paying attention to the fact that the DS (not the 3DS) is still selling strongly. It's not about mobile devices that can do more, it's the fact that these new handhelds coming out (3DS/Vita) are putting in too many features that people don't want that jack up the price. Hardcore gamers here may love the 3DS' design but it does nothing that appeals to people who grew up loving Nintendo's previous handhelds--the 3D offers nothing to improve the gaming experience and being able to turn it off only emphasizes the point that it shouldn't have been included in the first place. And then there's the games, or the lack thereof. The 3DS offers no compelling reason to get it over the hardware that's already out...that has nothing to do with iPhones or Android devices, but what the 3DS offers in contrast to what's available for the DS and PSP.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

jumping the gun much, but then again they are paid to have these provocative opinions and projections... this is a bit outrageous thou, this article is making it seem like portables will dissappear all-together... and i dont see that happening until droid/iphones step up in hardware and software development, the current games for the iphones/droids are distractions nothing more. How can you compare zelda/uncharted to angry birds...cmon!

monkeyman737
monkeyman737

@mrmime777 wow slow down for a second my friend both the vita and the 3ds are great portable consoles and while the vita trumps the 3ds in pure horsepower we all know the psp vs ds battle all to well.

chazy035
chazy035

I feel that dedicated handheld gaming are for the Enlisted servicemen and women. They travel, go to tours. They don't use a cell phone and may not have a TV to plug their PS3/360 into. I think this stuff are for people who travel. Couch potatoes and rich people don't need this and especially unemployed lazy teenagers.

WaterMelnKidd
WaterMelnKidd

STOP comparing the Vita to the 3DS. Yes they are both handhelds - but that is it, nothing more is similar. The Vita has full blown graphical capabilities, support for the most popular games in the world, constant online connection for gaming - a multitude of features the 3DS can't compare to. And what are we looking at when we see the 3DS? A over-hyper second generation of a handheld console that no serious gamer even considered, with a screen resolution beaten about four years ago by the original iPhone / iPod touch, unwanted control mechanics with simplistic - boring games for children and uninterested adults, it has no serious games at all. What counts as a serious game? One with a huge plot that drags you in, artwork that brings you into the game, epic music and memorable characters. The only games that fits the 3DS like this are none-unique. People saw the 3DS games decades ago on older consoles - and these are the only games getting high ratings because they are aimed at younger kids and the adults who feel nostalgia are also playing them. It probably sounds stupid to most people, but consoles are not dead nor dying, and I along with a huge amount of other people want the Vita. I know in my college, only one person that I know of is exclusively an iOS player - everybody else plays Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC + some play PSP also.

Darthkaiser
Darthkaiser moderator moderator

"People don't want the PSVita" I think that's an exageration on the guy's part, he is putting his opinon as if it were the general audience's. He might have experience in the industry but I don't really consider him an expert seeing his "outstanding" portfolio of GOTY titles. "I can't see why you would want to put a device out that only does games" And I can't see why not mister, game only devices were the base stone of the portable industry and that's why it's so popular these days, the addition of aplications like facebook, skype, tweeter, internet explorer is a nice plus on a gaming device it's not a necesity. You can't compare games on the Ipod, Android phones with portable consoles, games on the phones are just an addition to the device main function which is doing calls and most of them resemble mini or flash games, while game on the portable consoles are the main function of the device and thus are more ellaborated. Phones were made to do calls, portable consoles were made to play games, as much as each side wants to add elements to emulate the other, their purposes will remain and they won't be able to fully become the other side Whatever he said, is fine it's his opinion but I don't agree with making predictions based on that. He may have some experience but he is no expert.

foxfacer2d2
foxfacer2d2

psp vita = ps3 with battery and some small extras why would I buy it if i don't even need it. Unless of course a price drop would be good.

nemesi609
nemesi609

look at the dev that said this though... a handful of mostly terrible licensed games, and an even worse kinect game.... who cares what their opinion is.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@mrmime777 Really? Somebodies bitter about something.