Posts Tagged ‘PS vita’


In today’s day and age quantifying success comes down to how a product performs commercially and how it performs critically.  When it comes to hardware however, success is usually quantified by sheer amount of units sold.  You can have a system with lots of great games (a la Dreamcast), but if it doesn’t perform well at retail it will be met with an untimely demise.  One thing about Sony hardware launches that had remained perpetual until now was with every launch a Ridge Racer game accompanied it [in the USA, forgetting about Japan for right now].  The PS Vita is the first system that Sony has released stateside that does not have Ridge Racer game available at launch.  The Ridge Racer that is already out in Japan will not release in the USA until June of this year.  While my hypothesis may be extremely wild in nature I still believe it should receive some examination.  So I ask propose the question; does having a Ridge Racer title at launch equal success for Sony?

A true classic

Listed below I have gathered some statistics which seemed to be the most accurate ones I could find, but I will disclaim right now that they might not be 100% accurate, so don’t be too harsh on me if they are wrong or slightly different.  But for the purpose of this small study they will give us a basis for analysis and possibly uncover either a fruitful or painful future for the PS Vita.

Could this be the Vita's saving grace?

Sony hardware launches in the USA with estimated sales figures to date (all regions)

  • Sony Playstation (1995) – 102 million
  • Sony Playstation 2 (2000) – 150 million
  • Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) (2005) – 68 million
  • Sony Playstation 3 (2006) – 55 million
  • Sony PS Vita (2012) – ??? (we will say not great yet)

Ridge Racer games launched with Sony hardware in the USA

  • Sony Playstation – Ridge Racer (1995)
  • Sony Playstation 2 – Ridge Racer V (2000)
  • Sony PSP – Ridge Racer (not the original) (2005)
  • Sony Playstation 3 – Ridge Racer VII (2006)
  • Sony PS Vita – ??? (Ridge Racer isn’t coming until June in USA) (2012)

By looking at the numbers, each Sony hardware release that has had a Ridge Racer at launch has performed well at retail (some better than others).  I will not come out and say that Ridge Racer is the sole catalyzing factor for said success, but I believe it stems beyond pure coincidence.  The Ridge games themselves haven’t evolved much over the years, but maybe that offers some level of comfort to those who decide to purchase a system at launch.  You know what you are getting when you buy a Ridge Racer title and I know when I invest a significant amount of money into a hardware purchase I don’t want to take risks with software that might not meet my expectations.  Every Ridge Racer game that I have purchased with new Sony hardware showcases the system in an alluring dimension and that could be another mitigating factor for hardware success.  I know when a new piece of hardware is being talked about Sony or not I wonder if it is going to have a Ridge Racer game available at launch.  Most systems in fact have Ridge games available at launch and go on to be successful (Xbox 360, Nintendo DS etc.).  Purchase decisions have always been a great topic in the world of psychology, because our own individual psychologies determine how we justify spending any amount of money.

For instance when you go to any store; let’s say a GameStop and you are looking to purchase a new system.  You want to be sold on the features, value and also the software that is available for that platform.  Most of us don’t like taking risks and with the lofty prices attached to hardware no one can blame you for searching for comfort.  Maybe subconsciously Ridge Racer offers that comfort.  It may sound crazy, but if you know that a piece of hardware has a familiar title on it, that in return offers comfort.  That is mainly the reason why many system launches have similar software as their predecessors; to offer comfort before you branch out into newer software.  Easing into a new piece of hardware or any product for that matter makes consumers more apt to attain comfort faster and branch out into different properties faster.  Could Ridge Racer be the underlying success for the game industry as a whole?  I’ll admit that is going a little too far, but it certainly will have you thinking about it for at least the rest of this day.

