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PS Vita sells 1.8M units worldwide, software 'must be strengthened' admits Sony CEO
PS Vita sells 1.8M units worldwide, software 'must be strengthened' admits Sony CEO
May 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose

May 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    18 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Sony sold 1.8 million PS Vitas during the last fiscal year ended March 31, the company said today, while it projects that it will sell a further 10 million Vitas during the current fiscal year.

As part of the company's 2011 fiscal year end earnings call, Sony president and CEO Kaz Hirai explained, "The last year [ended March 31], 1.8 million units for US, Japan, Asia and Europe [were sold]. And as a starting phase, I think it was a good start."

The company previously said that the handheld had sold 1.2 million units worldwide by the end of February, meaning that it sold 600,000 units worldwide during March.

Hirai continued, "For a game platform, like Vita, the software is the key to success -- how good the software is, that is the key to business success. We have to reinforce the software area in order to improve the business, that is the basic line."

"Vis-a-vis Vita, at this moment, there is no decline or lack of motivation as a portable platform," he added. "This is a very important product indeed for us, and therefore we still have a very high motivation to develop this further. There is no change."

He reiterated, "Software and services must be strengthened. In other words, the collaborative approach is very important, so is third-party. And from first-party studios, the titles will be presented one after the other, so please look at them and give your evaluation based on them."

The PS Vita has seen lukewarm sales worldwide, while Nintendo's popular 3DS handheld outsells the system, and mobile game sales continue to rise. Japanese sales of Sony's handheld have been especially poor, dropping to just over 10,000 a week even during Japan's Golden Week holiday period.

The company's financial results stated that the PSP and PS Vita will sell 16.0 million hardware units combined during the current fiscal year. When asked by an investor whether 10 million of this total will be the PS Vita, Hirai answered, "The volume is as you imagine."


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Comments


Benjamin Quintero
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Must admit, I am looking at the VITA and I want to buy one. But at the high price point and poor software support (which are also at high price point), the system is a tough sell for me. I am hopeful that Sony doesn't turn this into yet another port-box like the PSP was for a long time. VITA needs to be a source of inspiration, not a place to dump retro-fitted games.

VITA has an opportunity to make cool games and maybe even push those games onto a big screen. There is potential for an audience of people who would play that same game on the go as well as home. I hope that Sony does the right thing here and encourages developers to push the boundaries. Just making iPhone-like games to lure the casual gamers is not going to move the needle...

Camilo R
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This is pretty much my stance, I like the device, I just need an excuse to buy it and it's not quite there yet.

Andrew Chen
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Benjamin I think we can be confident that Sony is doing plenty of encouraging of developers but I think they would rather see a strong move by the company to move units.
Maybe Sony has a killer E3 planned...but even so, any cool software introduced would likely be coming out in fall and winter.
I agree with your assessment, the value proposition is not there right now and I am afraid it may still not be there even at $200 if the software support doesn't shape up!

Ujn Hunter
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Lack of software and price are the problem. Well, part of the problem. The fact that Sony seems to have created a PSP with unnecessary Touch & Waggle controls and wants it to do the things my phone already does is misguided.

Eric Ruck
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The painful part for me is that, hardware wise, this is the answer to "why would I want a portable gaming device when I already have a phone and a tablet". The 3DS is definitely not that answer. But it desperately needs the software. Back in the Lynx days the painful wait of a month or two for a game that might or might not be worth buying did not help to support the success of the system, and that's what we're getting into here. I'm very much looking forward to Resistance and Gravity Rush, but there should be a good half dozen titles that pique my interest, as well as a reassuring release back log.

That said, I think a strong XBLA-like indy program will go far.

Joseph Anthony B. A. Tanimowo-Reyes
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You mean like PS Suite, which already exists?

Eric Ruck
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@Joseph Yes...I mean, it exists, but they need to keep it strong, and give indies support, sales opportunities, etc. It needs to develop into more than lip service.

Andrew Chen
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As much as I would love to see a strong indie development sprout up, I just can't see how it would be feasible. Based on its specs and price the Vita is targeting core gamers who expect a high production level in their games. The simple (and more cheaply developed) fare that has nourished mobile platforms doesn't seem like a good match for this segment.
Of course some indies are capable of putting out some really high quality offerings but the time, the cost and the risk for this smaller market just doesn't seem like a good gamble.
Really hope the Vita can find its stride by this fall...

