Editorial: Why Tokyo Game Show is vital for the PS Vita

Posted By | On 31st, Jul. 2012 Under Editorials | Follow This Author @KartikMdgl

Sony’s E3 2012 performance was something that many people didn’t see coming. At a time when the Vita is going through severe growth pangs as a product, it was imperative for Sony to at least create some positive word of mouth by announcing some stunning games at E3. They didn’t. Instead, they devoted 20 minutes to Wonderbook while people were left bewildered at what was happening on screen and at the venue itself.

Sony World Wide Studios boss Shehui later attempted to do some damage control by saying it was due to their PR team that they were trying to showcase everything they had in less time and didn’t have enough time for the Vita. Now I don’t know what team Sony hired but any person following this farce would immediately be outraged at this decision. That’s why this has to change at GamesCom and more importantly at the Tokyo Game Show.

PSP was really prominent in Japan after Monster Hunter hit the handheld, and it’s not a secret that Capcom feels 3DS is its true successor for the franchise. So what does Sony have in its sleeve to make people buy Vita in droves? They recently revealed a new game called Soul Sacrifice, and while it looks fantastic, it is something that is still unproven in the market considering its a new IP.

Vita’s potential saviour

Time is running out for the system considering it’s almost 6 months since the system came out in the west and 9 months when you take into account its Japanese release. They could drop the price of the handheld to boost sales at least in Japan and promote it aggressively with bundles.

It doesn’t look like Sony is going to drop the price any time soon, as Sony has been shown to be resilient when it comes to all this. It is realistically expected to be dropped next year when Sony can properly shrink the components enough so that they don’t lose enough money when they eventually drop the price.

It’s unlikely that a price drop for the Vita will be announced at Tokyo Game Show, but at the stage it’s the software that matters in the end. So what can we expect from Sony’s conference at TGS? Gran Turismo Vita? Monster Hunter! Or anything new and exciting along with a lot of third-party support announcement?

Third-party announcements seems suspect at this stage considering Vita’s install base is not even 1 million in Japan. They need to rectify this as early as possible, because seeing stats like these will scare away any developer unless they have some deals with Sony. But it’s also imperative to build a decent install base and for that they need proper and stream of software to bolster the Vita’s library. This isn’t going to be possible without adequate third-party support.

Vita’s coverage has decreased across many sites too, since there’s hardly any fresh material to be covered in most cases. After Gravity Rush, there has hardly been any killer software to be released which will encourage adoption of the system in the Japanese market. Persona 4 Arena while managed to boost the system, it didn’t really set the hardware charts on fire, so what can Sony do to counteract this seemingly terrible situation their handheld is in.

They will announce their financial results in a few days, but the thing to note here is that the eyes will be on the Vita. Considering the system has sold 1.8 million so far, and in comparison the 3DS is at 19 million, you kinda know where the third-party resources will go. So Sony needs to announce some good games for the system at TGS to give confidence to people that they are indeed trying to give their all to support the system.

Sony’s carefree attitude when you look at their E3 conference shouldn’t be replicated again. Ever. The negative press surrounding that was something that didn’t really work in favour of them and gave a signal to consumers that they aren’t worried about the system’s future.

Here’s my wish list for the Tokyo Game Show:

  • Gran Turismo Vita
  • Soul Sacrifice info blowout
  • New IPs
  • Announcement of collaboration with third-party developers
  • Solid bundles
  • Monster Hunter or an equivalent clone from their first-party studios
  • Price drop

I can probably expect them to announce Gran Turismo Vita, but rest of them? Nope. Sony just doesn’t inspire confidence in me anymore when it comes to taking fast action.

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