Nintendo have produced some innovative and popular products in recent years, including the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch. While Sony has enjoyed a lot of success from the PlayStation 4 with over 60 million consoles sold, the Japanese technology giants only shipped just under 16 million PlayStation Vita units compared with 68 million units of it’s rival, the 3DS. There has been no official confirmation about a next-generation PlayStation as yet, but when it does eventually drop Sony may end up taking a fair bit of inspiration from rivals Nintendo.
The Nintendo Switch has been a major hit among gamers since its release in 2017, and in a mere 7 months managed to top 10 million units sold. The highly innovative format of doubling up as a console and a portable gaming device has proven to be a unique concept lapped up by gamers. Instead of console gaming being a personal experience at home, Nintendo has opened up a wealth of new options for players. It’s now possible to use the device as a method of socialising, and get together with friends for tournaments and suchlike. There is no doubt that other console developers including Sony and Microsoft will be looking at this idea with envy and wishing they had come up with it first.
While Sony have been dismissive of talk regarding the release of a PlayStation Vita 2, especiually when looking at the sales figures of the console in comparison with the 80 million units achieved by its predecessor the PSP, is it really a corner of the market that Sony want to stay out of completely? Certainly Sony themselves have a lot to answer for when it comes to the Vita’s shortcommings – it could have fared much better both on a retail level and in its perception amongst the gaming community had the technology giant shown greater support for the platform beyond its initial launch but what of a successor?
Just observing current gaming trends would have indicated that a future portable console could be popular, though. In 2017, there were an estimated 4.77 billion mobile phone users, which is around 62.9 percent of the world’s population. A lot of these phone owners will install mobile apps, and play mobile casino games while on the move and a diverse range of other games. Of course, with most of these types of games they are also available from desktop, but having them in mobile format provides customers with another option.
Games that can be played across multiple platforms could be the future. And the popularity of titles like Pokémon Go, which required players to walk around in the real world playing the game, suggests that a lot of gamers like to get out and about. A lot of the games we’ve looked at in the past here at Vita Player can be enjoyed in short bursts and that’s something that Nintendo understand far more than Sony seem to – that mobile gaming not only needs larger, engaging titles, but those than can be played for quick gaming sessions.Indie developers brought that to the Vita in droves but Sony pushed the console as being a “portable PS3” when that type of AAA gameplay simply wasn’t right for continuous gaming on the move.
Regardless, Sony now needs to decide how it will get on board with this shift in preference. While the PlayStation 4 has been one of their most fruitful offerings to date, there is now the risk of losing players to Nintendo thanks to the Switch.
There is a good chance that Sony could come up with the next major gaming innovation to trump Nintendo. The company already has PlayStation VR in place, so if they managed to use this in conjunction with some kind of console/hand-held hybrid they could be on to something. Imagine taking the PlayStation out and using the VR elements in a real-world situation, similar to Pokémon Go. If this could be coupled with the gaming diversity that the Vita currently offers (and not giving in to the need for VR unnecessarily unless gameplay demands), and adding in the multimedia and streaming capabilities and non-gaming online content provision that the PS4 currently enjoys that has been absent from the Vita for so long then it could be on to a sure fire hit.
PlayStation VR has highlighted the fact that Sony know they have to move with the times. If they managed to create a console that had the same capabilities as the Switch but with the higher quality graphics of the PlayStation, they would definitely be on to a winning formula. Ultimately, for Sony to have a chance to fight back in the handheld market it really will have to offer a device that will please everyone and be an all-in-one wonder system. Sony have the technical know-how to make it happen, but do they have the will to take on Nintendo head-on and try to beat them at their own game and bring us a truly next generation PlayStation Vita 2?