PlayStation 4 Needs To Learn From Vita’s Mistakes

PS4

It’s here…

Handhelds and home consoles: two completely different fish living in harmony within the same pond. They both garner to different audiences, with handhelds appealing to gamers on-the-go and home consoles appealing to the gamer who wants to sit at home in front of their TV and immerse themselves in an amazing experience.  In premise, design and physical properties, they are completely different. With that said, how can Sony learn from PlayStation Vita’s launch to hopefully improve the launch of PlayStation 4? Although they are different, the errors made when launching the Vita should give a clear indication to Sony what is required from them when they launch PlayStation 4 this holiday season.

Spreading  Releases

One of the major issues Vita has had since its troubled launch is the constant question, “Where are the games?” Even though the Vita has a great deal of strong titles, not many gamers are going to invest in a new piece of hardware to buy Escape Plan .Though it’s an excellent game, it is no system seller and after Vita unloaded some big named titles on launch day, not enough AAA games have released consistently for gamers to justify the investment. When PlayStation 4 launches, this issue cannot exist. Though Wii U fans are currently dealing with this issue, they know grand titles are on the way. Sony cannot afford to throw all their big name games out the door on launch day. They needs to slowly spread out their releases. If they could release a decent named brand every month for the first year, it be an amazing launch year for Sony.

Imagine Killzone: Shadow Fall, inFAMOUS: Second Son, Diablo 3, Uncharted 4, God of War, Assassin’s Creed 4, Watch_Dogs, the next Call of Duty and Witcher 3. If they could release games of this calibre, excellent titles with an established brand consistently for the first 12 months, maybe even throwing a few other titles out in the 2014 holiday season. PlayStation 4 will never have the question about games become apparent. People want support for their investment and trickling out releases not only helps this problem, but game developers have a greater chance of their games selling between each big name release.

Marketing

Companies want gamers to know about their new system, so we cannot have the same terrible marketing Sony has offered in the past. Sony needs to come out swinging with commercials, billboards and advertisements on big named websites. People in Australia consistently ask me, “How is the new PSP going?” Knowing the name PlayStation Vita is a small percentage of the public, since the system isn’t sold at major retailers and the marketing plan for Australia was horrible, Sony cannot afford to do this. As the saying goes, you need to spend money to make money, and Sony definitely needs to make money.

PlayStation-Vita-sad-face-header

Sorry buddy

Marketing is a key factor when informing the public of a new release, otherwise confusion can occur. Many consumers were confused when Wii U was announced, the fact PlayStation 4 is numbered helps, but more consumer knowledge is never a bad thing.

Accessory Pricing

Marketing is only one form of advertisement. Another is word of mouth and if your system is capable of being as strong as Sony believes, that shouldn’t be a problem. The problem that could be an issue is pricing and I don’t mean the console. I mean the accessories such as the new DualShock 4. The fact we were given a touch-pad instead of a touchscreen is a good sign for the controller‘s final price, but we have seen Sony overcharge on their accessories before (Vita memory cards).

DualShock 4 2

You can’t be too expensive…Right?

Gamers trying a new system at a friend’s place is a powerful market. Have fun with a friend at their house playing PlayStation 4 and they might have enough fun to be sold on the console, but if controllers are expensive enough where many people only own one, that makes features like Diablo 3’s couch-co-op obsolete. Pricing the console is important, but pricing for everything else the console needs, just as important.

Connecting the PlayStation Experience

During the lead-up to the PlayStation Meeting and the event itself, Sony made it sound like the PlayStation brand was unified. They even made this evident when they expressed their interest in remote-play via the PlayStation 4 and Vita, They want our systems to connect, to talk to each other. When Vita launched, we were left wanting to see our Vita trophies on our PlayStation 3’s. It seemed like an easy feature, but it took them a while to get the feature up and running. This connectivity needs to be working day one and I don’t even mean the Remote-Play functionality. I mean simple ideas many would want to work. For instance, PlayStation 3 users should be seen on your PlayStation 4 friends list, trophies should be seen from previous consoles like PlayStation 3 and Vita all on PlayStation 4. These abilities are not being talked about because many assume it will just be there.

Part of the console experience these days is the social connectivity. If I lose seeing my friends list and trophies except for the grand total, then the online footprint I left with PlayStation will feel empty. If Sony wants to express how their PlayStation brand is connected and unified under the one branch, then these features should be no-brainers. Imagine having PlayStation 4 and your old trophies, friends list and the ability to talk to your friends on PlayStation 3 is missing. That would make the entire unification of PlayStation feel disjointed. Connecting the brand is key.

Though the PlayStation Vita is an exceptional piece of hardware, it struggled out the gate and has never been able to pick itself up. It needs support and Sony should make sure PlayStation 4 never needs to be supported because the support should always be there. If they can set a quality launch, one which impresses us enough to make us forget how they handled Vita’s, they could make the PlayStation 4 set the standard for launching a console.