So will the PS Vita perform well stateside sans a Ridge Racer title [for at least the next 4 months]?  I do hope so.  I think that dedicated handheld systems are a sacred part of the industry and if they are willing to adapt to the current landscape of mobile gaming they will be able to compete.  The coming months will be interesting for the PS Vita and hopefully come June that Ridge Racer title will “launch” it to unimaginable heights.  So what do you think about my hypothesis?  Do you think I am insane and should seek a shrink?  Or do you think that there is possibly some validity to this and should be further researched?  Let us know by sounding off in the comments section and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

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The PS Vita launches today in North America and I know more than a few people who are clamoring to get their hands on the units they preordered.  Sony’s marketing has picked up substantially for the Vita in the past few weeks, albeit having some very ambiguous commercials that really don’t highlight anything about the system’s capabilities (the GAMECHANGER campaign).  Besides the marketing for the system going into overdrive, deals for the system have followed suit.  Almost every retailer that is selling the Vita is offering some kind of deal either on the hardware, accompanying software or both.  I know Sony constructed their own “Launch” bundle that included and 8 GB memory card, one month of 3G access from AT&T and a free PSN game for $299.99 (the standard price of the 3G/WiFi model).  Those three additional items amount to a $55 value which is nothing to sneeze at (that is almost two Vita games).  While Sony won’t come out and say that they are worried about the poor sales in Japan, this bundling incentive was absolutely constructed to make the system more appealing at launch.

For those of you not familiar with the “Ambassador” program, it was an initiative from Nintendo to appease early adopters who felt cheated when Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS $80 six months after it launched in March of last year.  Nintendo offered a bunch of free content to members of the program that was available through the Nintendo E-Shop, but I feel Sony is taking opposite approach.  Sony won’t drop the price of the system because it will cost them too much money up front and it will inadvertently show weakness and lack of confidence in their product, both of which are bad things.  In addition to hardware bundles many retailers are offering deals on the software including buy 2 get 1 free deals and other discounted software on day one.  I have no doubt that this has been initiated to stimulate sales of not only software available at launch, but also the hardware.  Attach ratios are huge for retailers because the ones that sell more units per transaction are given preference when it comes to restocking inventory.  Offering the value day one is a great strategy Sony is undertaking and I think the consumer will appreciate it, rather than having to wait several months to get content which is how Nintendo handled it.

I have gone on record saying that I really want a Vita (probably the 3G/WiFi model), but can’t afford one now, but Sony is making it very difficult for those who want and can afford one to say no at launch.  The deals being offered now will likely resurface at some time, but it takes a little bit of the sting out of purchasing at launch when you have such great offers on the table.  I have high hopes for the Vita in North America and I hope it exceeds everyone’s expectations and with this “preemptive Ambassador” initiative I think more people will be inclined to purchase now rather than later.  The Vita will more than likely be dominating the gaming airwaves for the coming weeks and we will do our best to offer what coverage we can, but in the meantime let us know what you think about the Vita by sounding off in the comments section.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


Last night I felt the urge to go to GameStop and peruse the store (which happens often), but to my delight they had a PS Vita demo unit out for use.  So what was supposed to just be a short outing turned into me getting my first hands on experience with Sony’s new handheld.  While I didn’t get to fully explore the Vita I feel like I got a pretty good showcase of what the system is capable of so let me share my thoughts with all of you.

The design is very similar to that of the PSP which made it very comfortable to use and even with a security cradle attached to the system it was still very light, which is a plus.  The face and shoulder buttons are once again identical to that of the PSP, but the major additions come in the form of an additional analog stick, front touch screen, rear touch panel and a camera.  Dual analog sticks were something PSP owners wanted out the gate, but even through two system redesigns were never integrated so prospective Vita buyers fear not.  While the dual analog sticks are a great design addition they are very small and depending on how they are integrated into various pieces of software could potentially pose a problem for users with large hands (such as myself).  One other caveat with the analog stick design is that if a game uses the rear touch panel and both sticks it could potentially make the Vita a bit cumbersome to use hypothetically speaking (you would literally be clutching just the outside of the system and would be putting extra pressure on the sticks).  Enough with the design jargon let me tell you about the software I played.

