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Has Sony just closed the door on the microconsoles?

Has Sony just closed the door on the microconsoles?

Mon 09 Sep 2013 1:44pm GMT / 9:44am EDT / 6:44am PDT
Hardware

Vita TV has the brand, platform and price to own the market

Not so long ago, Sony had a reputation which had particular relevance for journalists: they were a leaky ship, unable to keep anything under wraps until its big on-stage reveal. If something was happening at Sony, it wasn't unusual for the news to be broken on tech sites and fan blogs well before the PR machine had all its ducks in a row, ready to whip away the velvet curtain. Now, it seems, the corporation has remembered how to keep secrets, announcing the PlayStation Vita TV with not so much as a grainy mobile photo appearing online first.

The news follows on from a strong E3, where Sony left Microsoft reeling with well-guarded news of free second-hand trading, a lower price point and a rippling set of hardware specs. With Vita TV, Sony has now tossed its not inconsiderable hat into the ring of the micro-consoles, and nobody really saw it coming.

Onstage at the pre-TGS press briefing which happened just a few hours ago, Andrew House unveiled the little white box almost casually. At the end of a presentation which had focused on forthcoming games and a new 'slim' model Vita came a new piece of hardware which follows in the footsteps of a few other trailblazers, but adds a totally new feather to Sony's cap.

Initially, it seemed that the company might had pulled a bit of a Wii U - revealing a new product without really explaining what it was or why you need it - but once the dust had settled and the translators had explained the slightly ambiguous lifestyle trailer, Twitter came alive with interest. Positive reactions were split over which feature was the clincher, but there's little to dislike about a machine with that feature set at that price point.

"Sony is thumbing its nose at not just Ouya and Gamestick et al, but Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and, potentially, Google, too"

With a 60 machine which can play Vita games on a TV, stream PS4 content to another screen and access all of the video on demand services which have become consoles secondary raison d'etre, Sony is thumbing its nose at not just Ouya and Gamestick et al, but Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and, potentially, Google, too. Nothing the Vita TV does is unique, but the combination of them all is. Plus, I can't help but feel that Sony has an edge on nearly all the new competitors it's just earned.

Take a look at the Ouya, for example. After engaging millions worldwide with a high-profile Kickstarter campaign and some savvy hiring and promotion, Ouya is on the market and off to a surprisingly rocky start. Customers have been disappointed with the UI and strorefront of the machine, not to mention that the allure of playing smartphone games on a 40" screen has been a relatively short-lived one.

When Ouya was announced, we knew it would be a bit of a sacrificial lamb - a new concept breaking new ground and likely taking the fall whilst the kinks were worked out for the next generation. Making enough money to get to Ouya 2.0 was surely always the aim, lodging the idea firmly enough in customers heads for as long as it took Android technology to produce a handset which attracted games of the sort of quality and depth to be enjoyed on a big screen. Once the ecosystem is established and filled with top-tier content, the market can be secured.

In a way, that's just happened, and it wasn't Ouya pulling the trigger.

I should be clear here that I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate. There's a clear market difference between a machine which plays 69p games and one which will set you back 35 for the biggest titles. The Ouya is out there to capitalise on the mobile explosion, particularly the throw-away, scatter-gun approach to marketing and design which cheerfully occupies much of that space.

"When Ouya was announced, we knew it would be a bit of a sacrificial lamb"

Whilst Sony has made incursions over those borders with cheap minis and free-to-play experiments, it remains largely enemy territory. The Vita has always been about high-quality games on high-end hardware, something which has undoubtedly made it a hard sell in recent months. Presumably, Vita games aren't getting any cheaper, but they are still going to be a cut above what's available on the Android storefront. Sony doesn't have the breadth of the Ouya's potential offering, either, especially given that not all Vita games are going to playable via the system, but quality should win out here, too. Vita TV also has access to the PlayStation Network and PS+ - more weighty assets in the war for recognition and perception.

That said, Sony does desperately need to work on its Vita catalogue and it's going to struggle to attract the big names whilst its install base is so limited. Whether the addition of a second platform for Vita games will swing that balance remains to be seen, but it is opening that catalogue to an entirely new market. It seems unlikely that there'll be Vita TV only titles on the cards, but I'd bet my bottom dollar that there'll be a few which are played almost exclusively on the housebound box.

