Vita makes more money for more devs, says Sony

Handheld maker pushing system as an attractive alternative to iOS and Android development

With its growing catalog of indie games, PS4 compatibility, and just-announced price cut, Sony is trying to breathe new life into the PS Vita. Part of that effort also includes convincing creators to work on the platform, something Sony reps and Vita developers discussed recently with Polygon.

In the piece, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe senior business development manager Shahid Ahmad pushed the Vita as an alternative to the mobile and tablet markets, suggesting that the handheld's user base is more engaged and willing to spend money on games than their counterparts on other platforms.

"More developers make more money on average on Vita than they do on mobile," Ahmad said. "When people buy a Vita, they want to purchase games. I tell developers, if you're trying to build a business, then building your game and bringing it to Vita is a great investment. If you want to play the lottery, then putting a game on iOS is more like that. You're scratching that and hoping you get discovered, hoping that a lot of people talk about you. Whereas Vita, every week when there's content coming out, people buzz about it and it spreads like wildfire, because everyone's firing that console up every day to look at the content and talk about it."

The sentiment was supported by Ripstone co-founder Phil Gaskell, who has released a number of multi-platform titles that showed favorable results on Vita.

"Our Pure Chess title has sold more units on PS Vita than on PS3," Gaskell said. "Our line drawing game Men's Room Mayhem sold more units on PS Vita in its first month than on iOS and Android combined. It seems like a perfectly good platform to us, and we're continuing to support it in the future."

Sony is also expecting the Vita's PS4 features to spark interest in the system. Sony Computer Entertainment America VP of publisher and developer relations Adam Boyes stressed the importance of Remote Play, which will let players play some PS4 games using the Vita.

"We've said internally that it's going to be the greatest peripheral ever made for a console," Boyes said. "I can't wait to have my PS4 in my living room and being able to play Watch Dogs in my bedroom while my PS4 is downstairs. That's going to generate more interest in the platform in general."

More stories

FIFA and NBA lead PlayStation's official 2021 downloads charts

Beat Saber dominated the VR charts, while Fortnite topped the free-to-play list

By Marie Dealessandri

Sony reportedly cuts PS5 targets for the year amidst component shortages

Manufacturing outlook for the fiscal year reduced by around one million consoles due to ongoing logistics issues

By Danielle Partis

Latest comments (22)

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games8 years ago
riiiiiiight! an interesting point of view for sure.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
This comes right after the news that Google Play takes second place for portable spending, ahead of Nintendo and Sony.

The platform has potential, especially if they make more software and continue to squeeze the entry price to gamers getting the system, but you'll need hard stats and serious incentives to convince everyone its the most financially viable for a hand-held dev.

Many studios struggled on PSP despite an 80 million installed base. We'll have to see about Vita.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Tell Supercell,, Gungho, Kabam, Funzio, Mojang, Big Fish, etc etc
I am sure they will believe it.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (22)
Caleb Hale Journalist 8 years ago
Come Hell or high water, Sony is going to make up the R&D they put into the PS Vita.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team8 years ago
Bruce, I think those studios would be the ones that 'won the lottery' as suggested by Ahmad in the article.
9Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Carlos, not only did they 'win the lottery' but now they are 'paying the taxes' (many of those studios just announced major layoffs or project cancellations).
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Goldman Journalist. 8 years ago
but 3ds makes more money for devs than all 3
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
App Annie, latest figures show handheld consoles in decline. Mobiles forging ahead:

As anyone who knows the industry would expect.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
FYI Bruce: Gungho has a few Vita games on the platform already.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
John McCaul Web Developer, DevPhase.Net8 years ago
I can well believe it in some cases, more modest selling games on iOS and Android could and should make a lot of money on dedicated handheld devices. The 3ds eShop game Gunman Clive is a great example of it, in March the 3ds version passed combined sales of iOS and Android versions. Not bad for a one man studio.
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Lindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic8 years ago
Also FYI Bruce: Mojang... pretty sure Minecraft is coming to Vita :P
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kirsty Rigden Operations Director, FuturLab8 years ago
It's true - it may be a smaller pie but you get a bigger slice. We only ever get to hear about the success stories on mobile, I'd wager that for every success story there are at least 100 indie companies who tried iOS and failed.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I never agreed with the VITA price point. However I always wished it could somehow take off and be succesful. It is a very good offering for portable games. I hope it is able to shift more units after the price drop. And for all the mobile games that exist, I cant really find one that leaves me as satisfied or offers a deep meaningful expirience games on I find on consoles that Nintendo and SONY's portable offerings offer. And SONY's enfasis on indie gaming will make stride for the VITA. In yesterdays conference I was completely stoked by the likes of Rime, Octodad, Transister and now minecraft is coming to SONY consoles. And I appalud SONY's efforts to bring more indie gaming to there platforms and make it easier for developers to do so. And for every 1 good game on mobile platforms there are thousands of garbage, crappy, trash games and clones. People who play candy crush arent necessarily people who play games. They just play candy crush. I doubt many other game developers meet the success of angry birds or candy crush on mobile platforms, simply because people will buy a mobile phone or tablet for other reasons that are not to play games. Just because they have a smart phone it doesnt mean they will play games on them. So the notion that mobile platforms are the future of gaming is really stupid.

