Vita on the streets of Japan.

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  • JinTypeNoir 14 Mar 2013 12:43:18 4,365 posts
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    So its been two weeks since Vita's price drop. Immediately after the price drop I decided to go game shops nearly every day to see the effect. I visited about 20-30 different shops all over Tokyo. I wanted to get an idea of how it was doing for two reasons:

    1) Gamers who like Vita all over the world are concerned about its future and as it stands now Japanese software support is crucial for handhelds.

    2) When this happens, things change rather quickly in the gaming landscape and I wanted to see how this changed things.

    I immediately noticed that nearly every shop I went to changed the Vita section. They made it bigger, more prominent, expanded the floor place and so on. The original DS seems to have been hit the hardest in order to accommodate space for the Vita. (According to one young lady, her manager said that it was because 98% of the DS market is now used games and he's not ready to count off the Wii U yet for the Vita.) I also got really, really sick of Soul Sacrifice advertising. But that is neither here, nor there. A lot of shops make an effort now to separate the PS3 and Vita sections, when they were kind of thrown together before, because I suppose they attracted the same audience. (I heard one person ask why they still made PS3 games when the Vita is out to their friend they were walking with.) There are lot of big posters advertising the price drop, the system features, and the upcoming games lineup; as well as explaining stuff like Wi-Fi and 3G options or the memory cards. Lots of hand-written little recommendations and advertisements for pre-orders and explanations by shop staff.

    The second thing I noticed is that a lot more people were walking around the Vita sections, looking at the monitors with game trailers and trying the demos. Many were looking at older games as well, of all sorts. Very few people would wander into the more relevant platforms section without giving a glance at the Vita section first.

    The third thing I noticed was that people seemed a bit confused and put out by Soul Sacrifice. To give an example, there is still a palpable buzz everywhere you go with Animal Crossing. It still gets sold out, people see it or are reminded of it in shops and start talking. Related merchandise is flying off the shelves. People are excited to talk about it, make joke or are smiling about it. On Soul Sacrifice, I see a lot of people tilting their heads or just thinking, "That was strange." Though it does seem to capture a lot of people's attention, bewilderment and apathy seem to be the lasting impression, at least in the shops. (Around people who have bought and played it, the atmosphere is quite different.) I don't blame them either. My first reaction to Soul Sacrifice was, "That was...interesting." The demo is awful for getting hands on feel of the game in a shop. Also, Sony has the same demos up they have since last summer and a lot of those seem to be straight copies of ones you can download on PSN and not made for store consumption.

    Instead, people seemed to be more enthusiastic about the other games for the platform, especially the older ones. Falcom's games seemed popular, as well as Gust's, Sega's and Nippon Ichi's. So the smaller guys on the PSP seemed to be attracting new costumers for the Vita.

    One thing that might be disheartening is I saw a lot of people walk around, look at Vita stuff, then head into the Nintendo section where they actually made purchases (well to be honest that's what I did too, I was always there for DS stuff). Questioning some of the friendlier people, a lot of them mentioned Animal Crossing and they had a PSP to play with friends, now their 3DS takes that role. When I asked others about Soul Sacrifice, I found a surprising amount of people echoed the same comment: it looked easier than Monster Hunter and your character more powerful. Because of that, it didn't feel like it would be as much fun supporting and being supported by friends. Other people said they didn't like the violence and thought Monster Hunter and Animal Crossing were more wholesome. Some of them said they were interested in Phantasy Star, but their didn't seem to be a way they could try it out and they didn't know whether it would be prohibitively expensive to play. (Consumers are weary and wary of free-to-play games here to a whole other level than it is over there.)

    Throughout the two or three weeks, the traffic in the Vita section has been about the same, quite a bit more bustle than before, and not the small ghost town of a section in shops. I've also seen 3 people playing Vitas in public in the last three weeks. That equals the amount of times I've seen that since launch up till now.

    Talking to store staff revealed something I found interesting. A lot of them commented that while the Vita didn't sell very well before, it sold pretty equally between men and women, and since the price drop, an overwhelming amount were men, while female customers always seemed to come in with their boyfriends to buy it. The original PSP and 3DS were being bought a lot more by women.

