Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has just announced a price cut for PlayStation TV, the device that lets you stream your PlayStation Vita (and PSP or PSone) games over the home television. In Europe the new price is £44,99/€69,99, a good one in comparison with the previous £84,99/€99,99 that could have resulted in being an obstacle (together with a relatively small list of compatible games) for new users to adopt the peripheral. More probably, Sony has been considering the sales in the four months of availability of the product and ended up deciding that this was the best solution to get the maximum gain from the hardware already on the store shelves. That could be yet another signal of PlayStation Vita, the handheld console that should have leaded the sells of PS TV with its relevant portfolio lifecycle.
PlayStation TV itself has been largely received as a failure for Sony, an admission that Nintendo had completely conquered handheld gaming business with the 3DS family. With this price cut, Sony’s strategy is getting even clearer, as PlayStation creators will probably stop updating the platform and releasing new first party games at all. Indie titles and cross-buy will bring some kind of novelty to PS Vita for a few more years, the console will probably remain a good device for those willing to quickly play older games, and then we won’t see any other Sony handheld platform.
Handheld is a market that doesn’t seem to bring so much satisfaction to manufacturers, if you consider that even Nintendo is trying to partially leave it or evolve it with Project NX and the U-turn about mobile gaming. Smartphones and tablets seemed to be ready a couple years ago or more to invade gaming but, in my opinion, they became just one more device able to run video games, attracting a completely new public and failing to steal users of the most common platforms, i.e. consoles.
Even taking a look, for example, to Monument Valley on iPad, a gamer will always stay true to a good, classic Nintendo 3DS. It’s not a case that PS Vita, among the handheld consoles, was the one that tried and approach new business models inspired by smartphones and tablets: PSminis and lots of cheap indie games, titles sold at less than €10 or so, were Sony’s answer to the enlarging phenomenon of mobile gaming, while instead Nintendo was getting gradually more powerful working on the games people loves now as they loved ten years ago.
That’s a shame – PS Vita remains a great console in my opinion, a great, magnificently design piece of hardware, that paradoxically lacked first party support. It seems Sony stopped believing in it just a year and a half after its launch, completely shifting its focus to a defensive position against mobile gaming. A strategy that didn’t work, and that the Japanese giant tried to retreat with PlayStation TV, an extreme attempts of saving PS Vita pushing on its superior raw power. Did it work? I wouldn’t say that…
Let us know in the comments section what do you think about this piece of opinion, have you bought a PlayStation TV and do you regret your purchase?