Forbes: Predicting the End of the Vita, and all Handheld Gaming

Isn’t this interesting, internet. I post a rant about how Mobile Phone games aren’t at all a threat to traditional gaming, and Forbes fires back with an article about how the Vita’s launch failed in Japan and its all because of Mobile gaming. Here’s the article for those of you interested.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2011/12/29/sony-in-big-trouble-with-ps-vita/

Here’s what happened, internet. The PS Vita launched in Japan doing quite well at selling 320 thousand units in two days. However, during the next two weeks, the Vita only sold an additional 72 thousand. Really, it seems like an open and shut case for any gaming analyst. The Vita failed, right? Well no, as usual, raw stats like this can be useful, but they are often misrepresented and twisted in order to push the point of view of the particular analyst. How do I know that this is the point of view of the contributor? Well here’s another article that has nearly the exact same information written a little over a week ago.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2011/12/20/does-ps-vita-mark-the-end-of-portable-game-consoles/

You see, internet, this person seems pretty dead set at bowing to our Mobile Phone masters, and I’m going to tell you why he’s full of shit.

Wow, I guess Forbes gets called out on its shit a lot

First, internet, lets look at Japan. What games do the Japanese traditionally go for. Lets count them off: Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pokemon, Mario. Are any of these games present in the Vita’s robust launch line up? No. What is present then? Popular western games such as Uncharted, and Resistance, several fighting ports and a couple of untested new IPs. Japan is a country like any other. Consoles are sold by games not the other way around. Interesting to point out, the article mentions how well the 3DS is doing in Japan now. Why is that? Because they just released a new Monster Hunter. In fact, Monster Hunter Tri G was released directly opposite the Vita. This was mentioned in the article, but for some reason it was considered unimportant. The Monster Hunter games are like MMOs, they are lengthy and life consuming, and probably the most popular gaming franchise in Japan right now. You see, internet, the reason the Vita didn’t launch well in Japan is that none of the games are tailored to that market and Nintendo dropped one of its biggest titles against it. That is the conclusion I would draw from the event. Games drive a system, and the 3DS just got a major booster. Well played, Nintendo.

This is like catnip for the Japanese

Ok, so now that I’ve told you what actually happened to the Vita during its launch. How about we talk about what the analyst from Forbes has decided what happened. You see the 3DS launched below expectations (ignore that its doing great now) and now the Vita launched poorly in Japan even though it had all sorts of games. Since the 3DS didn’t start out good, something else must be taking away those sales. The solution: Mobile gaming and…Zynga? Yes, in the second article I posted the author makes note that Zynga is taking away from traditional handhelds. What is this 2008? The Farmville bubble has burst. Everyone knowns now that, while Facebook games can be great at suckering old people out of their time, they have no impact whatsoever on actual gamers and what they do and do not purchase.

We flooded the market and made it hard for any game to be profitable. Hooray!

I’m going to pretend he didn’t mention Zynga (in fairness it was just a footnote tacked on to his larger point), and look at Mobile gaming. He makes two decent points. Firstly that the price point makes these games far more attractive than handhelds, and secondly, that the games are becoming more sophisticated and thus the argument that the games don’t stand up to traditional handhelds isn’t going to work for long. His first point can be easily countered by telling you to look at my post two days ago, but I’ll sum it up for the lazy. Mobile gaming is not a competitor to traditional gaming. No gamer chooses Infinity Blade 2 over Skyrim, or Angry Birds over Mario. They may buy both, but it isn’t going to prevent the purchase of the latter. Mobile gaming has tapped into a brand new market. A market full of people, who don’t know what Skyrim is, and would never play video games at all, if not for their phone. These people are not being taken away from the gaming crowd. His second point is absurd to me based on the fact that I’ve played these “sophisticated games”, and, while excellent for a Mobile game or a way to empty bank accounts through micro-transactions, they don’t hold a candle to the most basic console game. Not to mention Mobile phone games do not have the “sophistication” of controls to ever successfully appeal to the hardcore crowd.

You need a lot more than graphics to impress me. How about a workable control scheme?

So believe what you want, internet. Either the Vita launched against the biggest game of the year with games that didn’t appeal to the market or Mobile phone games have been stealing gamers away and now nobody would pay for a gaming console when they have Angry Birds. Keep in mind, he’s a professional and I’m not. Oh, and also keep in mind that Forbes is pretty often full of shit. If only I had a good example…oh wait, I do.

http://www.forbes.com/2001/01/25/0125disaster.html

That is an article from Forbes proclaiming the failure of the PS2 early on in its run. You know the PS2 right? One of the most successful consoles ever made, and one that totally dominated last gen. Here is the lesson for everyone in internet land: Don’t judge a console early on in its life. The PS2 started slowly and then dominated, so did the original DS, and now the 3DS’ sales are starting to skyrocket. The start of a new cycle isn’t the time to declare success or failure. And that is why, internet, that Forbes Magazine is full of shit.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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