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Why did the PS Vita TV launch in Japan first?
Why did the PS Vita TV launch in Japan first?
December 3, 2013 | By Mike Rose

December 3, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

"This may sound slightly counter-intuitive, but we wanted to launch in Japan first because I feel there really hasn't been a critical driver or device that's driven the adoption of streaming content overall."
- Sony Computer Entertainment head Andrew House explains why the PS Vita TV launched in Japan first.

Sony announced the PS Vita TV earlier this year, a small portable device that can connect to a television and send its handheld games to TVs. The company chose to launch the device in Japan, with plans to release in the West at a later date.

Now House has told Eurogamer that the idea behind the Japan-first launch was to attempt to control the content streaming market in the country.

"It's still very much in a nascent stage in Japan compared to some of the markets in Europe or the U.S.," he noted. "We felt there was therefore an opportunity to leverage the strengths of PlayStation Vita, which as you know is quite strong in Japan in terms of game line-up, but combine that with the features of a media streaming box, and offer something packaged newly for the Japanese consumer and possibly be at the forefront of creating a new market via that device."

When it comes to launching the PS Vita TV in the U.S. and Europe, House reasons that streaming services like Roku and Apple TV are already in full bloom, and therefore it will be "a different road to market" over here.

"It's a very different landscape when you look at the US and Europe," he added. "Much greater establishment of streaming video services, and much greater understanding of what that concept's all about."

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Jarod Smiley
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Yeah, but an alternative to Apple TV/Roku with a gaming focus is still not a bad idea I don't think. $100 streaming box with Gaikia and PS1/PS2/PSP/Vita games is an impulse buy for me, especially when I can stream PS4 titles to it.

Ben Rice
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I don't care about "streaming services like Roku and Apple TV". You're right -- everything can do netflix and hulu. I want to stream my PS4!

Kujel s
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I can already stream movies and music on many other devices why would I want to do so on this box? I can't see a single reason to waste moeny on such a device.

Holden Link
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I still know a ton of people who only stream Netflix on their iPads or laptops, and a few of them have suggested that they wouldn't buy a Roku or Apple TV because "it's just a different way to do the stuff I already do."

Vita TV might hit a sweet spot with some segment of the market, where it's the cheapest streaming box that offers something new to the consumer (console games).

SD Marlow
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I understand why it's called the "TV" in Japan, but since that won't be it's primary use here in the States, I'd like to see them brand it as the PS Vita Play, with a nifty "Play it Forward" tag line (with "4" being a subtle reference to it's PS4 connectivity). In a not so subtle way, they should even re-shape the case so it looks like a fragment or scaled-down version of the PS4 case.

What I have not heard is if this new device will remove or downplay the touch interface for the Vita that Sony kind of pushes dev's to include (even in ports of non-touch interface games).

Joe Zachery
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Let's not be stupid here even though they are claiming they created this as a streaming device. It's pretty much a console version of the portable Vita. It launched in Japan because of hardware, and software performance overall of the Vita. They figure they could really see how much interest there is for that device overall. As we saw the Vita TV didn't take over there at all. Japan wants portable consoles, and not home consoles. Them bringing it over here as a Vita gaming device is laughable. Since one one has bought the Vita or it's software in the West. Worst than the current device bomb the Wii U. So if people are going to buy it here it more about streaming PS+ games, or PS4 content. How would they even market it here to begin with. Here is a new device for you to play all those games you weren't buying anyway at home?