'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.
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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