Are Developers and Publishers Ignoring the Vita’s Potential in Favor of Wii U?

“We’re going to wait and see.” That’s been a common response that I’ve run into whenever the name PlayStation Vita comes up in conversation with anyone outside of Sony. Is it good business sense? Sure, whenever you’re talking about new hardware you always run the risk of things not working out as planned, and for that very reason third party developers can’t always justify jumping in blindly based on Sony’s good graces.

On the other hand though, why are those same developers already banking on “innovative” Wii U ideas with little, but more often zero, mention of the Vita?

I’ll admit, like the others in attendance I too was initially impressed by Nintendo’s showing as I sat in the Nokia Theater during E3 last year. Also, like everyone else, the purpose of the device was –for the most part — demystified when I saw that the Vita could handle pretty much all (if not more) of the same applications and uses.

Since then I’ve wondered how these new toys would be put to use by all of the third party developers or if they would cater to one over the other. From the looks of it so far that’s exactly what’s starting to happen.

Are Developers and Publishers Ignoring the Vita's Potential in Favor of Wii U?

Now this isn’t meant to stir up gloom and doom talk for the Vita — as matter of fact I happen to be a huge advocate  of the handheld in case you couldn’t tell — but two major  publishers have already overlooked the handheld in favor of the Wii U. The first is THQ, which, during Nintendo’s E3 presentation last year, emphasized the use of the Wii U’s “unique” play experience in Darksiders II.

THQ Executive VP Danny Bilson never got into details during Nintendo’s core game montage but some afterwards in an interview with GameInformer, Vigil Games Technical Director Colin Bonstead did, citing “with its controller, [the Wii U version of Darksiders II] might be the best version of the game.”

With that said, one cannot overlook the fact that the game is launching this summer and there hasn’t been a peep (and there probably won’t be) about any second screen functionality coming to the readily available Vita.

Another publisher who’s riding the Wii U gravy train is Ubisoft. At the Nintendo booth at E3 last year, attendees had the chance to get some time with a Wii U Ghost Recon tech demo showing off the new controller’s second screen functionality. In less than 60 days, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will be out on the HD consoles, and have we heard about any additional functionality besides it being “better with Kinect”? Nope.

Are Developers and Publishers Ignoring the Vita's Potential in Favor of Wii U?

Assassin’s Creed III is another Ubisoft game receiving tons of press as of late. What’s more interesting is the recent list of Wii U-specific features revealed in this month’s Nintendo Power, which include persistent map, navigation tools and touchscreen controlled animus notifications. When skimming down the list of extras, not one item stands out as something that can’t be done on the Vita, and this is where the problem lies.

I’m not trying to go on some pro-Vita crusade here, but there is terrible hypocrisy in this whole “wait and see” mentality from third party publishers. The Vita is something that is readily available to consumers, with developer kits being out for over a year. The Wii U doesn’t even have a release date yet.

We can’t say that all developers are ignoring its potential, as some — when talking about the PS3 and Vita combination — have said “You can do everything with that combo that you can with the Wii U, and more.” But if there are folks who believe in the functionality, why aren’t we seeing or hearing anything about it outside of Sony’s walls?

Are Developers and Publishers Ignoring the Vita's Potential in Favor of Wii U?

I understand the reality that being a Nintendo console alone will help the Wii U capture the same magic as its predecessor. It is to sell units hand over fist. The question is: will it sell to the gamer who is looking to play games like Darksiders II, Ghost Recon, or Assassin’s Creed III on a Wii U and, if not, why are developers and publishers going the extra mile for hardware that hasn’t proven itself?

We’re still a few months away from E3 2012, where I hope this issue will be put to rest. Judging from what I’m seeing so far though, I won’t be holding my breath until then.

Join the Discussion

  • your pretending like this is different from any other system

  • The Wii U is about 5 years to late to the HD party and no tablet controller is going to make me want to re-buy old games or switch to the Wii U. I love my PS3, 360 and 3G Vita, until I see actual NEX-GEN hardware from either Sony or Microsoft I will continue to play the systems I already have. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my Wii in 2007 but when a friend brought his PS3 over I was amazed and quickly plopped down $545 for one too. If the Wii U can’t make my PS3&360 look pathetically under power in the same way then whats the point? Because it has a tablet controller? I don’t think so! I willing to bet that 75% of the Wii U’s third party content will be rehashed PS3 and 360 games with some extra tablet waggleness. Furthermore the Wii U will be under power compared to Sony and Microsoft nexgen hardware and will not be able to handle any of the real nexgen third party games that are on the PS4 or nex-X, just like the Wii this gen.  

    • Suhi

       you really are a dumbass lol.. you have spent $900 for products that dont opperate as advertised…  many faults with vita 3g already and lets not get started on the robbery sony did with the features of the ps3.  there will be many new games coming out for wii u also…  they are building a game library so people dont complain that there are no games for it…  bet you didnt know that ms and sony wont allow purchase of used games for “next gen consoles” sr smarty pants

      • Build a game library is a good thing & very easy thing…dreaming when it will com true.Like ps vita no 3rd part dev will come to make games for it..ok dumbass

  • QuoteForTruth

    I hope the Wii U fails. Because it’s an insult to true gamers.

    Nintendo is pure garbage these days and it’s funny how game developers are being infected by their half-assed hardware. Perfect example: Nintendo 3DS.

    • Well said…no hardcore gamers will go to buy wii u if they wont release HD games…epic fail.

      • considering it’s getting 1080p versions of games, your comment fails.

  • john mercado

    the vita releases are so slow i got uncharted ,UMVC3 and shinobido already finish …now waiting for gravity rush is 2 month of waiting,then wait again until Persona 4 and Lord of apocalypse get dated andconfirm to USA

  • Anonymous

    I think an important thing to consider is that while you COULD get the same functionality, you KNOW going in that a Wii-U user is going to have one of those tablet controllers standard; PS3 users, however, may not all have VITAs (I certainly don’t). So making these design choices for Wii-U lets you look at it as a standard piece of functionality, rather than an optional one. Maybe if the VITA winds up having more numbers over time they’ll bother, but right now you’re asking “How come developers are focusing on the machine where they KNOW owners will have both halves/devices, instead of the one where they MIGHT?” It’s not hypocritical at all. It’s common sense.

  • charts seem similar. 

  • Can wii u run hd games like AC3, Farcry, NFS without WII box? if not then waste of money & time…