TV streaming, essentially moving into Apple TV's backyard, is an obvious extension of the faculties of the PS3 and Xbox 360. Research shows that many consoles are used more for Lovefilm and Netflix than they are gaming and Sony's deals with services like Hulu and NicoNico Douga show a real commitment to making the Vita TV a true multimedia box. Top it all off with the admittedly niche option to stream a PS4 game to your bedroom when someone is watching a film on the TV in the front room and you've got a pretty complete package.

"the headshot factor here is that, in Japan at least, it's running at about 60. Carry that price over globally and you've suddenly got something that's an impulse buy and not a saved-for consideration"

But, for me at least, this is about nailing the price point. This is undoubtedly a frivolous, luxury item. It's an addition to existing tech, a garnish for your multimedia meal. It's by no means necessary or life-changing and you're likely to already have devices with some roughly analogous functions. But it's Sony. It's going to be good hardware, from a reputable, globally recognised manufacturer. It's got big brands on board and a solid, deep catalogue of games. It's small, it's pretty and it's slick. All great, but the headshot factor here is that, in Japan at least, it's running at about 60. Carry that price over globally and you've suddenly got something that's an impulse buy and not a saved-for consideration.

If you're a parent who wants to give their children a little privacy, or retake the living room for a while, this is cheap enough to be absolutely ideal. If you're a student with a shared television or a partner of someone who enjoys watching you play considerably less than they enjoy watching anything else, it's a boon. Like most exciting things in our market, it's undoubtedly an experiment, too, but I for one hope it's a successful one.

39 Comments

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,008 1,397 1.4
It doesn't actually play most of the games people would buy a Vita for. The list of compatible games (here http://www.jp.playstation.com/psvitatv/game/psvitalist/) reveals it can't play Uncharted, Killzone, Tearaway, Gravity Rush, Wipeout, Zero Escape, LittleBigPlanet, or Rayman Legends. Basically any game you want to buy a Vita to play cannot be played on the Vita TV. Now, that said, the library of PSOne games and PSP games may be enough to close that door anyway, but it's certainly not really playing many of the big Vita titles.

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Dave Mitchell
Founder

24 7 0.3
It creates a new challenge for PS Vita developers, in that we need to design a game that will play well with and without those touch screens.

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Paul Shirley
Programmers

173 147 0.8
Can't help thinking this could be an "XBOne as a media hub" killer if Sony are prepared to be flexible and promiscuous on content provision. Especially when they start building it into TVs.

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Steve Goldman
Journalist.

81 92 1.1
no, its a bad idea. Cant even play 50 percent of vita GAMES

Posted:10 months ago

#4
I wonder if it will be compatible with the rumoured gaming HMD? e.g. to add wireless capability because they would want to keep the size and battery weight on your head to a minimum.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Christian Keichel
Journalist

567 778 1.4
no, its a bad idea. Cant even play 50 percent of vita GAMES
I am skeptical too, but even if it can't play all current Vita games, it is a safe bet, it can play all future Vita titles and maybe there is a market for a console, that costs less then half (9480 Yen) of what the next priced stationary console costs (Wii 20000 Yen).

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Steve Goldman
Journalist.

81 92 1.1
With 3ds and 2ds on the market that can play all the games. I just dont see the market for this

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Caleb Hale
Journalist

150 221 1.5
I'm sure Sony isn't going to cannibalize the PS Vita with this thing, so I wouldn't necessarily expect all future Vita games to work either.

Posted:10 months ago

#8

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,008 1,397 1.4
@ Christian and Dave It would be a very sad thing if all future Vita titles were designed under the idea that they had to be playable on the Vita TV. It would mean no unique uses of the Vita's hardware. We would never see another game like Tearaway.

Posted:10 months ago

#9
The trailer suggests the device can pair to a PlayStation 4 pad as well as a standard Dual Shock 3. With that in mind, it's conceivable that the touch pad *could* be used to mimic the touch features of the Vita. Either way this is of genuine interest, if it were running some sort of Android OS it would be an instabuy at that price.

Posted:10 months ago

#10

Robert Ilott
Build & CM Engineer

20 31 1.6
It'll almost certainly pair with a PS4 pad, so it won't be without all touch functionality...

Posted:10 months ago

#11
Umm, so does this mean that I can take my PS Vita TV and a couple of DS4s to a mate's house and have access to my PS4? Because... If so. I am sooooo sold on that.

