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SCEA: We have to do something different to get AAA on Vita

SCEA: We have to do something different to get AAA on Vita

Mon 12 May 2014 10:30am GMT / 6:30am EDT / 3:30am PDT
Hardware

Don Mesa says AAA economics just don't work for the handheld

SCEA's director of product planning and platform software innovation has explained why studios aren't creating AAA titles for the PlayStation Vita, and pointed to services like PS Now as alternatives.

"The economics simply don't work with the traditional process," said Don Mesa in response to fan comments on the PlayStation Blog.

"We have to do something different to get AAA games on Vita. We accomplished it to a certain degree by making PS4 games work on Vita via remote play. PS Now will be another way, streaming PS3 games on Vita. I can't wait until PS Now is out on Vita - I hope you'll try out the experience and let me know what you think."

Earlier this year Drinkbox's Chris McQuinn praised the Vita audience and their appetite for games.

"Honestly, Vita owners are the ****ing best. People rag on the Vita so much, and I think people who rag on the Vita don't understand, at least from a business perspective, the purchasing power of Vita owners. Vita owners are serious purchasers of games. It's an amazing system."

Sony is currently launching a new slimmer and lighter Vita in the US.

17 Comments

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,405 1.1
Popular Comment
Is he suggesting that there won't be any AAA Vita specific titles in the future? As the guy in charge of games for the platform, that's a scary statement for Vita owners.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Jim Basically, yes, that's what he's saying. Also if that Sony press conference leak turns out to be true that will continue to be the reality going forward. Sony has no interest in promoting or supporting the Vita past indie games, which is great for indies, but also means the platform is on its way to an early grave, far faster than the Wii U (Wii U outsells the Vita 8:1 in the US).

At least I have Danganronpa and other quirky Japanese games to play on my Vita for now. However, that support may dry up in the near future too.

Posted:4 months ago

#2
It's possible to perhaps look at setting aside smaller subdivisions to produce internal indie type vita games, that do not always need to be associated with a AAA title in development, so as to produce a decent variety of PS vita gams. Perhaps give the teams a 12 month cycle and leave the team size to less than 15?

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Rolf Klischewski
Founder & CEO

43 117 2.7
The Vita needs a dedicated Gran Turismo title.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Ryan Locke
Lecturer in Media Design

60 16 0.3
System sellers like Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary seem like huge risks to developers to me, luckily they're both excellent and well supported, I'd love to see sales figures. If there's a way to mitigate the development time / resources by improving tools for devs, then cool, but perhaps Sony need to be taking more risk for developers? Vita may benefit from Sony taking more risks on potential 'ThatGameCompany's in-the-making - either from small startups or educational projects which have innovation at their core.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Craig Page
Programmer

382 218 0.6
I just don't understand why Sony even bothers making new hardware if all the software love they're going to give it is PS1 and PSP ports...

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Ryan Locke
Lecturer in Media Design

60 16 0.3
gah, we all know a new Jak and Daxter would shift units :D

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Russ Cogman
Senior Game Artist

22 47 2.1
Popular Comment
I honestly wouldn't care if no AAA games come out on Vita anytime soon or ever again. The games that have held my attention have all been smaller indie titles that give great value for money and can be played for a few minutes or hours depending on how you're feeling.
AAA is so expensive and only getting more so. I think we're going to see a shift towards quirky, cheap to make and risky over the next few years even on the Xbone/PS4 because the scales of cost and production that uses all the power of today's hardware is a scary investment for anybody.
Now, if they can just make PS1 games look a bit higher res than they did on my PSP I'd be a happier bunny.

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Justin Shuard
J - E translator

43 174 4.0
I'm with Russ on this one. As a Vita owner myself I'm really struggling to care that the latest FPS blockbuster isn't coming to Vita. They just seem an ill-fit for handheld gaming. Just keep the Japanese/indie games coming.