The system had quite a few demos loaded on it, but due to time constraints (i.e. store closing) I only had the opportunity to play Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.  Both games were a blast to play and it reaffirmed in my mind that dedicated handheld systems still have a place in the video game industry.  Gravity Rush has a great art style with quirky characters and the gameplay mechanics were beyond unique.  If I had the available funds to purchase a Vita at launch Gravity Rush would absolutely be a day one purchase.  Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a treat as well, but it wasn’t anything that players haven’t already experienced in the previous three entries (sans some touch integration).  Nonetheless Golden Abyss is setting the bar really high out the gate for graphics on the Vita and makes me very optimistic about the visual fidelity games will present down the road.  Like I said earlier I wasn’t able to fully explore the other demos available or any of the other features that were on the display unit so I apologize if this seems inconclusive.

The PS Vita is a cool piece of tech that will definitely please those who are purchasing it day one and will be a great device for people to save up for.  I unfortunately fall into the latter category, but it will be a glorious day when I can get my hands on one of my own.  In the meantime many more trips to my local GameStop will be in order until that day arrives.  Also if this article piqued your interest head to your local GameStop to see if yours has a demo unit and give it a spin; if you are a fan of handheld systems I promise you it won’t disappoint.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.  If you get a chance to check out the Vita sound off in the comments section and let us know what you think.

PS Vita: The cost of doing business

Posted: December 11, 2011 by shalashaska8986 in Editorials, News and Updates
Tags: , , , ,

              

The events leading up to the release of the PS Vita thus far has been filled with great anticipation alongside an equally matched hype.  The System boasts a quad processor, front and back touch pads, Wi-Fi/3G (depending which model you get), front and back cameras, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  The question for me has always been, “How is it that this system can dump all these specs into one handheld system and only cost $249.99-$299.99?  It must be too good to be true.”  It seemed that way until just recently I came across a news article about the system.

How is it that PS Vita is able to have such a low price for a lot of bells and whistles?  Well that’s because the means in which Sony is going to profit is proprietary memory cards.  I thought in this day and age that no one would be so bold as to make something that couldn’t be universally used by standard forms of media.  The system doesn’t have a single bit of on board memory, and should you own one will be forced to pay for overpriced memory cards that are only used by the PS Vita.  The memory cards range in size from 4GB to 32GB and in price. The memory cards start at $29.99 to a whopping $119.99.  That is absurd to charge that kind of money for a digital storage medium.  Upon hearing this I was completely turned off from buying the system at launch.  I understand that the system has high specs, a low price point and will likely see a next to nothing profit, but the solution is not to charge outrageous prices on a memory card that I can only use on my PS Vita.  I would rather pay a higher system price to get a PS Vita with on board memory or a widely used form of memory storage then revert back to the old ways of technology.

I recently started reading articles that the memory card prices are not set in stone using Google.  Even though the price points might not be the premium that I first read, the cards themselves are not going to be cheap.  This seems to be the money maker for Sony on the PS Vita, but I feel that this decision could be the downfall of the system at launch.  As it currently stands I will not be buying a PS Vita at launch and wait to see what happens before purchasing one down the road.

It will be a long time before I get to play Drake’s next adventure

Angry, frustrated, or do you feel the idea is justified? Leave your comments and opinions in the section below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at The Gamer’s Abstract or at Twitter @GamersAbstract or @Shalashaska8986.


The UMD always seemed out of place to me; it never felt like it was going to have a place in gaming after the PSP had passed away, I was wrong (sort of).  Sony has announced that with the PS Vita your UMD collection can live on through the UMD Passport program.

Starting in December (when it launches in Japan) PSP owners can download a special program that allows them to register games they want to use on their Vitas.  They can in return for a fee, which is yet to be determined download said games onto their new handheld systems.  This is a pretty cool feature that could have probably been implemented on the ill-fated PSPgo, but I’m sure most of us are glad they waited to do this for the Vita.

IGN has confirmed that third party publishers such as Square Enix, Sega, Konami, Capcom and many others are participating in this program.  That too is great news because those companies produced some great titles on the PSP and would have been a shame if we couldn’t transfer them to our Vitas.

We will know more, as we get closer to the North American launch of the PS Vita in February.  So stay tuned for more news and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.