Haixu Chen
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Consumers nowadays have a lot of choices, some of them are already part of their daily "tech" needs, e.g. smart phones, and perhaps tablets. So where does Vita fit? Perhaps it can be left at Home? - but how will it compete with the bigger consoles, or that venerable desktop, or even that chunky TV in the living room? Then there's the price point.. If Sony is targeting Vita at a very specific group of hardcore gamers, I think they are asking for trouble. Even those who own Vita now, how long will they keep on playing it? Sony really needs to think what exactly is Vita to them, why Vita in the first place?

Andrew Chen
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Well said. I feel like Vita represents Sony's mobile platform play that leverages perhaps it's strongest modern branding...but it feels kind of more like a vanity play than a coherent strategy. Kind of like them saying "look how we hung in and succeeded with PSP, watch this time we can overtake the new DS...oh and look at this mobile-like functionality who wouldn't want that?"
It seems typical of today's Sony Corp., flashing their impressive engineering abilities while co-opting competitor functionality but what they end up creating is not equal to the sum of its parts.

Mike Motschy
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There are only certain types of games you can play on your cellphone. I will probably get a Vita as soon as some nice 2D games come out for it.

Nicholas Ulring
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My phone is the Xperia Play. I love it. If they release a Xperia Play Vita. Then i will be interested.

Kyle Bue
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The problem I have with the thing is that it's kinda marketed as a portable console, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I always preferred Nintendo handhelds because they had games that were built specifically for that system and had unique experiences because of that. Pokemon, Zelda, Mario, and a huge amount of third party games had very unique experiences that set them apart from their console counterparts. But that's just me.

Chris Melby
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Same here for the most part and it's the reason I'm buying a Wii U when it's released.

To ramble a bit, one of the reasons I never bothered with a PS3 or XBox, is that a majority of the games they offered were games I absolutely prefer playing on my PC. Only Nintendo offered something truly unique on a large scale, where as the other consoles, it's generally one or two titles that are basically watered down clones of PC games.

I use my 3DS weekly and it goes with me on long trips. I also own several iOS and Android devices, along with a PlayBook. They have their niche of things I like about them outside of development, but when it comes down to it, they simply do not offer what the 3DS does ( And of course what a Vita can. ) -- well, my Asus Transformer does via a USB gamepad and ... , but still, it's not really the same.

will capellaro
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I can recommend the Vita, I bought in early on and I regret nothing. It's not that complicated folks.

Joe kennedy
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PSVita didn't save Zipper and it won't save SONY's overall profitable margins.
They should focus all their strategies in getting a good solid PS4 launch with better evergreen of game releases; preferably before MS launch theirs.

These numbers are as effective or equal to giving a whale a tic tac.

Geoff Yates
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Have to say with a little sadness that I agree with this comment.

Sony should just get out of the handheld and mobile phone market. Focus on where you can make a difference and I think PS4 if executed correctly achieve that goal. Smart TVs is another avenue.

Problem is Sony is burning cash and in today's commercial environment it could spell disaster. Companies need to nimble regardless of size and make tough decisions. Just cut it loose. Good idea (Vita) but the world is shifting its priorities in the hand held mobile gaming market its iOS, 3DS and Android. Too many players already and I'll be even more bold Nintendo were just plain lucky that the 3DS has hit its straps. The price drop was its last trump card. Nintendo will need something special on the next iteration.

Its not that these dedicated consoles aren't great pieces of tech wizardry its just companies developing for the platforms which will return the most.

LOL it wasn't meant to be a rant but maybe just glimmer of passion for a company I think has contributed so much to gaming it would be shame to see them fall by the wayside like SEGA or Atari.

Andrew Chen
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Christian that is a terrific question and if you have a terrific answer you can be a very well paid consultant. :)
Since I doubt rolling over and dying is one of the multiple choice options, I think Sony needs to look at the next wave of popular consumer electronics and attack it with a damn fine product. I actually think this category would be mobiles...someone needs to compete with Apple for this growing control of our digital consumption and Samsung just copies their stuff so I don't know if they can be the one. Googorola has a shot I guess but what I would find very compelling is one damn fine Sony phone and one damn fine Sony tablet (not what they are offering now) with full playstation backing and a heavily marketed sku that comes bundled with a nice controller.
They can then iterate from there and branch out with other devices that incorporate the controls, steal the Transformer idea, etc. and there is always Android compatibility to help sell it as well. Integrate all those things you do well individually and make it easy for consumers to decide.
It would be a hard choice and it sure as heck would not be as easy to build as my spitballin' might make it sound: Sony would be slaying diehard sacred cows and I am sure 3rd parties would not be happy having to compete with the low end and the free game products.
But it seems like the easy choices have not done much for them as of late and Apple, with all of its game executive hirings and controller r&d, sure is not slowing down.


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