Apple’s iPad was the first of many devices to put notebooks and ultrabooks on the ropes. Is it about to do the same thing to game controllers? When IndustryGamers’ Steve Peterson compares Sony’s PlayStation Vita with Apple’s looming iPad 3, he makes a good case that it will, whether he means to or not.
It all comes down to this: Would you buy two somewhat-overlapping devices, totaling perhaps $700 at the low end, when one does more things better?
Sure, the PS Vita’s a game controller first, and I’d rather
get killed play with real joy sticks and buttons, not screen-based controls. But with Bluetooth the iPad can easily connect to controllers and keyboards, thus tamping down that distinction. Its screen resolution will be better, and the iPad 3 will output to HDTV. And though it will be more expensive, App Store games will be cheaper — say $6.99 per title compared to the PS Vita’s $40.
For game publishers, that unit price is balanced by the probability that Apple will sell more iPads. Peterson expects iPad 3 sales will outpace the iPad 2’s rate of 5 million a month. For the Vita, he thinks annual unit sales of 5 million a year is “optimistic but achievable.”
Then there’s this:
As far as utility goes, the PS Vita is a great game console. Other functions, like web browsing and media playback, are available but certainly not optimal. If you want to browse the web, you probably want to use something else. The iPad is a great web browser and media consumption device, as well as offering a huge number of apps with an incredible array of functions. People with specialized uses can find an iPad irresistible if it does something they really need (like photographers, musicians, airline pilots, and many businesses have discovered). The iPad plays games pretty well, too, though not certain genres (like the FPS) very well yet. The iPad has the edge over the PS Vita in every function except gaming, and even in that case the iPad’s larger screen may be more useful for some games.
A whole lot of game players are casual game players. If they can only buy one device, they’ll buy the one that does more, not the product that does just a little bit. Think of it this way: Remember when cell phones only made phone calls?
Photo: Random Original