There is a long history of handheld console wars: the Gameboy vs the Game Gear, the DS vs the PSP, and even iOS vs Android. But in a world that’s obsessed with smartphones, two of the biggest video games companies still hold the belief that a dedicated handheld games console can be a success – emancipating gamers from their their reclinersofa and allowing for an immersive experience on the move. The Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PlayStation Vita are the two gadgets in question – but
which one of them will come out on top, and why? Let’s take a look at just a few reasons that either of these handhelds could claim the price for best-seller of 2012.
The case for the Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo have been on a wild ride with the Nintendo 3DS since its launch in 2011. Its launch sales were fairly disappointing, so much so that one of the executives took a 50% paycut as an apology for its sales performance. In 2011, however, the Nintendo 3DS did pick up some steam. This is undoubtedly because of a range of quality titles being released, including Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. As we’ve moved into 2012, the 3DS line-up is looking even better – especially with the release of the truly home console-esque Resident Evil: Revelations. So things are certainly looking up, but does the 3DS have what it takes to keep going from strength to strength? Well, one of its biggest selling points is in its functionality, displaying fully 3D images without glasses.
Some wrote this off as a gimmick, and at first it seemed like it was; however now the 3D effects seem to have taken a back seat. They’re still there in games like Revelations, but their much more subtle, so they bolster the gameplay rather than the other way around. This is a good sign for the system, and if upcoming games like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D are anything to go by, it looks like the only way is up for this three-dimensional handheld.
The case for the PlayStation Vita
The Vita was released in Japan in late 2011, and much like its rival it has suffered from poor launch sales. The reasons for this are really anyone’s guess; however there’s a good chance that it was due to few solid launch titles that appeal to the Japanese market. Games such as the new portable Uncharted title may be better suited to a Western audience, so we shall soon see how well received they’ll be in the UK and America. The problem with judging the Vita’s performance is that it’s not yet been released in the West, however we do know about several games that should work in the system’s favour. Uncharted, as we mentioned, should be a big hit. There’s also a Mod Nation Racers title as well as a new Little Big Planet game. These are all big hits on the PS3 and will most likely
share that same success on the PS Vita. Unlike the 3DS, the Vita doesn’t offer a 3D display, however it does include a touch sensitive front and back, which should allow for some unique gameplay innovations.
We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the Vita in the hopes that it can replicate the kind of success that the 3DS is finally seeing on this side of the world.
Which handheld will be the success story of 2012?
As mentioned, it’s difficult to assess exactly which of these two handhelds will take the crown this year. On the one hand, the 3DS has been going from strength to strength recently and will doubtless continue that way; but on the other hand, the PS Vita is an all-new system which could attract the millions of PS3 players. With word that the system could actually stream full PS3 games via Wi-Fi, it could easily have one or two tricks up its sleeve. Both consoles have a quality line-up of games coming up in 2012, but the 3DS probably has the edge because of its established status. Sony may have a bit more work to do in playing ‘catch up’, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of marketing angle they’ll take with the Vita. One thing’s for sure if nothing else, 2012 is going to be a great year for gaming on the go!