A History in Battle
There’s a lot of history in this pairing. The battle of 3DS and Vita; of Nintendo and Sony hand-helds. It goes back close to ten years. Back to 2004 and the initial release of the PSP.
There was a lot of hype behind the PSP and it managed to deliver on that hype, initially. Selling well enough in Japan, North America and Europe to be called a resounding success, the PSP – A hand-held 3D powerhouse of the likes we’d never seen before – looked fit to win out against the DS. The sales were great, the concept was great.
The DS was nothing to scoff at either, sporting two screens and touch-screen capability, it went a different direction from the PSP. The DS had the PSP blown out of the water before it even got in. Selling out completely in Japan, close to it in North America and successfully in Europe, it was already a revolution in hand-held gaming.
The DS managed to hold on to its momentum and become the second-best selling gaming device of all time. The PSP did manage to pick up sales and sell a hefty amount of units, but it was never quite considered a success by consumers despite selling more units than both the PS3 and Xbox 360.
A New Generation to Take Up Arms
Taking on a similar form to the battle of the DS and PSP, the 3DS released prior to the Vita armed with non-glasses 3D. It didn’t quite manage to springboard off of the success of the DS, but due to the late release of the Vita it had plenty of time for damage control. A few months after release, the 3DS saw a drop in price and Ambassador Titles at the expense of Satoru Iwata’s wages. Following the price cut, the sales of the 3DS picked up a lot and it was considered a success.
Sony also stepped up their game, increasing the power of the Vita, adding a touch-screen and a long-awaited second analogue stick, it was – for a time – looking like the perfect handheld device. Releasing almost a year after the 3DS, the Vita had a lot of catching up to do. Many problems littered its launch. The ‘lacking’ library. The cost of memory. The console’s price. The Vita didn’t quite see the sales it was looking for and – following its predecessor; the PSP – was considered a failure by consumers. Touted as having no games, it never had much of a chance – especially with Sony backing it half-heartedly.
I’ve always been interesting in comparing these consoles. I have both and have played both around the same amount of time, but is there really such a big difference in the size of the libraries?
Month-By-Month 3DS vs Vita comparison
Firstly, as a note, I left out Digital 3DS titles due to there being very little focus on them from Nintendo. DS, PSP, PS1, PSM and Minis have been left out to keep the numbers as ‘pure’ – developed for the console in question – as possible. I have an interest to go back and do this again, but this time including 3DS Digital titles. The problem with doing so is the abundance of shovelware and puzzle games on the 3DS Store which would greatly skew the numbers in the 3DS‘ favour (by over 100 games).
Make of this what you will. What I glean from this chart is that the 3DS isn’t quite so far ahead of the Vita in terms of library. Nintendo has an incredibly loyal fan-base, a great marketing campaign and were smart enough to make a price drop when the 3DS wasn’t selling. Sony have incredibly loyal fans – for home consoles, a focus on digital content without marketing it and have yet to drop the price of the console or, more importantly, the price of memory to further encourage users to buy digitally.
If you’ve come here asking the question; “should I buy a 3DS or Vita?”
Well, I really can’t answer that for you. There are many benefits to both consoles and the only way to choose is to do your own research. They both have strong libraries and are a pleasure to own, but they also have their cons. But whatever console you choose, make sure you keep an open mind and don’t just trash the other because it’s not the one you bought.