    (On a side note, that's another thing that has changed. Since Animal Crossing blew up into a mega phenomenon here, I see something I've never seen before: a "for women" section in many gaming shops. Tellingly it only has DS, 3DS and PSP software for the most part.)

    All in all, while the software library and lineup are still worries for the Vita, take it from me, having lived in Japan all my life: people are paying attention now. It's like all Sony has to do is lie up the right chips and people will be happy to give them the time of day. This is not something that only lasts for a few weeks. When this type of change happens in game shops, the consumer habits almost always stay the same. That doesn't mean the Vita will continue to sell as well. It just means that nobody is walking by the Vita section, going, "Pfft, yeah right," which was the overwhelming atmosphere before. A lot of people seem eager to jump in, but still a little reluctant to and from what I've observed last week, it has little to do with the games that have come out and more to do with a better market feel for the system.

    The biggest challenge Sony faces is that Nintendo has an absolutely perfect schedule of infinite buzz this year if all goes well: Animal Crossing is still the hottest game right now, Tomodachi Collection, the 3 million seller on the DS, is coming in April right before the one of the biggest holidays for families and shopping opportunities of the year, which leads directly into summer with Monster Hunter 4 and the holidays for adults for a special holiday called Obon, and then right at the back-to-school time Pokemon X and Y hit. And in between that they've got buzz and good word like it was flowing down a river of gold from heaven due to all the 3rd party stuff on the retail front and e-shop. Nintendo has the entire year locked down, pretty much, so after this, Sony has no more down time, from this week and the release of Super Robot Wars UX, there is no breathing room for the Vita.

    So that's why its important that Sony do something with all the renewed interest and positivity in their platform. There is almost an electricity there. Almost a buzz. While they can't possibly compete with the excitement behind the 3DS, they can certainly use that positivity to gradually pull the Vita up so that it can start to revive NEXT YEAR and I think that's what they need to aim at. Because eventually Nintendo will let the 3DS go on cruise control with mostly just 3rd party support to give it momentum and that's when the PSP slipped in and killed it, and that's, I believe, their cue for the Vita. This has been a successful first step on the retail front. I say they have about a year's time before people may become apathetic again. They won't have the luxury of high sales to convince consumers and third parties, so they need to be a lot savvier to do it, but the price drop was more successful in renewing interest (if not sales) than I or other consumers thought it would be.
  • Jazzy_Geoff 14 Mar 2013 12:44:56 7,767 posts
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    you are a nutter
  • Load_2.0 14 Mar 2013 12:46:22 18,879 posts
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    OK...
  • Psychotext 14 Mar 2013 12:50:50 53,807 posts
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    O_o
  • SClaw 14 Mar 2013 12:52:26 826 posts
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    I see...

    So. Your profile picture is a man riding a turtle. That's interesting.
  • Deleted user 14 March 2013 12:55:04
    JTN wall of text.
    /yawn
    On the other hand, you're a legend, man. I can't imagine these forums without your ramblings.

    Edited by Cosmopolitan at 12:56:25 14-03-2013
  • neilka 14 Mar 2013 12:55:11 15,642 posts
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    "Too much time on your hands" distilled into one human being
  • ibenam 14 Mar 2013 12:56:06 1,345 posts
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    Kaz...Is that you?
  • ibenam 14 Mar 2013 12:56:28 1,345 posts
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    .

    Edited by ibenam at 12:57:01 14-03-2013
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 14 Mar 2013 13:09:49 37,328 posts
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    The thread title reads like the Vita has been made homeless.

    Follow me on Twitter: @MrTom
    Voted by the community "Best mod" 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  • riz23 14 Mar 2013 13:11:41 1,150 posts
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    Well I for one found that quite entertaining. Filled my lunch hour nicely. You are all jolly rude. I'd rather read that, than read, for example, neilka suggesting he touches willies with somebody.






    I just need pictures for that.
  • javvyman 14 Mar 2013 13:13:06 707 posts
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    Whilst I appreciate your time on the subject, get a blog or get a life.
  • ibenam 14 Mar 2013 13:14:36 1,345 posts
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    @riz23 It took you an hour to read?

