As was made evident by this year’s E3, the Big Three publishers’ focus for this year is multi-screen devices. Nintendo showed off the Wii U, which pairs regular console play with a touch-screen gamepad, Microsoft announced Xbox SmartGlass to link entertainment on the 360 with mobile devices and tablets, and Sony continued to push cross-play between the Vita and the PS3.
When asked by GamesIndustry.biz what would make Sony stand out in the multi-screen race, Sony Worldwide Studios vice president Scott Rohde was confident that the Vita had the Wii U beat in one area: processing power: "Because we have the Vita, I think we can do a lot of special things. And remember, that Wii U tablet doesn't have a processor in it, so it's got to be fueled by that box sitting under your TV. We can do some pretty special things that you'll start to see on the floor this year and you'll see more over the upcoming months about what you can do when you actually have a processor in the thing that's in your hand as well.”
The only problem is that the Wii U will ship with a Wii U gamepad and many own tablets or mobile devices. Unfortunately, only 1.8 million people worldwide own a Vita, and that statistic doesn’t account for how many PS3 owners own one. However, Rohde is confident that Vita sales will pick up and more third party developers will hop on board.
I think that if Sony wants the Vita to sell, then it shouldn’t just increase software support for the Vita, but add exclusive titles that aren’t just spin-offs. The Vita needs more titles like Escape Plan and Gravity Rush, which might not have the big name that Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation or Call of Duty: Black Ops II may have, but are Vita-exclusive experiences. While cross-play between the PS3 and the Vita may be a draw of the handheld, having a multi-screen experience is secondary to having a strong, original lineup. The Vita has to offer an experience that can’t be found on consoles or the mobile platform.