If 3DS Bombs, PlayStation Vita Fails

It’s tough to believe that, despite ruling the video game industry the past several years, Nintendo’s fate rests squarely on the underperforming 3DS. If for some reason millions of consumers don’t purchase systems after the huge price cut and the arrival of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 in November and December, respectively, the big N may finally lose its grip on the handheld market.

At first glance, this would seem like a wonderful scenario for both Sony and its millions of diehard fans worldwide. The publisher plans to unleash PlayStation Vita in Japan before the end of the year, and hopes to bring the powerful machine to the U.S. and Europe shortly thereafter. With Nintendo possibly wounded, the company could become the first competitor to unseat the previously unbeatable giant.

That said, it’s easy to imagine scenes of Sony’s higher ups drinking champagne and dancing around their offices.


It’s a pipedream, really. For Sony and PlayStation Vita to have any chance at success, Nintendo must also succeed.

Whether both parties want to admit it or not, smart phone gaming has greatly affected the handheld industry. Nintendo’s 3DS woes are directly linked to this emerging market, in addition to a high launch price and a lack of triple A titles.

To combat this, Mario and Co. constructed a stellar holiday lineup that not only includes the aforementioned Mario games, but also Star Fox 64 3DKid Icarus: Uprising and Pokemon Rumble Blast.

A foolproof plan of attack, at least on paper.

Thing is, the constantly evolving industry has left some doubting Nintendo’s ability to sell systems, even with some of its biggest characters headlining what is sure to be one of the biggest holidays in recent memory.

If consumers choose to ignore these games and 3DS in general, Sony is most certainly doomed. Not only would it have the most expensive handheld (the Wi-Fi PlayStation Vita will retail for $249.99), but also inferior brands at launch. The company produces some of the best games worldwide, but we have a hard time believing Uncharted: Golden AbyssWipeout 2048 and Hot Shots Golf would pique people’s interests after they snubbed their noses at Mario and Pokemon.


A 3DS defeat would essentially kill PlayStation Vita before the system arrived in stores. There’s no way buyers who already ignored a $169.99 device would pony up the cash for one that costs $249.99. They’ll just stick to playing Angry Birds on their iPhones and Android enabled devices.

That’s the consumer telling the gaming industry that times have definitely changed.

Conversely, a Nintendo victory would silence critics, proving that traditional handheld gaming can thrive in the wake of cheap apps. In other words, business as usual.

Taking all of this into account, Sony should keep the champagne on ice.

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