At least both SONY and Nintendo bring platforms that are for people who play games. It may not be as large as people who own a mobile phone, but rest assured, releasing a game for SONY or Nintendo means people are going to play your game, and it will get more exposure, simply because your game is not swimming in an endless ocean of mediocre and crappy games.

Note that I dont mention micrsoft cause the way I see it, they arent clear on what they are doing and since they dont know what to do, they are just copying SONY. SONY is really making strides for indie gaming.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University8 years ago
It might make more money for a handful of developers, but in broader strokes, iOS, Android and Nintendo eShop are all far better bets for developers right now. The traditional middle-tier, mostly Japanese industry, that has always supported handhelds and was particularly influential on PS1 and PS2, have largely found their home on 3DS, and Nintendo are quietly attracting more and more independent and small scale developers to their digital store. iOS and Android will continue to attract thousands of titles, and dozens or perhaps hundreds of successful ones, and Nintendo are protecting enough of their market place to have tens of millions of consumers buying hundreds of millions of games, so between those two forces, Sony have their work cut out for them with Vita. The fact they have been so slow to provide real system sellers and that they are describing it as a "peripheral" for PS4 doesn't inspire me with confidence, even if the system plays host to some great software.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
Just because they have a smart phone it doesnt mean they will play games on them. So the notion that mobile platforms are the future of gaming is really stupid.
Its like the 'us' and 'them' mentality allover again.

The future of gaming is always more platforms, form factors and business models. Not one or the other. People don't necessarily play games on PCs either just because they have a PC.

There's little doubt that new products, particularly in social and f2p have pushed up the number of people playing on the platform - just like easily distributed, low cost touch screen games have on mobile.

Open, convergent mobile platforms are part of the future of gaming and people need to accept it.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Lindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic8 years ago
Both Mobile and dedicated handhelds are part of the future, and as a developer it depends what game you are going to make, who you are targeting and what business model you are going to do.

Whenever I see an article like this, I always see in the comments about "yeah but mobile is doing this", etc. Yes and I agree mobile is a brilliant platform.

If you have a good game and you get lucky, you make lots of money (often via f2p) because there are lots of people because lots and lots of people have phones and you get exposure. However the app stores have loads of titles in them now so the risk of your game getting buried quickly is a lot higher. As people like Kirsty have said we only ever here the success story on mobile, there are loads of people making games that just instantly get buried. When making games for dedicated devices like the Vita, you are catering to a more specialized audience and I think they will go looking for games, meaning your game is less likely to get buried.

It is not really a "us and them "mentality there, it is just that loads of people have smartphone and a large number of people play games on it, but (and this is what I have seen on the tube and train) they are often playing the games developed by the companies Bruce mentioned and the other "big names". You have to make something not just good but outstanding.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up8 years ago
if this is ever to happen on a large scale the tools and libs need to be readily available to download and future consumer kits really need to be capable of a debug mode. I think then it would probably get alot more support from indies.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 27th August 2013 1:59pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Lindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic8 years ago
Consumer kits have Playstation Mobile. If you made an awesome game for that and say you want to just focus on Vita Sony may give you a kit for free. I am not liking the fact that PSM games are segregated into their own part of the store right now on Vita and (I may be wrong) but it seems you have to develop as if you were developing for all the devices when really I want to just develop and release on Vita
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up8 years ago

Its not really about getting kits for free to be honest. Its simply all a barrier to entry that you even have to discuss it with someone on a phone or by email to get one. Thats why mobile is more popular in general. The toolset is on your machine in seconds and you start making games. It should be more of a streamlined process for everyone, like on mobile. I think that would drive interest. I made wipeout 2048 as a launch title when I was at studio Liverpool, and played a hand in developing the Vita. It is a great machine for gaming but even at that time I though the toolset could have become a bit more user friendly to third party devs. Im sure they are working towards that though. I would like to see a Unity exporter for it, as Im sure that would also help, as it has with the PS4 interest.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 27th August 2013 3:17pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Lindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic8 years ago
Yeah I know there is a Unity exporter in the works, but I reckon it will be a while. In the mean time though like Indies can get some stuff out via MonoGame and PSM if they wanted
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises8 years ago

Playstation Mobile doesn't let you target the Vita at all. It limits you to 96 megs of ram, and your game has to run on every PSM certified device out there. That includes some ancient phones with tiny screens, and devices with no physical controls just touch.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven8 years ago
#13 "I never agreed with the VITA price point."
It was still cheaper on launch than my Sony Ericsson phone (Xperia Ray) +/- 5 months after launch.
The few games that seem interesting on android are freaking slow and crash. Not to mention battery depletes way too fast. (Not sure if thats just my phone or all Ray's... or all current smartphones)
If games is what you want, you're better of with a vita and a 30 phone. And you can still send messages after playing games.
I should have gotten a 3G vita and a cheap phone instead, since most of my battery goes to chatting via 3G (which i recently lowered to 2G only to save battery) on the bus. Luckily, I have my trusty psp to accompany me when my battery is depleted to catch up some missed ps1 classics ;) (FFV is a perfect bus-game!)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.