August 13, 2012

Sony Has Difficulty Finding Support For Vita Handheld Gaming Device

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

It´s hard to be a third party developer for a new video game platform these days. After all, much of the attention (and much of the money) is in the development in mobile apps for smartphone platforms such as Android, iOS and even Windows Phone. As these platforms grow and mobile gaming becomes increasingly popular, it can be a hard sell to get developers to devote their energy and time to a platform which may not be viable in the next 5 years.

After all, if users are able to buy a $5.99 game on a device they already use as a camera, a communicator and a phone, it could be hard to convince those outside of the gamer-set to buy a separate device and spend even more money on a game.

Evidence of such a struggle has been surfacing in recent years. Last month, Sony posted some disappointing Q1 numbers, saying they only managed to ship 1.4 million handheld Playstation units. As the PS Vita´s one-year anniversary draws closer, sales continue to be described as “Slow, but steady.”

Now, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio President Shuhei Yoshida has told PlayStation: The Official Magazine in a recent review that poor sales aren´t the only issue plaguing the new, once-hyped Sony handheld.

“We´re having a more difficult time than we had anticipated in terms of getting support from third-party publishers, but that´s our job,” said Yoshida.

“We will continue to talk to development communities and publishing partners and tell them why Vita can provide a great experience for the IPs they have and I hope the Assassin´s Creed game will prove that.”

Assassin´s Creed III: Liberation is produced by gave development company Ubisoft, and is slated for release for the Sony Playstation Vita this October. Additionally, Assassin´s Creed III will be released for the Xbox 360 and Sony´s Playstation 3.

Sony will take the stage tomorrow at the Gamescom 2012 conference in Cologne, Germany and are expected to announce new titles for the PS Vita as well as the Playstation 3, according to the Telegraph.

Sony and other mobile device manufacturers have a very dependent relationship with their developers. After all, without game titles, Sony´s PS Vita is little more than an iPod Touch with buttons and a joystick. The Vita also features support for apps, but without developer support, these apps will be few and far between. Additionally, developers who want to bring their apps to the Vita either need to learn a new platform or find a way to port their apps over. So far, it seems not many developers are interested in doing this.

When the Vita was first launched in the U.S. last year, the Sony Corporation issued an apology to those customers who had purchased their new device shortly after launch. Shortly after its release, many Vita units were found to be buggy, displaying some troubling behavior, such as faulty touch screens and software crashes.

“Currently, our information center regarding PlayStation Vita as well as our usual customer service center are receiving many inquiries. We apologize if your phone isn´t connecting immediately,” read Sony´s apology.