Opinion: What can Sony learn from Nintendo?

A wee while ago I wrote an article about what Nintendo could learn from Sony. I had lots of fun writing it and wanted to try swinging the question round, so please see below for part 2: What Sony can learn from Nintendo!

The Vita is a fantastic machine. It’s a powerhouse of a console, with loads of power behind it, a wonderfully vibrant screen, a pretty solid library and fantastic integration between it and it’s brother consoles PS3 and PS4.

So why are sales so soft? Time after time we’ve reported on the Podcast about it’s decreasing sales, and it’s constant whupping compared to the 3DS. In fact, Sony have even come out and said that it won’t hit the success of the PSP.

I wanted to come out with 5 suggestions as to how Sony can increase their Vita sales. What are they doing wrong compared to the majestic big N.

  • Investing in Franchises

Nintendo has got some huge exclusive, established franchises, sure but so has Sony. The difference being that Nintendo has successfully bought them across to it’s handheld console.
Let’s compare. 
Nintendo has bought to the 3DS: Pokemon; Zelda; Mario Kart; Fire Emblem; Animal Crossing; Various Mario platforming types; Professor Layton; and Kirby (there are plenty more but my fingers hurt).
PlayStation has bought the following exclusive titles from it’s huge library to the Vita: Uncharted; Little Big Planet; Resistance (so bad it doesn’t count); uhmm…

See there in lies the problem. There’s quite a few cool new franchises establishing themselves on Vita; Gravity Rush; Soul Sacrifice; Unit 13. Why has Sony not bought anything more across? It’s been out 2 years and there hasn’t been an original InFamous, no God Of War, no Demon’s Souls, all of which if done properly with love and care could sell buckets of Vitas. If Sony don’t trust their established franchises onto the Vita then why should consumers buy one? I know that Borderlands 2 is on the way but that’s been out a year and a half on home consoles, and there has been a few HD remakes (Jak and Daxter for example ) on Vita, but Sony keen consumers have played them already! And the less said about BioShock Vita the better…

  • Messy models

3DS is simple. you’ve got the 2DS for £99 your 3DS for £120 and the 3DS XL for £150. Easy as 3.14. Vita? Well there’s two models, same price, one is slightly smaller memory slightly lesser battery life better screen one is worse screen but thinner and has internal memory and a longer battery life AND IT’S ALL SO MESSY. If the Vita 2000 is a worse model why is it the same price? If it’s an upgrade why is it the same price?  If it’s as good as the other one what’s the point in bringing it out? It’s so frustrating – Nintendo has a really clear structure, the more features cost more and the smaller simpler models cost less. Sony has this muddley blob of Vita-ness and it sends a really confused message to casual consumers.

  • Nobody puts Vita in the corner

This is my favourite Nintendo 3DS game advert.

It came out at the same time as Pokemon, and though being terribly camp and cheesy it said “We’re Nintendo and we’re proud of our products. You’ll like them”. When was the last time you ever saw a Vita game advertised? It’s not like Nintendo don’t get adverts – ‘Michael’ took the internet by storm and still raises a hair on the arm

So why won’t Sony ever advertise the Vita? I can’t move ten metres without seeing an advert for PS4 – I wish Vita had the same love. How do they expect people to know it exists, and urgo adapt to it, if it’s hidden away like some dark secret?

  • Memory cards are hard

Nintendo are backwards about a lot of things, but they got one thing right – SD cards. It makes things cheap and easy and upgrading is a sinch. So what did PlayStation do? They started using these stupid wanky proprietary memory cards which fit nothing and cost an absolute fortune. I really really hope future Vita models fix this – they seem open to the idea by the Vita 2000 using a Micro-USB charger, so it looks like they could be starting to realise their mistakes.

  • A daft analogy for a serious point – where’s the gateway?

3DS Games are like drugs. You start on the slow, simple stuff like Pokemon and Animal Crossing, in a slightly dark room with a huge pack of crisps. Before long you’re begging the eShop for Guild01 sales with red eyes and a nervous twitch. Vita games are like houses. The casual gamer doesn’t want to sink money into any of them and has no incentive to even get on the ladder. Perhaps if there was a really popular hostel they could stay at to get used to living out for the first time, they could then start to work their way up before eventually getting a nice semi-detached in the country. This analogy is getting a bit loopy but there’s no reason for the casual gamer to get the Vita – there’s no equivalent of Animal Crossing, Pokemon, or Nintendogs to get entry level gamers invested in the ecosystem – how do Sony expect people to get in to the serious stuff if there’s no Bacardi Breezer equivalent to get them into the life of sin required?

So that’s what I reckon – how to turn the Vita’s fortunes around and maybe boost sales for the PlayStation’s handheld favourite. But what do I know? Maybe I’m completely wrong and Sony don’t like selling handheld consoles. Perhaps they’re more fussed about few consoles with deep game sales rather than a wide and shallow approach. Maybe Nintendo are paying them a huge chunk of cash to keep them off their tails? What do you think?! Get in touch over here or comment using the box below!


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