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Friday, August 3, 2012

And Sony Is Struggling

Now Sony is struggling.

I've played the Vita. I thought it was a tremendous piece of hardware. But the problem with the Vita has nothing to do with the hardware, it's the games. It's the games, it's the games, it's the games.

For instance, right now Vita owners are touting Gravity Rush as a great game, and a game that should sell the Vita on its own. What is Gravity Rush? I'm serious. I'm not being facetious here, I really don't know what Gravity Rush is. I had to look it up on Wikipedia to find out. It's a gravity-shifting action game with a unique art style, as near as I can tell.

Now, that's great, but why does it sell the Vita? Is it just because it looks good? I really couldn't tell you. The reviews are all over the map, with some saying it's great and some saying it's average at best, so it's not one of those games that you absolutely have to play.


Some pundits may try and pin the blame on the encroaching power of smartphones and tablets. While there's no denying they've had an impact, they don't appear to be slowing the sales of the 3DS. That's because the 3DS has must-have games that reach a wide variety of people.

Heck, smartphones have must-play games too! Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Temple Run, FieldRunners, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Jetpack Joyride, I could keep going. The point is that with any system, you need to have games for it to be succesful. The coolest hardware in the world is useless if it can't do anything.

Let me tell you a story. I bought my first computer back in 1999. I was so excited. I got it home, set it up and was just thrilled. Then, a sudden sinking feeling hit me. It said, "Now what?" I didn't buy any games or programs with it, didn't have the internet. I was just stuck with a computer.

I got that same feeling right after I bought the 3DS at launch. I was all excited, and then had to ask myself, "OK, now what?" It was a horrible sinking feeling to realize you had something cool that you couldn't do a thing with. Nintendo rectified the problem pretty quickly, and they're still putting out great game after great game (Ocarina of Time 3D! Super Mario 3D Land! Kid Icarus! Pokemon Conquest! New Super Mario Bros. 2! Paper Mario!)

That's what Vita owners are going through right now too. However, unlike early adopters of the 3DS, there's nothing on the horizon, no savior that's going to come marching through the gates, no pile of free games that Sony can give to pacify their early adopters.

So yeah, Sony's got it rough, but it's all their own fault. I can't say I see it turning around, either.