The untimely death of Okami…

The original Okami was released back in 2005 just at the time when the PS2 was running out of steam and gamers were looking to move on to the next generation.  The timing of the release played an important part to the success of this game.  Commercially it failed and did not sell many copies around 600,000 both on Wii and PS2.

Critically, it was adored by all and remains a game with both iconic and cult status.  Most critics at the time rated it higher than Zelda: Twilight Princess.   I played this game from start to finish and it is one of the finest Action/Adventure games I have ever played.  Okami was not a commercial success and this forced the closure of Cloverfield studios.

Okami was later converted to the Wii by Capcom.  It kind of made sense as the paint brush mechanic would work well with the Wii remote and the demographic would run out and buy this game.  The Wii version enjoyed little success partly due to a quiet launch with no marketing campaign to back it up and partly it was lost on a casual audience who were content with Wii Sports, MarioKart and Wii Fit.

Not having learned their lesson with their past two failures; Capcom tried their luck with the Nintendo DS.  This was in development for roughly two years and again was released with little fan fare or marketing hype.  Secondly, to kill Okamiden’s chances of success even further the timing was completely off as the Nintendo 3DS was released a week later back in March 2011.  Granted that there are millions and millions of DS’s out there, together with 3DS being backwards compatible with the DS the timing was way off.  Maybe they should have held back and released a 3DS edition instead, we all know that the 3DS is starved of quality games at the moment and Okami would have shone brighter than others.

I feel sorry for Okami as the art direction, originality and gameplay mechanics should be experienced by all gamers.  Maybe a 3DS version would prove successful?

PSP Vita to be releases in Japan 2011 (why not)?

Back in early June 2011 at E3 Sony announced details for the PS Vita.  This is Sony’s successor to the original PSP introduced in 2005.  It boasts a 3 cell processor (similar to the PS3 which has 7), touch screen interface, 5inch screen, touch sensitive back panel and also, including the all important second analog stick.  Sony further announced that the PS Vita would be released in Japan December 2011.

This sounds daft to me.  Why you may ask?  At this current moment in time the PSP console is selling extremely well in Japan due to the many iterations of Monster Hunter which allows co-operative local play for up to four players.  The co-op feature is heavily used in Japan where gaming is more socially acceptable and played in public places such as Cafes.  The PSP, in Japan anyway, is in the best shape it has ever been where it is currently outselling the Nintendo 3DS and is constantly top of the hardware charts list in recent months.

Games that appeal to the Japanese hardcore such as Gundam, Arcane Slayer, Tactics Ogre, Dynasty Warriors and Final Fantasy Dissidia show that there is still a market for Japanese centric games which the PS3, 3DS and Wii are currently lacking.

Therefore, my suggestion to Sony would be to release in the US markets first then Europe where the original PSP is experiencing a downturn due to lack of developer support both first party and third party.  Secondly, consumer interest has peaked and the PSP is looking worse for wear as it is being superseded by newer technology such as mobile devices, tablets and of course the 3DS.

I think the Japanese market still has another year to run for the original PSP.  The PS Vita could suffer a similar fate to the PS3 whereas it was introduced too early and harmed its sales as the PS2 was still selling in high numbers.

Sony E3 2010

In my eyes Sony’s E3 2010 press conference came second after Nintendo. They showed a vast array of game titles covering all types of genres and appealing to all demographics. This has always been a strong point for Sony.

In my eyes Sony’s E3 2010 press conference came second after Nintendo. They showed a vast array of game titles covering all types of genres and appealing to all demographics. This has always been a strong point for Sony.

I think the change that we are seeing from Sony is that like Nintendo they too are moving towards producing more first party titles as evident from the below.

One thing you won’t get away from is 3D with glasses or without. I believe playing certain games such as Killzone 3D or Gran Turismo 5 3D will enhance the experience and immersing you even more in the environments. From the keynote I thought Killzone 3 is shaping up to be something special and judging by the last public demo of Gran Turismo 5 you can tell it is taking shape and I hope it is worth the wait as it is still my racer of choice.

I wasn’t too impressed with Infamous 2 and never enjoyed the first game. However, LittleBigPlanet 2 looks all the more important with its new level of creativity taken to the extreme and covering a wide variety of genres. This could become it’s own ‘mini APP’ outlet.

EA seemed to be in cahoots with Sony as of late and announced exclusive content only for PS3 such as Dead Space 2, Medal of Honor and Mafia 2. This is overall good news for Sony given that Activision have favoured the XBOX.

Sony also, showed off their Move controller. Seeing some of the demos such as Sorcery, Tiger Woods 11 and Socom confrontation I can see this working well on traditional games as well as the frivolous party games that will inevitably ensue.

Kevin Butler also made a grand speech claiming that all gamers were important and that the casual and hardcore games could co-exist which is the overall message that Sony is trying to portray.

The oddity of no new PSP is a puzzling one but I suspect Sony wanted to sit back and wait to see what Nintendo offered. They have falsely backed a dying 5 year old PSP console for the next 6 months. Although, the PSP is selling well in Japan I am sure that these sales will pan down with no new Monster Hunter or Metal Gear for the remaining 6 months. I am looking forward to Patapon 3 and God of War: Ghost of Sparta which is due to be a last hurrah for the current gen PSP.

Sony also, showed off the Playstation Plus a new subscription service which will give you exclusive demos, free games and other benefits. Package looks good so far and the fact they have taken a different route to XBOX Live bodes well to add a differentiator in the services offered to gamers overall.

All in all Sony made a stable and impressive showing.