Fight for the future

Polite Plea: After almost seven years and 7,000 articles, the number of stories is slowing down. Time and developers move on, but I'll always be posting, as the Vita becomes the new Dreamcast.
However, I do need a new Vita as my launch day model is starting to show its age. Please consider clicking an ad to help my new Vita fund!
Once reached, hopefully in time for Christmas, I will remove all adverts, leaving this island of Vita life an ad-free oasis!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Who will develop for the Vita if Sony won't?

Reports from visitors to EGX and other events say Sony had consigned the Vita to a dark corner of its massive PS4-dominated stand. Fair enough, the PS4 sells loads, it deserves prominence. However, Sony won't talk about, or promote, the Vita. Dismissing it during the recent FIFA 15 promotion, doing some half-hearted kids marketing and refusing to promote it at major events.

Even in Japan, larger developers are reducing features, delaying releases, all part of a seemingly inevitable decline. So, simple question: In a world where the Dreamcast is still supported, and developers code games for the MegaDrive or 8-bit computers, who and what do we need to build some viable Vita games?

Immediate help lies with friendly-to-Sony indie developers. However, Sony is already promoting PS4 as its lead indie machine, and it won't be long before incentive dries up for a Vita (or PS3 for that matter) version.

As we move into 2015 and beyond, that leaves non-aligned indies. While it is good to see a decent number of Kickstarter projects add Vita stretch goals, there's only so many Vita users with limited funds. Also, more games are starting to fail than succeed, and while some projects continue through self or other funding, there's only so much that can be done on a tiny budget.

Fortunately, development is a lot easier these days with Unity, the PSM Studio DevKit, GameMaker and other systems let anyone create. That means novices, homebrewers and bedroom coders can start getting their fingers dirty on the Vita, and while few will produce saleable titles, that's a start.

Initiatives like indieteamup.com could see the next generation of developers getting together and starting new projects for some potentially raw and exciting new ideas about games.

Beyond these small pools of potential, I don't know where you look for future Vita games. By 2016 will anyone still care? Especially if Sony pulls the unwanted hardware from western shelves. If you've ever fancied learning to code, now is probably a good time to start.

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