originals\ Jul 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

Playstation Vita and Nintendo 3DS vs Smartphones and Tablets

It’s no secret that the Playstation Vita is struggling with sales right now, and most people might blame it on the Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS, however, isn’t exactly setting the world on fire itself since it launched over a year ago. There is a reason that the handheld video game market is dwindling down, and it’s because of devices like iPhones and iPads.


Smartphones and tablets have a much broader appeal than current handheld game systems. Not only do they have games, but great internet browsers, larger screens, huge app stores and more uses in general. It’s almost impossible to compare the uses of tablets and smartphones to handheld game systems because they just do so much more.

Smartphones are a unique problem to game systems because everyone has one and people carry them at all times. Handheld gaming systems usually don’t have this luxury, and are part of a niche category compared to the phones they compete against. Since people carry around their phones everywhere they go, they are more likely to play a game of Fruit Ninja or Jetpack Joyride than carry around a separate system to play Uncharted: Golden Abyss on.

Tablets generally cost $200-$900 based on model, brand, size, and storage. While the more costly tablets, generally the iPads, range from $500+, most tablet makers are trying to get to the $200 price point. The newly announced Google Nexus 7 starts out at $200 and does a lot more than the Vita and the 3DS.

Angry Birds

Game/App Prices are a huge deal when comparing handhelds to smartphones and tablets. The Vita and 3DS games are generally $30 to $40 dollars, while most apps have free trials and usually max out around $10 at most. The most startling news is that Angry Birds is coming to the 3DS for a whopping $30 for 3 versions of the game. These same 3 games are free on android devices, and a dollar apiece on tablets and phones.  Pricing really hurts the handheld systems, especially the Vita, which requires a pricey proprietary memory card in order to play any of the games.

The Vita and 3DS are in serious trouble and face competition from each other and indirectly from other devices. Developers are much more likely to make iOS and Android compatible games than spend a lot more and sell a lot less on the Vita and 3DS. It’s much safer for developers to turn to app stores where their products could have a mass appeal, rather than a niche one.

What do you think? Are the Vita and 3DS in trouble? Do you buy more games on your handheld system or for your phone/tablet? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter at @AlexEqualsWin and Gamezone at @Gamezoneonline

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