Make no mistake, portable gaming is the way of the future. The internet has made an increasing amount of content available to consumers (regardless and location), and games are quickly evolving to suit the ever-changing demands of the market. In this respect mobile phones have entered the fray, offering a host of inexpensive downloadable games that can be played on the device of your choice. However, most of the games available on mobile (or smart) phones and tablets don,t have the depth of their PC or console counterparts, and mainly geared towards providing quick entertain for people on the go. When it comes to full-fledged titles that pack a lot of content, portable consoles are still the way to go. The year the portable gaming industry witnessed a lot of buzz concerning the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita – from the two current heavyweights in portable gaming.
The Nintendo 3DS was flagged as a breakthrough in portable entertainment. As the first portable gaming console to implement spectacles-free 3D effects, it got a lot of people exited when it was announced. It was also highly anticipated by fans of its predecessor, the DS. However, once the 3DS was released to the public, the general opinion took a 180-degree turn.
The initial problem lay with the pricing of the new system. Going for a sale price of US dollars, it seemed quite outrageous a sum to pay for just the base system. Additionally, with Nintendo,s reputation for making a profit on all its hardware sales, the 3DS seemed out of reach for most people looking to upgrade from their old DS systems. Along with the issues of pricing was lack of bundled titles that would have supported the system. When the handled was released in late march, only a handful of games made it to the system,s launch window, with a majority of them being third-party titles. The only launch titles produced in-house by Nintendo were Steel Driver and Nintendogs + Cats. The rather dry launch period was worsened by the lack of downloadable games for the 3DS, and the fact that the device had a rather short battery life. This made it fun only for the initial user base – and that too as a novelty for about a month; after that period, users either went back to their old systems, or began looking for alternatives. This issues led to the highly disappointing sales in the first few months for Nintendo, which was banking on the new handheld’s widespread adoption.
Soon , however, the company acknowledged the problems with the system, and began a rigrid campaign to fix them. At E3 2011, Nintendo announced a slew of new titles such as Super Mario 3D, Mario Kart 7, Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Tekken 3D, as well as the official launch of the Nintendo eShop – the dedicated online service for games on the 3DS. The company has found itself taking on an uphill task, but if there is anything we have learned over the years, it’s that Nintendo has a reputation for delivering its content well.
Sony has been pulling out all the stops to dominate the handheld market with the PlayStation Vita. Now, more than ever, the hype is at an all-time high for the system. With its touch features, cross-platform play, powerful hardware and a great line-up of games and apps, it’s running high on expectations. While it is too soon to hell, there are a growing number of concerns that the black “wonder-brick” faces are well.
The Vita touts a quad-core ARM cortex-A9 processor that puts it toe-to-toe with high-end smartphones in the market today. This allows the system to play extremely powerful games and to multitask. However, there are speculations about the true potential of the system’s capabilities. Even worse, recent news pegs the system’s battery life at a dismal three to five hours. Comparatively, smartphones and other handhelds provide much more power on a single charge. Adding to that is the bulky design that makes it hard to fit into pockets, VGA cameras that don’t match the high-definition variants in the market, and the use of expensive new proprietary memory cards that are necessary for saving data. Moreover, Sony has stated that it has no plans to drop the price on the system, and will sell it at a fixed price-tag of 250 US dollars.
Despite all its caveats, the market is eagerly anticipating the release of the PlayStation Vita and its possibilities. Sony has already announced that games such as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Dust 514, Ruin and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will be released for both PS3 and Vita, with some games even allowing cross-platform play. With its aggressive marketing campaign and a strong line-up of titles and developers, the PlayStation Vita is gearing towards capturing a respective size of the market, and possibly dominating the next-generation of handheld devices.