Next generation is almost here, and Sony needs to seize this opportunity to prove they can successfully launch a brand new console. The PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita might be different beasts, but the failures from Vita’s launch should motivate Sony to lift their game. If they can’t and repeat the same mistakes with PlayStation 4 gamers asking for games, consumers complaining about pricing and more, Sony might not get another chance to pull off a successful launch.

Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction and you can like them on Facebook, follow his daily life on Twitter @JamieAA and his videos on YouTube.

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6 thoughts on “PlayStation 4 Needs To Learn From Vita’s Mistakes

  1. After talking with many of my “Hardcore PlayStation Gamer” friends and post seeing the PlayStation 4 announcement, we have come up with a list of concerns we have. It would be greatly appreciated it you could pass this list on to the proper channels.

    1. Removal of the Start and Select buttons – While we all agree that the new controller is stunning and beautifully designed, one of the smaller problems we had with it was the lack of start and select. “Options” is not sufficient in attempting to play any old game on the console. Playing older games threw Gaikai or otherwise might prove to be impossible without these buttons. Strongly recommend you change “options” back to Start and Select.

    2. Backward Compatibility – We cannot fathom why this was not important to Sony, as it was a major issue with the PS3 launch. (Most of us have kept the original PlayStation 3 for that reason) If you cannot include the hardware to run PS1, PS2, and PS3 games please allow the PS4 to obtain the software emulate them. With 8 GB of memory, this should not be a problem. Gaikai is nice, but with large collections of PS1, PS2 and PS3 games, we would like to use them on the new system.

    Or if nothing else, release a high end SKU of the PS4 with backwards compatibility, we are sure many of your loyal fans would appreciate (and purchase) this.

    2.5 Along with the “backwards compatibility” section, we believe it would be a smart move for Sony to allow the Dualshock 3 controllers to connect with the PS4 as well. This would be great for anyone converting from a PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4 and does not have the money to purchase extras as well as a sign of good faith from the PlayStation brand.

    3. Social Features – While posting your trophies or connecting to Facebook and various other social mediums through PlayStation are good ideas, please make all of these optional. Many of the core gamers have no interest in these features and many, myself included do not use social networking at all. Therefore if it were mandatory we could not play games.

    4. New Friends Methodology – While we found the idea of expanding upon the friends page interesting, we appreciated the privacy that PS3 provided. DO NOT FORCE users to create accounts with their picture and name. Once again, we stress, please make this optional.

    5. New Operating System – The XMB was perfect. Logically laid out with every application categorized into a sub category. Because of this, it was both intuitive and easy to use. While we only received a quick glimpse, the new operating system, seems to make far less sense. Please allow customization so the more logically minded among us can use the new system with ease as well. Perhaps an optional interface, closer to the PSVITA’s?

    6. Camera – While this new Camera could be used for some interesting moments and ideas in gaming. DO NOT make it mandatory. Many of us do not nor have we ever liked motion or camera based games. Please DO NOT require a camera to use the new controllers.

    7. Intuitive Downloads – Many of us, like to select games with no pattern or complete randomness, and in doing so do not like games to be downloaded for us. This idea is a good one, but once again it should be optional.

    8. Ideas – With 8 Gigs of memory the PlayStation 4 is the perfect time for cross game voice chat, PSN ID tagged controllers, and a system that allows users to play music at all time along with the game they are playing. Doing this would help PlayStation, to also become a hub for entertainment.

    P.S. it would be really cool if the “PS” button on the center of the Dualshock 4 light up red. This would make it more iconic.

    In conclusion, we have come to the consensus that while we enjoy many of the new PlayStation features we hope that you will consider adding some more and that you leave some optional. Aside from that you should know: keep up the great work! The specs are spectacular, we couldn’t have asked for a better controller (almost) and the game line up looks awesome.
    Also, this time around we would like to change or PSN names, have no limit on region locked, and do not prevent any sort of backwards compatibility publisher wise or otherwise

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  2. This was Sony’s best press conference in years. They focused on what the core gamers are looking for games! The new controller looks beautiful and added everything gamers wanted; headphone jack, improved grip, sticks, d-pad, and triggers. (Aside from the share and options buttons [seriously bring back start and select])
    In fact the only thing that most people I’ve talked to were disappointed in, was in regard’s to 3 games:
    Agent
    Final Fantasy Versus XIII
    The Last Guardian

    Like

    • I never expected any of those games to be spoken about really.
      This article was mainly talking about how PS4 can learn from Vita’s launch, the console looks great but that launch is pivotal to the console succeeding.

      Like

  3. Pingback: PlayStation 4 Needs To Learn From Vita’s Mistakes - Blog by Jamiemad66 - IGN

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