Currently Sony and Nintendo play well together in their handheld market sandbox but that could change as younger demographics and strong mobile competition force them to a confrontation.
The PS Vita and the 3ds are two very different handheld beasts: I would summarise Nintendo's approach with its line-up and device build as more ‘casual friendly’, for customers who don’t want or need cutting edge graphics and high end features. The PS Vita on the other hand is for those who do, and demand an experience as close to their home console as can possibly be delivered. The natural divide is something the Chief Executive of Playstation Europe Jim Ryan believes in as well
"I think the gaming offerings (of 3DS and Vita) are so different right now that I think there's plenty of space for both systems to live side by side quite happily"
Here's the problem though: Both companies are facing intense pressure from the mobile and tablet market. Android and iOS gaming is growing at an impressive rate, and more importantly the demographics of those playing are increasingly getting younger.
"I think over time that the PlayStation Vita will - like all consoles to - skew to a younger demographic, so there will be some collision there".
'Some Collision' might be an understatement: If the current mobile market continues to make inroads into handheld profits as it has done so already, Nintendo and Sony will be left fighting over whatever interest remains in their sandbox, and trying to grab the attention of a new generation of gamers brought up on a diet of Tablet and Mobile gaming.
Douglas Stewart is a staff writer at iQU. When he is not writing, he devours books, plays an excessive amount of games, and is working on his upcoming fiction novel that (naturally) involves intersections between technology, gaming and society. Follow Douglas @TheGearCog