    Were you mulling over every detail stroking your beard and sippiing red wine whilst thinking of OP strolling around Jap.
  • nickthegun 14 Mar 2013 13:15:24 58,782 posts
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    neilka wrote:
    "Too much time on your hands" distilled into one human being
    Im genuinely surprised he found time to visit 20 game stores a day in between finishing every game ever released.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

  • Deleted user 14 March 2013 13:16:32
    nickthegun wrote:
    neilka wrote:
    "Too much time on your hands" distilled into one human being
    Im genuinely surprised he found time to visit 20 game stores a day in between finishing every game ever released.
    Not to mention the time it took battering that drivel out.
  • santashi 14 Mar 2013 13:24:31 5,046 posts
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    It's nice to hear that you think it's a more positive atmosphere. I guess it's not that surprising that Soul Sacrifice doesn't appeal across the board, though.

    ...It feels a little weird writing a short response to such a long post, somehow! Er.

    PSN ID: finn1
    3DS: 3497-0005-6756

  • redcrayon 14 Mar 2013 13:31:00 4,544 posts
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    I thought it was interesting considering how well the Vita sold this week over there (if going a bit beyond the call of duty to your hobby). I'd much rather people started threads about stuff that is at least relevant but long and bonkers rather than the usual trolling, bizarre aggression and insults.

    The way people hold grudges over from thread to thread is just silly sometimes.

    Edited by redcrayon at 13:35:10 14-03-2013
  • uiruki 14 Mar 2013 13:34:10 3,659 posts
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    Great, now I have the song "Panic" stuck in my head.

    FUCK OFF MORRISSEY
  • Progguitarist 14 Mar 2013 13:34:17 10,400 posts
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    Yeah, that was a good read.
  • teamHAM 14 Mar 2013 13:34:36 2,749 posts
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    Needs more TLDR.

    XBox Live, Origin, PSN and Steam: teamHAM

  • FarFromSane 14 Mar 2013 13:40:16 236 posts
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    I enjoyed reading that

    Somewhere out there, a neurotic chicken wants to cross the road but is paralyzed by the knowledge that everyone will question his motives

  • JinTypeNoir 14 Mar 2013 13:40:51 4,365 posts
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    nickthegun wrote:
    Im genuinely surprised he found time to visit 20 game stores a day in between finishing every game ever released.
    I did not visit 20 or 30 shops every day, I just visited 1 or 2 that happened to be in the vicinity of where I was doing other things, which meant a lot of different ones over the course of 2 weeks. I've been going to interviews for the past two months because I am graduating soon, so I happen to be in places I am not usually at and have time on my hands.

    I was also looking for Castlevania games, which are impossible to find lately with the new game coming out.

    Edited by JinTypeNoir at 13:43:50 14-03-2013
  • nickthegun 14 Mar 2013 13:41:58 58,782 posts
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    You should use that time to think about getting a girl/boyfriend.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

  • cubbymoore 14 Mar 2013 13:42:29 36,468 posts
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    Read the first three paragraphs, then saw how much further it went on for....

    So the Vita yay?
  • Deleted user 14 March 2013 13:46:19
    I don't think so.
  • nickthegun 14 Mar 2013 13:47:38 58,782 posts
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    I did get that Animal Crossing is the biggest game in Japan at the moment, which is quite telling.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

  • Gregolution 14 Mar 2013 14:17:04 3,164 posts
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    @JinTypeNoir

    Nice post. Ignore the trolls mate.

    Slightly worried the impression of soul sacrifice is that it looks too easy.... I hope that's wrong. A good coop game only works if it's difficult enough to force that cooperation

    Edited by Gregolution at 14:19:46 14-03-2013
  • elstoof 14 Mar 2013 14:20:26 6,604 posts
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    Is there any truth in the free hand job with every purchase rumour?
  • Armoured_Bear 14 Mar 2013 14:21:29 10,262 posts
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    Typical of the EG of today.
    Someone puts quite some effort into writing a long, informative post on gaming from a perspective that the other forumites don't have, using information they can't have and gets a load of snidey comments, some from people who contribute zero except snidey remarks.

    Well done, it's a gaming forum, we can't have talk about games if the posts are more than 100 characters long.

    XBL : ecosse011172
    PSN : ecosse_011172
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  • nickthegun 14 Mar 2013 14:23:56 58,782 posts
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    Do you do anything other than whine these days?

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

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