File/ Vita Vs 3ds/ The West/ 2 of 2
The 11th of May 2012 Approx. 1700 hours US EST
Previously, I posted an assessment of the Vita's standing in Japan against it's competitor, Which can be found here.
Now I shall do the same for the second front: The West
The USoA. One of many points of interest on this front, and perhaps the most vital
Here, too the Vita is up against a stronger opponent. But without the hindrance of fighting a revolution to contend with, the Vita has far more breathing room and a stronger presence. Also working in the Vita's favor, albeit only slightly, is the comparative lack of support for the 3ds on this front, as well as the Vita's more comparatively Western oriented support. However, this front is brutal and unfriendly towards handhelds, something neither the 3ds nor the Vita can fully avoid. Furthermore, many disadvantages from the Home Front carry over: Less overall support, whether it be from original titles or backing from its predecessor is still a thorn in the Vita's side. The cost differences are also evident, and further exasperated by the hostile environment.
But additional support is on the way for both parties. A build up of forces around Los Angeles is culminating into a mighty clash which may well be one of the most important battles of this war:
E3 is upon us.
Sony has already made proclamations of an incredible force, and undoubtedly much of this will be resourced to the handheld fronts; Especially the West. Big name guns such as CoD, Little Big Planet, Killzone, Bioshock and potentially more are expected to bolster the currently frail Vita force. In this, however, Sony is not alone.
While many are expecting Nintendo to be to preoccupied preparing the Crown Prince WiiU for the home console war, those who are may be grossly underestimating Nintendo's resources and diplomatic capabilities. Nintendo has also made bold boasts of Strong support for its Western front, including local forces, and also has many forces to spare along the Japanese front that will no doubt greatly aid their cause here, such as Animal Crossing, Monster Hunter and Fire Emblem, to name a few.
But what could be the most damaging to the Vita's already disadvantages position is a wild card that should come as no surprise yet few seem to be expecting:
CoD is by no means an exclusive Game, and could well be found within the 3ds's ranks as well.
A Mercenary who could benefit from drawn out conflict
The idea that they would side with only one group is one of ignorance of the forces and situation involved. After all, CoD is no loyal General; but a grizzly, hardened group of Mercenaries. And if they are going to support both sides, it is hard for this scout to imagine this support being too uneven. This could result in a similar standing for both forces in regards to CoD. One need only look at the Home Console American front to see how this situation could potentially play out: Yearly, the cheaper system with the higher install base allows CoD to perform better, which in turn drives up that console's status. Should CoD be a supporter of both sides, it could bode ill for the Vita
My assessment: The Western front hinges on many unknowns, and the war may well heat into a long drawn out affair up or be prematurely decided at the upcoming major battle of e3.
So, what does this all mean? Will Nintendo and its 3ds army slaughter the Vita on all fronts?
No. Not in the slightest. Nintendo knows this. Sony knows this. And neither are working towards total destruction or capitulation of the other.
Are they competing? Absolutely. Will exclusives, sales and marketing position be battled over? Yes. But this is hardly a winner take all slug fest. And I believe no one knows this better than Sony, as they have taken steps to assure their standing within the market but otherwise done little else(Not necessarily to avoid conflict, but perhaps simply because they know they can get by with a slow and steady approach.). They aren't out to crush Nintendo. They are simply fighting over some common ground. Over a piece of a pie that is more than big enough.
Okay, this image is too dramatic. But it is as good as I could get, so bear with me.
Sure, both sides would take it all if they could. But the risks of attempting this are to high, and neither side could afford to lose. This is no war: it's a border skirmish. A fancy show of power between two Mega Houses. And while their may be a "winner", at the end of the day, I find it hard to believe there will be a "Loser".
For while Front line combat analogies may well suit the topic of discussion, that's were the similarities between this conflict and true battles end. After all, these two companies make Games: Not War.
Final Overall Assessment:
The Vita's slow start is just that; a slow start. Even if it never catches up to its rival, I find it hard to believe that it will outright fail. If the Vita follows in its predecessors footsteps, expect to be blown away within the next couple of years.