Can the Playstation Vita Succeed Where the Nintendo 3DS Failed?

A few months ago Sony announced the coming of the successor to the PSP, dubbed the PlayStation Vita. Month’s earlier Nintendo released their latest handheld gaming machine, the 3DS. Since its launch the 3DS has had lackluster sales causing Nintendo to prematurely lower the price of the system. Many are quick to point out that the competition from the mobile phone game market has cannibalized 3DS sales. However, is this really the case? If it’s not, then why has the 3DS struggled so much and what can the PlayStation Vita do to avoid the same problems.

The one thing that affects a system launch more than anything is the stable of games released with it. At its launch, Nintendo seemingly had several high profile 3rd party games launching with the system (Madden, Super Street Fighter, Sims) to name a few. However, most of these games were half baked launch titles. Most of these received poor reviews and weren’t compelling. Interest waned quickly.

From a technology standpoint the 3DS is innovative. It is the first handheld gaming device to convincingly use 3D, for the most part. Although the 3D effect is impressive, the narrow view field makes the system tedious and sometimes difficult to use. Also, early warnings from Nintendo regarding extended use of the 3D effect didn’t help.

So what can the PS Vita do to avoid these problems? The most important thing Sony can do is to have an impressive lineup for the PlayStation Vita. So far several successful PS3 franchises have already announced PlayStation Vita versions: Uncharted, Call of Duty, Silent Hill, Resistance, Mortal Kombat and many more. However, Sony needs to stress quality over quantity with these initial launch titles. Compelling games will attract more gamers and drive more sales for the PlayStation Vita.

On paper, the PlayStation Vita is a technological monster. It has nearly as much power as the PS3 and is a fraction of the size. It has a lot of nice features such as a front touch screen and a back touch pad as well a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer. All this high-tech stuff means nothing unless developers use these features in unique and creative ways. Sony needs to cultivate the creativity of their first party developers and push them to use the technology in ways we haven’t seen before. Much like the Nintendo Wii did when it originally launched, the PS Vita needs to pull people in by showing them something they haven’t seen before. If Sony’s first party developers can show what the PlayStation Vita is capable of, then 3rd party developers will surely jump in and maybe Sony will have its first truly successful handheld gaming machine.