Sony hopes to bring its new portable system, PlayStation Vita, to Japan before the end of the year, with a European and U.S. debut shortly thereafter.
All three launches will be key, since the company faces a much tougher fight than it did in 2004/2005 with PlayStation Portable.
During that time, it was PSP versus DS, with crude looking mobile games in the rearview.
Today, Sony must not only contend with the big N, but also Apple’s iPhone and iPad, along with multiple Android devices.
How the publisher releases Vita, and when, will be crucial to the handheld’s success. One misstep, and there could be a huge setback.
On that note, the following could derail PlayStation Vita’s launch.
Vita will need more than motion controls to top the competition.
Nintendo gains momentum
In a sense, and after several years, Sony finally has Nintendo right where the company wants it. Currently, Mario and Co. are wounded following the unimpressive 3DS launch and the four months that followed. On paper, now would be the perfect time to strike.
If only it were that easy. Sales picked up tremendously after Nintendo slashed the price of 3DS, and with a stellar lineup of games this holiday season, Sony could find itself in a huge hole by the time Vita arrives.
Releasing Vita too close to iPad 3
Apple normally releases iPads in March/April, exactly the time of the year we expect to see PlayStation Vita. No offence to Sony, but there’s no way it’ll be able to compete against iPad 3 if it dared to launch Vita the same weekend, especially if the tablet has a speedier processor and bigger screen than its predecessors.
The launch lineup falls apart
At Sony’s recent press conference in Germany, the publisher announced an aggressive campaign to bring the most impressive launch games to PlayStation Vita, a list that includes LittleBigPlanet, Resistance: Burning Skies, Uncharted: Golden Abyss andWipeout 2048, among other titles.
If that happened, Vita could have the greatest launch games of any system in history.
That is, if Sony pulls it off.
For now, there’s no guarantee the company will deliver on this bold prediction. If some of the biggest games get delayed, expect interest in Vita to wane.
Sony fails to attract new consumers
Let’s face it, hardcore Sony fans won’t propel PlayStation Vita to handheld superstardom. Sony, like Nintendo with Wii, needs to convince casual and non-gamers to buy the system. Uncharted won’t cut it. The company needs games like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds, the same million selling hits these folks enjoy on their smart phones and tablets.
If Vita lacks those games, there will be little to celebrate moving forward.
The system and games are too expensive
Nintendo learned a hard lesson about what happens when a publisher prices a handheld system too high. Consumers reacted negatively towards the 3DS’ initial $249.99 price, forcing Nintendo to slash it by $80.
At the moment, we don’t know if buyers will pick up Vita at $249 and $299 (3G version). What’s more, it remains to be seen if they’ll snatch up games at $49.99 a clip, though the prices remain unannounced at this point.
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