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Christian Keichel
Journalist

682 925 1.4
I disagree, I would definitely prefer more AAA games on my Vita, the 3DS has an incredible list of AAA exclusives from Nintendo and 3rd parties, games like Resident Evil Revelations, Kid Icarus Uprising, Super Mario 3D Land, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds, Pokemon X/Y, Mario Kart 7, Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon, Lego City Undercover: The Chase begins, New Super Mario Bros. 2m Bravely Default or Paper Mario: Sticker Star all qualify as big budget AAA productions, that make the overall lineup of the console extremely attractive to me, even if my SD card holds an additional 40+ independent games, I bought on the eShop.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 12th May 2014 9:54pm

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Russ Cogman
Senior Game Artist

22 47 2.1
Let's be honest here. The majority of reasons for owning a Nintendo console is for the first party exclusives. Whilst it might be nice to be playing the Playstation exclusive titles on the Vita, they would feel like slimmed down, inferior versions of the "proper" versions anyway. Gran Turismo, Infamous and The Last of Us are not games that I would want to play poorer versions of. For example, we already have Killzone, LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted and with the exception of LBP none of them play as well as their bigger cousins.
In defence of your argument, it would be nice if games like the Lego franchise were actual ports of the full console experience, but ironically, so far they have been developed alongside the 3DS version so Vita owners are not getting the benefit of what the machine is actually capable of. Because of that, the Lego games on Vita feel like HD versions of the PSP games I was playing 6 years ago.
Perhaps more could be done by Sony to encourage the porting of games (Like Borderlands 2) onto the Vita. The risk is less and would do something to bolster their high-profile catalogue.

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

436 496 1.1
@ Russ

I think Christian makes a good point, and if, as you say (correctly I think)
Whilst it might be nice to be playing the Playstation exclusive titles on the Vita, they would feel like slimmed down, inferior versions of the "proper" versions anyway. Gran Turismo, Infamous and The Last of Us are not games that I would want to play poorer versions of. For example, we already have Killzone, LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted and with the exception of LBP none of them play as well as their bigger cousins.
Surely the point should be that it's up to Sony to create versions of their IP and new IP that play to the strengths of the Vita, the way Nintendo have consistently made top tier games on their own handhelds that don't feel like inferior versions of home console games? I'd argue that's what Vita has always needed to be a more successful platform. The variety and quality of digital software available for Vita is laudable, but that isn't going to keep hardware sales ticking over and it isn't going to build much momentum for the device. Like Wii U, Vita needs a consistent stream of big software to push sales along. At the least, Nintendo will try to provide that for Wii U and should carve out a profitable niche. If Sony don't try and provide those experiences for Vita, who will?

Posted:4 months ago

#12
Its all about what one defines as AAA

I think the right look/feel for the vita is more important and playability. if it plays right, has great countless hours of enjoyment, for say a deserted desert island marooned scenario....(with access miraculously to a powersource), we could be onto a winner :)

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,405 1.1
What drives consoles sales? What drives demand for a console? What sparks talk among gamers considering a new console?

Indie titles that are also on 10 other platforms?
Or big, exclusive AAA titles?

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Ryan Locke
Lecturer in Media Design

60 16 0.3
Lazy VGChartz search gives us an indication http://www.vgchartz.com/platform/43/playstation-vita/

Posted:4 months ago

#15
The Vita needs a killer app, they have tried with Assassins Creed and Call of Duty (Terrible game) they need a game that would help the Vita, these words - Grand Theft Auto, not a GTA5 port but a full blown GTA on Vita, GTA Liberty city and Vice City Stories are the highest selling games in the US/EU (Monster Hunter holds the title of top seller, crazy Japanese sales) but Sony need to MAKE SURE it is developed by R* and not a external developer, also fund it for them as developers find it risky to develop on a Vita, with a small install base and all.

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Isaac Kirby
Studying Computer Games Development

40 37 0.9
@Adam, I don't think you could call the Assassins Creed / Call of Duty attempts on Vita "Killer Apps". They are both "diet" slimmed down versions of the console experience.

A new "Full GTA" would be slightly wasted, but imagine the Gang War from San Andreas on Vita, a small "organise your turf", "upgrade your guys", "invade the others" game with some twin stick shooter action from a top down perspective.
That's the 'A' market developers should be looking into here.
Not "how do we trim it down", but "how can we funsize it up".

Posted:4 months ago

#17

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