Posted:10 months ago

#12

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

263 128 0.5
@paul

This box is aimed squarely at Japan, where SmartTv and Xbox are essentially non-factors. Broadband penetration in house is very low compared to other countries, everyone uses their phones. It's aimed at existing Vita owners more than anything. In the US its just another Roku to the public at large. If they already have a controller, their PS3 does the same tricks. If they don't, $129ish is way too expensive, especially with limited compatibility. Vitas guts are simply too expensive to dump in TVs that aren't at the top end.

Posted:10 months ago

#13

Luis E Alvarado
Studying Mobile Development B.S.

7 0 0.0
@Christopher That is pretty much what sells the device for me. A friend of mine has no interest on the PS Vita, but loves the PS4. Best way to get him to buy it is to either show him the unit itself, along with its accessories, and maybe get him interested in the PS Vita as well.

Posted:10 months ago

#14

heirdt von braun
Marketing Specialist

22 8 0.4
I'm not gonna lie, I think it will be challenging to sell this product due to smartphones during its first months or years of existance. The price is really appealing but PSVita library is somewhat scarce now, and as it has been mentioned here it's not compatible with every single game, so at first glance looks like a sloppy marketing strategy. However video streaming capabilities increase the value of the console a bit. It is definitely a better proposition than Ouya and games library is superior.

However, this might become a very difficult path, but the only one Sony can take now, it looks silly, but with an initial price of $99 USD I'm pretty sure it will become even more accessible in the coming years, easily $50 USD or less. When I watched the unveiling everything sounded like a very theoretical plan, but when you think about price projections this thing actually could potentially become the next playstation big thing in the near future. Though I don't think it's gonna sell well in the very first months or even years, it's gonna be really tough.

On SCEI defense, they're doing everything they can to increase PSVita install base. Price reductions, introduction of new models, bundles, and even an alternative TV version. It will be interesting to see all SCEI will do in order to save their portable. It doesn't really matter how skeptical we are, if Sony keeps it up they will success soon or later. Price tags are the first step, content is the natural second step, and might see it flourishing in a few months thanks to indie developers. Scale of success is a different matter of course, at least a moderate one becomes much more credible.

I firmly believe PSVita adopters in the west are more interested in Japanese software than PS4/Xbox One future owners. I think Japanese publishers are overlooking PSVita. Yeah, it's not a very successful product yet, but it's much easier and cheaper than making a PS4 game. I will not underestimate Japanese software technological engineering but it looks like they have a serious competitive issue nowadays. If they can only make a few "AAA" titles for home consoles every year (some don't even release a single in a whole year) why don't they create more portable games?

Square-enix I'm looking at you, every Final Fantasy you make takes trillions of years and while making sequels increases profitability, the strategy hurts quality perception of their games . It would be a good idea to remake some of their best PSone games on PSVita for example, they're fun and appealing games, but graphics are becoming pretty hard to look at for adults and teens alike, also there is a huge potential for gameplay improvements as they were created in an era when 3D was in a somewhat primitive state. While I think smartphones are a very good complementary strategy, I also think it's a tremendous mistake. They are altering public games perception. Squaresoft was originally well known for being a very unique Japanese company which produced one of the best games library in the Asian continent, utilising Final Fantasy franchise name for these devices makes it feel a little cheap, and definitely will hurt the franchise in the near future. While profits are unquestionably important, some marketing strategies will inevitably turn against you in the long-run. I also think Japanese publishers are pretty much disarray. I hardly see evidence of good will to help each other and survive as an industry. Many of them need to retreat a little bit, develop valuable skills, strengthen and then try to come back. Many of them will struggle competing on Xbox One and PS4, that's the reality. This is an excellent opportunity for SCEI, they are in the right position to make a difference, to coordinate and play a major role. 3DS is admittedly a safer bet and the most natural choice, however I don't think 3DS will be a huge success forever. Once it falls, a large portion of the Japanese industry will fall with it. They are putting too much faith in a single business model. Smartphones are important, but as Riccitelo once pointed out I don't think those gamers are willing to pay for a console experience to play in a mobile. That's ridiculous. Japanese publishers need to help each other or will collapse one by one.

Good luck Japan, my best wishes!.

Posted:10 months ago

#15

Brian Perry
Studying Master Science Game Design

5 1 0.2
I'm not so sure this is an attack on Ouya or the like. It seems the Ouya and other micro consoles are vying for a different kind of game market while this new vita tv would allow people to play some vita and ps4 games? I'm thinking that the Ouya and like consoles are trying to appeal to a different audience and game ecosystem. It doesn't seem that this thing will get a lot of indies to sign up for it. Ouya is an open console with an open source OS that everyone is invited to hack. I don't think Sony would ever release a console that will be as open as this. I think the Ouya attracts a new audience that want total control over their console and games as opposed to a curated closed system. This is why I like the Ouya.

