Monday, August 12, 2013

Pachter kills the Vita, long live the Vita

I normally wouldn't bother responding to this, but since there's likely not much news ahead of Gamescom, rant on! In one of his blabber-fests, industry gob-shite Pachter has condemned the Vita to death. He knows the numbers, or has a better idea than most, so there is some basis to his assertion.

Hints about those numbers and market activity back up his claims, the Vita isn't selling, but you don't need to be an industry analyst to work that one out. However, for those who own a Vita, or will pick one up over the rest of the year, "death" isn't the problem it used to be. Over a decade after its scrapping, there are still coders writing games for Sega's Dreamcast, and that system lacks the developer tools like Unity that make the Vita far more attractive to develop for.

His suggestion of "death" is likely from the lack of interest from big-name developers, which is true and most gamers have grumbled about since launch. When the Vita failed to sell millions of units in its first month, that writing was always on the wall. So, Sony has dug in and got on with the job (while also working up for the PS4).

So, we have a lively stream of indies, and most developers seem pretty happy with the returns they are getting from the compact but thriving ecosystem. As that builds up a head of steam, it might not attract the big names, but mid-range developers who can quickly pivot a project for the Vita are more likely to take an interest. And, with the PS4 finally approaching launch, Sony should be able to divert some resources back to it (we had the same thing with PSP and PS3).

More games = more interest and if that continues to build up, then so will word of mouth and sales. Throw in the expected price-cut or bundle, and you have "a cheap, great, fun games machine" that people will be talking about. So, while we're pretty much guaranteed the Vita won't ever be the portable PS3 Sony wanted it to be, for gamers enjoying the growing line-up of truly portable games (Stealth Inc. is sooo beautiful in that respect) things are cooking nicely.

That's not counting the likes of Killzone and Tearaway, and, before that death certificate gets stamped, it only takes one left-field hit to become a social, cultural, geeky phenomenon, or one big-name game (as hinted at) to blast off, and all of a sudden the Vita will sell a few more million units, and that will interest the big developers.

Also, remember Pachter's job is to promote Pachter, being right or wrong is not actually a part of his "media" job. Since he's talking numbers those are moving goalposts, with deniability and excusability stamped over every comment out of his mouth.

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