Speculator: Will 2012 be the Year of the Vita?

February 28, 2012

In this installment of the Speculator, we talk about an Xbox tablet, God of War 4 and the portable sales wars.

Next Xbox to use a tablet controller

Nintendo is used to having their designs and ideas copied by competitors, though they probably aren’t happy to hear about the newest copycat rumor. Before the Wii U even gets a real gameplay reveal, a rumor is making the rounds that Microsoft is experimenting with using a touch screen controller for its next console as well.


It’s motion controls all over again, isn’t it? That being said, Microsoft has the Kinect, I’m not sure if they really want to make yet another new experimental peripheral for their next system. If it happens, I wouldn’t be surprised, but I could easily see them passing on this idea to focus on improving the Kinect experience.


I’m not surprised that Microsoft is investigating this, but I would be surprised if they decided to do it. They’ve got the Kinect already, there’s no reason to add another potential interface when they still haven’t figured out how to make core gamers happy with the Kinect.


As a primary input device? No, the Xbox brand relies upon core Call of Duty and Madden people to keep it strong, so they won’t do a gimmick-as-system approach. We’re also fairly certain the next box will include Kinect tech, so it’s a bit redundant. That said, I could see it happening as a peripheral or something.


It might be a stupid idea for Microsoft to follow Nintendo footsteps for a tablet controller, but if Nintendo has something going for them with the Wii U tablet, then I’m sure Microsoft doesn’t want to fall behind like they did with motion controllers. I don’t see it happening, but then again, I’m sure Microsoft is gonna cook something up in that vein of the woods.

Sony to announce God of War 4 by E3 2012

First hinted at via a musician’s statement that he is working on the score for a new entry in the series, further weight was given to it recently by a preorder listing at a South African retailer. Sony is denying everything, as usual, but this leads to the question of whether Sony is on the verge of continuing their best-selling series.


It seems like new rumors about God of War 4 are popping up every day. It’s pretty inevitable, isn’t it? The series is a huge success for Sony. They did wrap up Kratos’ story pretty swiftly in God of War III, there is still plenty they can do with the franchise. I can imagine this being one of their big 2012 or 2013 releases. The one small problem I see is them focusing on the Vita more than the PS3 at E3, saving the God of War announcement for another time. I don’t doubt it’s coming though.


I think Sony is going to focus on the Vita for most of the year, but they will need some PS3 announcements at E3. Aside from Last of Us and The Last Guardian, they really don’t have any major franchises due for more information, so I anticipate God of War 4 to get an announcement similar to Halo 4‘s reveal last year, at the very least.


Let’s get this out of the way: we won’t see God of War 4 in 2012. But it could get announced now and released in 2013. The one thing holding that back: we probably will see some big fall announcements from Sony, since there haven’t been many games unveiled yet for the holidays… if Sony can hold back that announcement for next year or something, I could see that happening.


If there’s anything wrong with this generation of gaming, it’s that companies don’t know when to stop pushing sequels our with games. God of War seems no different. If I recall correctly, a composer put this game down on their resume for composing music for said game. Unless they’re pulling the Vita side-game card, then I’m sure we’ll see the announcement by E3.

PS Vita to outsell 3DS in America in 2012

Sony’s expectations for launch sales of the Vita seem to have been tempered a bit from the slow sales in Japan. With a projection of only 500,000 units in three weeks, it seems like Sony is already destined to continue playing runner-up to Nintendo in the handheld space. With a stronger initial lineup though and plenty of buzz, can the Vita surprise and outsell the 3DS this year?


Nintendo may have had a rough start with the 3DS, but the system is doing just fine now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vita does really well during its launch month, I just can’t see it outselling the 3DS overall in 2012. The PSP never outsold the DS; the Vita will probably never outsell the 3DS.


The Vita will have a stronger launch than the 3DS did, of that I have no doubt. But the 3DS has recovered in a big way, surpassing 3 million systems sold in the US already. I think the Vita will do better than the PSP did, but I doubt it will ever compete with the 3DS, just like the PSP couldn’t compete with the DS.


The Vita is a shiny piece of kit, and its launch this year means those numbers are included in the totals. I think it will compete as a result, but we just don’t see that Zelda or Mario that will boost the system’s sales and have it dominate the fall. Nintendo, on the other hand, will keep selling Mario Kart and 3D Land, and we’ll probably see something like Pokemon over the holidays to print some more units.


While the Vita is a solid handheld and more powerful than the 3DS, I can’t see it beating Nintendo’s handheld. Nintendo seems to have a knack for making handheld and releasing games for all kinds of audiences. With the price drop helping its case and the current price of the Vita, it doesn’t seem likely it will outsell it.

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