Posted:10 months ago

#16

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,136 914 0.8
Seeing as the experience is the exact opposite to being tailored for the TV, I really don't see how they can with this. Sure its another option but hardly a closed door for micro-consoles.

The technology does sit somewhere between AppleTV and Chromecast however, but with the main device being Vita it would be difficult to find anything near the ubiquity.

Posted:10 months ago

#17

heirdt von braun
Marketing Specialist

22 8 0.4
Well Mr. Campbell as you know Sony is heavily investing on Gaikai. While I don't believe it will be an instant massive library I think SCEI already has the legs to offer incredible content (PS1/PS2/PS3) for a very affordable price. As you know Gaikai only requires video streaming capabilities, just like Onlive. So who knows, this might turn to be a big thing in the following years, but certainly not today.

In the end, this sounds like a superior strategy implementation than Xbox One. The price is right for casuals, the content is already there, and of course iTV content will be guaranteed to some extend, as you know Sony already announced special content for gamers produced by Sony Pictures itself. On top of that does not interfere with PS4 image, which in my very humble opinion is important. Of course all of this is highly theoretical, let's hope Sony can deliver everything they have already promised. We cannot guarantee it, but at least their vision makes more sense.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by heirdt von braun on 9th September 2013 8:28pm

Posted:10 months ago

#18

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,136 914 0.8
In the end, this sounds like a superior strategy implementation than Xbox One.
Its not so much the idea, its nearly always the implementation and it has as much chance to fall apart as the promise Sony presented with the Vita (itself) in the first place.

Unfortunately, a finger in each every pie isn't as good as actually having a pie so to speak. It would be one thing to have all these devices, but if the execution is unimpressive people still won't buy the products and other platforms will continue to do better.

As it seems, the Vita TV allows people to take or use even more 'bits' of content but doesn't actually offer any complete experience and this is just looking at the fundamental flaws pre-release.

Personally, I'm even less convinced this is what people really want than using the Vita as a makeshift Wii-U controller (as opposed to a device that stands on its own two feet). I don't think the strategy will be any better than Xbox One, which will offer a complete home system and extend itself using apps and the Windows ecosystem, something Sony still haven't nailed despite a long history in mobile.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 9th September 2013 9:04pm

Posted:10 months ago

#19

Christian Keichel
Journalist

567 778 1.4
@ Nicolas
It would be a very sad thing if all future Vita titles were designed under the idea that they had to be playable on the Vita TV. It would mean no unique uses of the Vita's hardware. We would never see another game like Tearaway.
Sure, the Vita as a handheld would loose one of it's features, but I think Sony is trying everything to keep the platform alive at all and right now I think the alternative is - at the current sales rate of the Vita - no new Vita games at all. From the point of view of a 3rd party publisher there is no region the world where the Vita is selling enough units to justify the development of a game. But on the other side, Sony isn't Nintendo, they can't keep the platform alive on their own with their first party titles only. That's getting even worse now, when all their capabilities are directed to the PS4 (which is heavily western targeted, a region, where the Vita is in a much worse situation, then in Japan).
With this in mind, I think the loss of one feature can be considered as a small loss.
This doesn't mean, I am sure Vita TV will be a success, Sony is gambling after all and the price is the survival of the Vita platform.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 9th September 2013 9:27pm

Posted:10 months ago

#20

Nelsun Rivera
Mixed Media

12 10 0.8
I am very surprised and amazed that no one has mentioned how GaiKai+VitaTV factors into this equation.

GaiKai WILL come to the Vita. The VitaTV is essentially a Vita Home mini console. PlayStations immense library will be open to the public. $$$ for Sony with minimal investment. I see nothing that can stop this from coming to fruition. Only SONY themselves can muck this up.

