Sony Lower Sales Forecast For PlayStation Vita And PSP

By Ishaan . November 1, 2012 . 12:17am

Earlier in the year, Sony said that they would sell 16 million units (worldwide) of the PSP and PlayStation Vita combined—split as 10 million Vitas and 6 million PSPs—by the end of their ongoing fiscal year, which ends on March 31st, 2013.

 

Then, in August, Sony revised that number down to 12 million units, without providing a new breakdown of how many sales they were expecting from each of the two devices individually.

 

Today, they announced yet another revision to the forecast for PSP and Vita. The two devices are now expected to sell 10 million units combined by March 31st, 2013.

 

Meanwhile, the sales forecast for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 remains unchanged at 16 million units sold this fiscal year.

 

Sales for Sony’s games division decreased 15.8% year-on-year for their second quarter (April – September), while operating income dropped by 23.8%. The company cites lower PSP and PlayStation 3 sales, lower software sales on both devices (relative to the year prior), as well as unfavourable currency exchange rates as the cause.


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  • Peeka Chu

    Just cut the price or add built in memory – 16 GB at least – already.  Sheesh.  I’d prefer a 7 inch model too, with a larger battery and proper app support (Google Play) so I can ditch my tablet too (which is already outdated, thanks iPad 4).  Neither handheld manufacturer wants to directly compete with smartdevices and by the time they ready a device that can, the market will be cemented.

    Edit: So what is that about 6 million Vitas by the fiscal year end? That is kind of awful. And Ishaan, is there a source article for this? I wouldn’t mind checking it out.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan
      • Peeka Chu

        Thank you.

    • sd28

      I believe that is a good start but they need to money hat a bunch of big sellers for the system along with a vita port incentive such as covering the costs for third party’s. 

      This along with a  relaunch of the whole system with both the memory built in and a umd attachment that allows players to play there umd games which would help boost the library as there are more games that don’t have a digital copy than those that do and the solution that they had for this isn’t working . 

  • http://twitter.com/AnthonyFoster5 Anthony Foster

    It would help if the system wasn’t priced higher then basically everyone was willing to pay. But they had the same problem with the PSP, and early on the PS3. Sony are really bad about prices.

    Also, it could use a revision already with video output, better audio jack placement (for using it as an MP3 player in your pocket) w/louder maximum audio output. And you still can’t backup saves of PSN titles without backing up the entire game last I checked.

    • Kevadu

      I hate all this whining about price.  Good hardware is expensive.  Deal with it.  I don’t feel like the Vita is overpriced at all for what you’re getting.  The 3DS, on the other hand…even after the price cut it still feels like too much for the ancient tech it’s running on.   A $35 Raspberry Pi can run circles around the 3DS.

      • http://twitter.com/AnthonyFoster5 Anthony Foster

        Everyone who understands how ANY market works knows that if you price it higher then the consumer is willing to pay, it’s too expensive. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most advanced piece of hardware in the world, if the consumer thinks its too expensive then it wont sell.

      • Peace Legacy

         I “liked” your comment.
        Then you jabs the 3DS
        “unlike” was the choice.

      • Nicky Tetlow

        Companies would be a million times better off if everyone had the “it’s expensive because of the expensive hardware” mentality. But unfortunately we live in a world where the majority of consumers are smart enough with their money.

      • sd28

        and nobody care because it has game they want to play on it far more than the vita 

        • sandra10

          Yeah, that’s definitely not true in my case. But Sony’s and Nintendo’s systems have always had different target audiences so it’s not surprise that their libraries are as different as they are. 

          • sd28

            and no one cares about your opinion because it is clearly not the same one held by the mass market hence the disappointing sales of the vita 

          • sandra10

            Well aren’t you the aggressive/insulting one today. But when you say “nobody care”, and I’m trying not to be a grammar nazi here but errrr, I take some offense because I’m definitely not nobody… neither are the 2-3 million other Vita owners. 

            However, I’m not interested in a mud slinging match with you even though you keep trying to pick a fight with users on this site. This is where I’d say “good day” but I’m not hopeful you have one. ;)

          • sd28

            look I am not trying to be aggressive or insulting here I am just stating the facts that the vita is doing terrible full stop and if I come off this way then i apologise.   I personally don’t care if you like the product or not since it doesn’t effect me or the sales of the product in question.  

            The only thing I care about in sales talk is a solution to a problem and an admittance to a problem both I have yet to see from Sony and from some of the vita fans . i have yet to see any real reason for development of games for the vita for company’s as the risk seems to far out way any reward and this doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon and with the the 3ds and smart phones gaining more strength it seems like it never will .

            in the end your free to enjoy what you bought and I am not trying to force my view point on you but 2-3 million owners is nothing to write home about when both the 3ds is doing far better and smart phones even better than the 3ds.

