Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why developers should partner for a Vita version of their game

The Vita is approaching the end of its useful life, but its millions of owners aren't going anywhere. The truth is the Vita isn't for everyone. But for any developer where building a brand, looking to gain thousands of extra sales, or learning to interact with a community is important, the Vita is a great opportunity or training ground.

It comes with a welcoming community, helpful porters/coders offering plenty of advice, and savvy publishers and marketers who can get your game seen.

UPDATED 2nd July

Community and Visibility

The community is the key part, whatever the total Vita sales, there's still a core ownership buying every decent game in sight, double dipping on physical releases, and doing a bunch of free PR for any release, no matter how small.

Sales on PSN may vary from just a few thousand to tens of thousands, most developers I've talked to characterise their sales as "on target" to "exceeding expectations." But the key benefit is visibility, there are a couple of new Vita releases a week, compared to the stacks of games tipping up on Steam, iOS and even on PS4. And while the Switch might be the go-to device, competing with dozens of hot releases a week requires a huge amount of effort to gain any visibility.

A few stats and comments from your fellow developer/publishers' mouths.

Read Fabrice Breton's post-mortem on Demetrios to see how the Vita community punches above its weight....
Sales were pretty good on the portable console. Despite being announced as "dead" even before 2016, it still has a very strong community, and many indie and japanese game are still released. With a good reason – they still sell well enough to warrant ports! Even more important than sales is the players reception, and Demetrios was very well received by the Vita community! They absolutely loved it. I think the entire Vita community on Twitter knows about it. They're some of my biggest supporters now, and I thank them for it!
And the love continues to this day, as Cosmic Star Heroine proves (excluding digital sales),

Of course, there are limitations, the Vita doesn't support the latest versions of Unity, GameMaker and other coding tools. However, there are plenty of ways to get a game on Vita, and experienced coders have lots of tips in getting performance and frame rates up.

Even games where the coder has given up hope, a solution has often been found. And, porting to Vita can help performance on other devices.

I'll update this with further data, comments and resources from and for developers, but for now it acts as a simple place to point out to coders if they are thinking of a Vita title.

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