Posted:10 months ago

#21

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

263 128 0.5
T@heirdt

I'd say they're going after two different audiences between X1 and this box

My experience withOnlive, on a 30mbps connection was twitchy at best. The lag was unnaceptable on any game that requires reflexes. Streaming itfor casual games for the foreseeable future. While I fully believe this thing is a Gaikai catcher, I don't think the technology is there for more than very casual use,

As I said in the other thread, I don't think most people in the gaming community have enough experience witht the television side to really see it. You may be the exception, as I don't know exactly what you market

Posted:10 months ago

#22

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

358 187 0.5
"I can't help but feel that Sony has an edge on nearly all the new competitors it's just earned."
and then Ouya Ouya Ouya. Well that's the easy target. Ouya is really a sitting duck. How about Apple? How about Xbox One? How about any PC/Mac desktop/laptop that can stream directly to any tablet/mobile device natively or with $2 apps already any music or movie even via internet? even Xbox 360 with Glass. What are the advantages of this device?

Vita was supposed to offer something similar combined with PS3 on its own! Second screen gaming, streaming movies etc. Sony had announced similar features to dampen the impact WiiU had made during its announcement back then. They had uttered a defiant "we can too and even with current technology" soon after that, apple followed, and Glass. It appears to me nobody was interested in doing it then, or these 2 years that passed since then. Not even on WiiU. Why would anyone be interested now?

IMO, there is nothing unique about this device, there is barely a USP considering that people really do not care about Vita or its games. Everything seems like a desperate last attempt to energize the PSP/Vita brand or transition it to something entirely different. The only thing that is interesting about it is the aggressive price point.

Posted:10 months ago

#23

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Probably... im just wondering why mobile devices havent done it before. Its like people are striving so hard to look for the next big thing that they forget that people actually like to do stuff in their home, such as... wait for it... play video games. All this stuff about mobile being the future and consoles are dead and blah blah blah... i never really understood it.

It would be great if I can simply dock my smart phone or tablet wirelessly to a TV and PS4 gamepad and use that as if it were a home console. However most smart phones can connect to an HDMI TV with a cable. Just need a way to connect a game pad to it. so I can play on from my couch.

or even better.... a device that....

anyway... this one Ill keep to myself... cause its pretty dan original... i dont have the money or funding to get it going though.... so someone else might invent it along the way... but anyway.

An industry with so many possibilities yet people in it close themselves off to an either this or that mentailty when I think there is a place for variouse forms of gaming can exist. My money has always been on home consoles cause thats where i prefer to play.

This is why I like SONY's cross buy initiative. I can play a game home, play it on my vita when Im the go, come back update my game progress on the console and I can keep playing. Infact if I was SONY... I would make all VITA games playable on the PS4 from the get go. Maybe they would have poor grafics due to the VITA's lower hardware specs, but its a wall that they can tear down. Id also make all PSN games playable on VITA. Alot of them, Scot Pilgrim, Castle crashers, Hardcorps uprising... I dont see why they cant be played on a VITA.

This would make the VITA more enticing to me simply cause I can keep playing my games on the go. I usually dont play in the train station, at work or while I cross the street, but on the weekends I go to my parents house, and this is a situation in which I hate being away from my home console. Instead of the VITA being a seperate system, it can have features that serve as an extention to my home console when Im not at home. The home console can be the main hub where I download games, connect with other devices and store my content.

As much as I like portable gaming, I just dont see myself spending more than $150 on a portable gaming machine. In fact I would still wait till one more price drop on the VITA before I get it. The 2DS price point seems more apropriate.

But I see this device as a beginning to all this. Lets hope SONY keeps tearing down the walled gardens we have been bound by.

Finally I dont see mobile devices taking over home consoles, PC's or largerdevices unless they can mach the lower hardware costs. The process of shrinking the hardware down, ventilation, power consumption etc. is costly for a smaller device. A mobile device with the same specs as a Ps4 would cost alot more to produce. By the time mobile devices can offer the same hardware specs of a PS4 at the same cost, we will have a PS5 thats probably 10 times more powerful. Unless mobile devices can match the cost of larger devices, they will never ever replace larger devices.

Im talking about an iPhone with 3 chips, 12 cores and 8gb, at the same cost of a PS4. When that happens then I will turn over my console. But buy the time that happens a more powerful PS5 will be made. So i dont see this happening any time soon.

