Hey there folks, and welcome to another edition of Knockout, where two of our writers go head-to-head on wrestling it out in the Arcade ring.
This week, writers Eoin and Adam are entering the ring, in an all out gamer royale with the PS Vita taking on the 3DS. Who comes out on top? You decide!
SONY’S PS VITA
So first things first; the 3DS and Vita are completely different worlds. The 3DS is a handheld with games built for the platform. The Vita is one with games built for emulating experiences you have on larger platforms. I myself appreciate the latter as the more powerful hardware and familiar controls make Sony’s handheld a great place for indie games. There are of course obvious ports of larger games like Mortal Kombat 9, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Metal Gear Solid 3 HD, that while graphically inferior to the console versions, are still viable ways to play them. These arguments on software titles pale in comparison to the biggest problem I have with the 3DS; Nintendo. I’ve been at odds with Nintendo over their anti-consumer methods for some time. Let’s take a few examples:
- In 2011, the 3DS was receiving a price-drop due to lower than expected sales. They opened an Ambassador Program to those who bought a 3DS before the price drop and gave said-ambassadors a selection of free Virtual Console Game Boy Advance games such as Metroid Fusion and Warioland 4. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Well it is if you were someone who purchased a 3DS at the time. Cut to five years later and these games are still unavailable for purchase to those who bought one after the price drop. Now the only place people can legally get their Game Boy Advance action on is the Wii-U, a completely different, home console version of a portable game. It’s easy to understand Nintendo’s commitment to release those games exclusively to the ambassadors. However, being five years since the program’s announcement, it’s a little harder to forgive when you’re a fan willing to pay to play them on your 3DS but are limited to a console you have no desire to own.
- Last year Nintendo announced that SNES games would be coming exclusively to the New Nintendo 3DS. It’s presumed the older generations of 3DS systems simply couldn’t hack the needed performance to run SNES games, but personally I don’t buy it. Considering the 3DS can run fully polygonal games with optional 3D, the presumed lack of technical prowess in the original 3DS is a complete fallacy. It more felt like a move to make their current user base want to upgrade to the newer systems and that’s a cheap one by any standard.
- If you’re an owner of a New Nintendo 3DS, your purchases do not carry over should you decide to play your SNES games on a Wii-U. The lack of cross-buy means you have to purchase the same game twice if you wish to play it on your TV. This is only compounded by the lack of cross-save, making the purchase of both versions even more pointless.
Sony on the other hand do a phenomenal job of enticing people into their ecosystem. You can purchase Helldivers for your PS4 and be granted copies for PS3 and Vita for no charge. Your progress carries through all versions and you can even play multiplayer with those other platforms. Any indie games that release on PS4 that have Vita versions typically launch cross-buy and cross-save, allowing you to take your progress on the go. You even can remotely play PS4 games from your Vita via a video feed through your WiFi or the PS4 directly. Where Nintendo simply lacks any form of decent connectivity between their systems, Sony excels in that regard. They push to make their platforms open where Nintendo seems to rely on hobbling that sense of openness by forcing customers to buy hardware they might not want just so they can legally purchase and play games that could potentially run on the system they already own. And that really hurts the 3DS in that regard. Why would I want to buy a 3DS for Virtual Console if the library when there is no universal option to play all of those games on?
Maybe I’m just a stickler for anti-consumer companies that force the kind of things Nintendo do with their handheld. I’ve been equal parts a Sony fan as I am a Nintendo one, but the Vita just offers more for the person looking to take indie games, remasters and the occasional PSOne on the go. And I’m just that kind of person.
First revealed to the mass audience at E3 in 2010, the Nintendo 3DS was a console that strived to push boundaries. Implementing 3D gaming for the first time without the need of any special eye-wear or external devices. The 3DS allowed games to experience a whole new dimension of gaming.
But what sets the handheld apart from other handhelds on the market? Let’s start with the range of games. Of course all handheld consoles on the market have an incredibly diverse range of games available. Nintendo games tend to focus on the connectivity between gamers. Games like Animal Crossing, and Pokemon rely on gamers interacting over internet and in person in order to enhance the gamer’s experience. While other interactive apps like Miiverse or the Streetpass functionality really encourage people to take their Nintendo 3DS with them on the go in order to meet other gamers, and unlock special rewards.
Over 29,000 places around the world are Nintendo Zone approved, providing free Wi-Fi access for anyone using their 3DS. So for gamers that like to travel, they are never too far from some free internet access.
The console’s built in mic even allows gamers to interact while engaging in activities such as Wi-Fi Pokemon battles for example. Connecting people with shared gaming interests from all around the world.
The device itself features some nifty additions. The built in cameras allow users to capture moments in 3D. While stop-motion 3D videos can also be filmed up to a length of 10 minutes. The 3DS can also play music and record audio using an SD card. It is these sort of features that really allow the Nintendo 3DS to become more of a media centre, than just a device for gaming. Allowing people to use the device in a way that compliments their own lifestyle and interests.
But do all of these really make the Nintendo 3DS the superior console? While the PS Vita may have the edge on graphics and some popular gaming franchises in it’s lineup. The 3DS can be seen as more of a family friendly option. A console that takes the focus off one individual playing a game, and puts the focus on connecting with others. Games like Mario Kart 7 and Pokemon lead to endless hours of fun as friends race or battle. While the Street Pass and Nintendo Zone allow gamers to be constantly connect with new people.
So share with us in the comments, what kind of gamer are you? Is the Nintendo 3DS your console of choice, or does the PS Vita hold the crown? Let us know in the comments!