UPDATE: I thought the VITA TV was a streaming device, but its actually a console, and is close to what I describe in this post. This thing is great for when I go to my parents house on weekends. However my only gripe is why not have the VITA itself do this That would be much greater. Its actually a cheap affordable playstation console. Id get my kids this in a heart beat.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 10th September 2013 6:37am

Posted:10 months ago

#24

David Amirian
Writer

59 3 0.1
if you guys take a look at the Apple hardware situation, Apps are separated by what they are able to be played on: iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. These are 3 devices that largely have the same inputs but vastly different hardware across the generations. All they need to do is "include" the ability to play a game on the Vita TV or not. If it isn't compatible, they might not hit 100% of the user base, but they don't NEED to. People with iPod Touches from 5 years ago don't get to play new games nowadays. I think the same will be true with games that are made for Touch Screen in mind -- they aren't meant to necessarily hit the VTV crowd. It doesn't mean it can't be a possibility though if you have a dualshock 4 or a PSVita to control it with. All of the controllers will have the gyros. 2 of the 3 controllers will have some sort of touch capability. The Vita TV will just have to "require" a certain controller to play the game.

Posted:10 months ago

#25

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

263 128 0.5
actually it's split by Apple TV, which exists entirely seperate. The IPhone and touch, with rare exceptions stay pretty parallel.

Don't be surprised if Apple one more things game controllers tomorrow. Several major manufacturers have them ready to go. Apple has a standard button layout and protocols, but otherwise is leaving it to third parties. Android can already connect with dualshock2 or the Wiipad

Posted:10 months ago

#26

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Isn't this more a competitor for the Wii U than the Ouya? I mean, clearly it slaughters the Ouya, but that's no contest, the real question is whether it will be a much better value than the overpriced and underpowered Wii U.

Posted:10 months ago

#27

Eyal Teler
Programmer

75 73 1.0
It's nice to see Sony taking the mobile to TV jump. In the long run I think Android consoles make more sense, and once better ones appear and developers start aiming at them they'd become viable gaming platforms. Sony's move helps validate this notion.

Posted:10 months ago

#28

Christian Keichel
Journalist

567 778 1.4
I mean, clearly it slaughters the Ouya, but that's no contest, the real question is whether it will be a much better value than the overpriced and underpowered Wii U.
Does it play NIntendo titles? Does it have a controller with a second screen? Is it hardware and software compatible to the Wii? Is it possible to use it for Off Screen gaming? These are the questions, that would pop up immediately in my mind if somebody asked me, if the TV Vita is an alternative to the Wii U.
If it is an alternative to anything, then it is an alternative to the PS3 and the 360, because it is at least possible that some 3rd party developers will discover their love for this console and bring some multiplatform stuff to this console.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 10th September 2013 4:05pm

Posted:10 months ago

#29

Steve Goldman
Journalist.

81 92 1.1
I see this as a big blunder for Sony who really just needs to focus on ps4. When this thing comes out in Japan its going to get buried by the power of 3ds/2ds which has FULL backwards compatibility. Seems desperate

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steve Goldman on 10th September 2013 5:23pm

Posted:10 months ago

#30

heirdt von braun
Marketing Specialist

22 8 0.4
In the end Xbox One will be bought by hardcore gamers, but it was originally conceived to compete with Nintendo marketing strategies (original Wii) as the first leaked documents explain. The idea was to broaden their audience with casual gamers and TV audience, Kinect is a fundamental part of it, both for casual gaming and iTV exclusive content. However it's gonna be very difficult to sell to those because price is too high, even for hardcore gamers.

Most games play fine with less than 20 Mb Internet connection, however those which require very fast response time (fighting, a few shooters which require very precise controls while aiming, etc.) are admittedly unplayable. Some games running on Onlive were poor choices and as a result some of them play very badly. On the other hand this device is compatible with Playstation Network, which means PSone/PSVita/PSP games are available for now. As you know Gaikai runs on much better hardware and software technology.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by heirdt von braun on 10th September 2013 6:51pm

Posted:10 months ago

#31

heirdt von braun
Marketing Specialist

22 8 0.4
Execution is not impressive, but at least it is logical: Vita TV has the right price, content and future content guaranteed. What do you think Kinect is for? iTV and casual gaming of course, they are implementing it to broaden their audience. Hardcore market is not big enough for MS. They want to expand, Kinect is the key. It's easy to use (accessibility), it's immersive (hopefully once again innovative) and is 100% compatible with iTV and casual gaming projects. What would stop SCEI from making this device compatible with Gaikai? The more compatible consoles they have the better they will sell. Gaikai of course is not about just games.

In an interview Nancy Tellem admitted Sesame Street (Xbox 360) is the interaction idea behind Xbox One iTV. It also happens to use Kinect. This tells us quite a lot. While Kinect Sports Rivals will be available for 2014. Who do you think these products are for?

I bet MS will ditch Kinect in 2014 because $500 USD price tag will definitely hurt sales (hardcore gamers). Casuals and potential iTV users will never buy this product at this price. MS will introduce Kinect TV box at $150-200 USD and follow SCEI strategies. They will split their business too. There's no other possible solution, they will not sell Xbox One at $100-200 USD in 2014. Asking iTV users and casuals to spend $500 USD makes absolutely no sense at all.

Posted:10 months ago

#32

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

263 128 0.5
Kinect is for the app side, not just TV. It's to allow you to run your house just like the computer on Star Trek the next generation. "Xbox change the temperature to 68, tune CNN, and order my usual from Luigi's" It's for the marketers wet dream, of being able to hold of the picture of the shirt you like and have Bing search for it. Essentially it's there to make Siri look like a Tinkertoy. These kinds of features have been in the works since at least 2003 or 2004, across multiple manufacturers, platforms, and disciplines. BD live was supposed to be the promised land, but was crippled by the fact that none of the players had enough memory to run effectively. The integration with the cable systems, and mobile platforms will allow for mobile and cable billing, no credit card required. And of course when you order food, that shirt, or whatever, Microsoft will take a chunk.

That's why they will not pull connect off. The big problem is that people think the connect is expensive to make, it's not. What the developer that is so often quoted meant was that they spend as much on research and development on connect 2.0 is they did on making the actual Xbox one console. That's not hard to believe since Xbox one, like PS four is essentially all off-the-shelf parts. The actual manufacturing cost of connecting point I was likely closer to 50 or $60. That's what connect one cost when it first came out, and this eliminates many of the mower expensive parts like the tilt motor And AC adapter.

As I stated in previous posts, Microsoft's $500 price tag is an early adopter gotcha. The console has obviously, but the deals they've been making, always been intended to be subsidized like a cell phone. You will see Xbox one at $200 with a two-year Internet and/or cable subscription next year, I'm virtually certain of it. The same companies already giving out $300 visa gift cards with subscription, is it such a big stretch that they would subsidize an Xbox to the same amount?

I do agree with you that Microsoft stand-alone Xbox TV will eventually come out, and will include Kinect with it. There's already Samsung televisions with K'NEX technology built into it, and these Xbox TVs will be sold as cable boxes. I Just don't think, like most people on the gaming side of things, that you quite understand exactly how broad this potential market is, and how much of it is already pushing the buttons that of been proven to generate money.

Posted:10 months ago

#33

heirdt von braun
Marketing Specialist

22 8 0.4
A susbidised plan for Xbox One like Michael Pachter has suggested is very interesting Mr. Kleist. However, in my humble opinion Xbox One nature cannot be changed, It is a video game console not a TV set-top box and will never be. It's too complex for many people. It's just a premise, but execution is always different and it is exactly MS most weak point. We should first ask frankly if Xbox One is what these people need. All in one slogan is frankly saying a lot, and its execution is also revealing a lot.

I think instead of driving huge sales because of MS big investments, it will create a crisis identity and will hurt sales (hardcore gamers) and casuals will hardly be interested in paying a monthly fee for such a complex equipment, is it really appealing for them when it has issues selling to hardcore gamers?, do you really think Kinect matters to hardcore gamers when they are asking this thing to be ditched?, I'm pretty sure global sales won't be as good as PS4's. To start with, casual games are not there, they are virtually inexistent, they also have special needs, as you know Forza is not exactly what they need, and Xbox One Kinect is not as innovative as once used to be. Sure titles are being produced but I do understand big plans not always work, and Xbox One has demonstrated that since its unveiling. Xbox 360 already has a Kinect, sales are telling us interest has diminished considerably, and on top of that is cheaper than Xbox One. Compare please Wii mote vs. PS move. This will give you a clear idea of my perspective.

Controversy is far from an end, MS will need to publitise NFL, iTV and Kinect. MS has proven to lack good marketing management skills. How come they were unable to listen to their audience or communicate a clear message at E3? As you know this is already a case of study at ABA (American Banking Association). Right now they're following SCEI, what exactly makes us think they have the marketing competence to drive as many sales as this product was intended to make?. Just because Ballmer or Mattrick have left the company doesn't mean internally problems are fixed. On the contrary, this is the commence of even bigger challenges.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by heirdt von braun on 10th September 2013 10:04pm

Posted:10 months ago

#34

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

263 128 0.5
The Xbox one interface is very simple and easy to understand, as demonstrated in the video, and as you know, marketing is not about what people The system is fully capable of utilizing existing IR remotes that people are used to as well as controlling your other gear via macros (Kinect is IR in and out). They already use the existing clunky cable interfaces, this isn't a problem, especially when coupled with voice.

The majority of the people complaining about Kinect think that

A: it's spying on them
B: That the console price would change
C: have never actually used Kinect integrated witht the system on a regular basis. They don't want to play motion games, I've never seen anyone bitching about voice commands in Skyrim, the ability to scan custom logos in for Call of Duty and such. Just like they complain about TV, they really don't know what they're objecting to. You'll also find that hardcore gamers tend to be a very loud minority, and if I listened topple according to volume, I'd go bankrupt, because they typically only represent 10-15% of your revue stream tops.

You're right that 360 Kinect has run its course, but that box is extremely limited by comparison, used sparingly with mainstream title sim and again has limited external application.

Right now people pay $10 a month to rent a cable box. The entire cable industry has been desperately trying to ditch them for the last decade (which is why Google sold off that division of Motorola). This time next year, X1 will be able to be your cable box as a standalone, saving a household $120 a year minimum.

Sony's problem is that they woke up to whatMS was doing just last fall. They don't have the relationships, the contacts, he experience, or any of that stuff in place to combat it. They drastically overspent on the Viacom deal, something which wil hurt their ability to get the cable companies on board , and we still don't know exactly what it entails or allows.

Like a PC, X1 is designed for many different kinds of customers. Just like Kinect and PS3 found new life in the scientific community, I'm pretty urge you're going to be very surprised at th kinds of things Xbox one is running five years from now

Posted:10 months ago

#35

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,130 1,038 0.5
Welp, all the "I don't get it" stuff here aside, the Vita tv seems to be sold out on Amazon Japan:

http://www.gamezone.com/news/2013/09/10/ps-vita-tv-sold-out-in-japan

Granted, it's "only" Amazon we're talking about here (heh), but yeah, I think none of the people who paid for their pre-order(s) read this or any other industry site (and don't care what is said on them)...

So let's see what happens once this thing arrives.

I think it'll do well as long as there's content on it and yup, it's "forward" compatible with the PS4, so at least Sony thought out that part right and didn't toss off another single tasking device that can't be used with or for anything else...

Posted:10 months ago

#36

Andy Samson
QA Supervisor

225 170 0.8
A lot of those who pre-ordered probably didn't know the system will not let them play games that made use of the touchscreen, which is every hentai game there is on the Vita. This system would have made a lot more sense if it supported use of the new PS4 controller instead of the old Dual Shock 3, But still, it would be lacking that rear touch panel and camera (AR).

Nintendo on the other hand could release a "Game Boy Player" like attachment for the Wii U that lets the user play any DS or 3DS game on their TV (Will require a 3D TV to view 3DS games in 3D). Or without additional hardware, enable play without game cards via digital game download from the eShop. The GamePad will be used as the 2nd screen.The only thing the GamePad lacks are the rear cameras.

Posted:10 months ago

#37
This hardware could finally kill off the use of the touchscreens in VITA games, certainly the big ones. For example Resistance didn't really need to use the touchscreen at all. The selling point of the VITA over iPad etc is that it has BUTTONS! The touchscreens are gimmicky for big button-using games (which core gamers like) and only really there so it's easy to convert iPhone games.

Posted:10 months ago

#38

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,130 1,038 0.5
@Andy: I don't think Japanese gamers are as non-RTFM as they are here.

It was made pretty clear(at least to me as soon as I saw it) that the Vita tv wasn't made to play EVERY Vita game (and yeah, I'll bet a penny not all those pre-orders are from hentai-craving otaku either).

I'm sure the unit will either get support for the Dual Shock 4 (which isn't out yet) either via a patch or a revision down the road. If it doesn't, trust me - it won't be that big an issue other than people will have a white PS3 controller hanging out in their game space when they're playing that PS4.

That Sony made the controller part of the bundle means it KNOWS that the bulk of users aren't buying it for newer Vita games (unless those games don't use the touchscreen like many RPGs and older PSP/PSOne/PS2 titles on PSN), but I'd gather they'll be making adjustments if people get gripey about not being able to use a PS4 pad (which in a way is good and bad, Remember... the PS4 pad HAS a touchpad on it, sooo... we shall see, I guess)...

Posted:10 months ago

#39

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