          • sandra10

            You’re not looking for solutions.

            You’re not promoting any sort of healthy discussions.

            Even on the Heroes of Ruin article, you just looked towards bashing the game instead of thinking of ways that n-Space could have been more successful. 

            Actions speak louder than words, and yours are contradictory.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5O266I6427AQIXPAP5ZQ5DK3GM Bob Meaty

    This company is absolutely tanking because they’re too stubborn to offer their products at reasonable prices. Normal people aren’t going to spend $300 on a handheld. If Sony wants to compete with Nintendo (and I think they’ve actually said they don’t want to lol), they need to give people a Vita and at least 16GB of memory for $200.

    • Suicunesol

      Sony is already selling at a loss. There’s a certain point when dropping the price any further wouldn’t be worth it. At this point, Vita is not ready for the price drop.

      I think Sony knows that the common man doesn’t make enough money to spend $300 on a handheld. At the moment, they’re targeting the top-tier gamers who are willing to shell out. Not the casuals (that’s Nintendo’s field). The tech is pretty cutting-edge, right? So of course it’s expensive. The price might even be reasonable for the hardware in question.

      If it’s too much money for you, just make more and save up just like any kid on the block.

      • Shogunreaper

        The Vita isn’t being sold at a loss.

        And its not like they aren’t making money off those ridiculously over priced memory cards either.

        • Suicunesol

          Oh that’s true! I completely forgot about the memory cards. :o

          I could swear I read somewhere that the Vita was being sold at a loss.

          • Stone Skull

            nah, they make about $50 each on them.. and probably a little bit more on the 3g models.. the manufacturing of the 3g models costs about $10-$15 more than the wifi ones..

      • malek86

        Maybe they know that, but I guess their targeting is still off, because they keep revising their projections down.

        Even if the price is reasonable for the hardware, there’s a point where people just won’t buy your stuff. They won’t think “it’s expensive, but it’s great value for what it offers!”. They’ll just think “it’s too expensive for me!”.

        The PS3 too arguably deserved $600 for all the tech it contained, but that didn’t help a bit.

        • Suicunesol

          I don’t know what’s up with companies and their estimated projections. Sony, Nintendo, Apple, etc. set up astronomically high goals for themselves. Maybe it’s to hype investors/developers? I don’t know. It’s hard for me to believe that Sony really thinks it will sell as many PSVs as it wants to (at this point in time).

          Yes, I agree with you about the price. However, I also think there’s a marketing issue too (as someone else pointed out in another post). Most of the gaming enthusiasts I know in real life didn’t know what a Playstation Vita was. And when I told them, they didn’t seem to be interested. I was really surprised.

      • Domii

        They haven’t confirm that they’re are selling at a loss, but they are definitely not making a huge cut either. The point is that you’re right. A price cut will hurt them more than it can help.

    • Fr33Kingdom

      They’re not really tanking…..they actually seem to be turning it around slowly. They still have a ways to go for the vita. I think they need to decide it’s place in the market, and then give it a marketing push.

      • Peeka Chu

        It needs to be a reasonably priced tablet competitor that offers all the perks of a tablet PLUS awesome physical controls and IPs that you can’t find on Google Play (along with all those that you can).

        Period. It won’t turn around until a model refresh. Bundling memory will be a good short term solution to staunch the bleeding, but not forever.

        Edit: And like you (above), I love my Vita. But its missing crucial features to be competitive in the market.

        • Domii

          That will be the worst thing they can actually do. The tablet market has been taken over by Apple, therefore it won’t be wise for Sony to put the Vita neck and neck with them yet again (remember those horrible Marcus ads?). They are already competing with Apple as of now, so getting even more in their way will definitely hurt them. What they need to do is keep this current advertising campaign alive and strong, Because the are actually positioning the Vita as console like “gaming” on the go. They are sticking with their bread and butter, which is great. 

          • Peeka Chu

            Sorry, that’s incorrect.

            http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/25/apples-q4-2012-ipad-sales-still-declining-down-17-6-percent-to-14-million/

            iPad sales are down, particularly under expectations regarding the iPad 3. That’s why they’re launching a mini and an iPad 4 with an iPad 5 rumoured for February/ March. Apple’s position in the market is slipping in the face of vicious competition from Google, Amazon and Samsung. Positioning the Vita as a decently specced tablet WITH physical controls gives them a UNIQUE product on the market that no other manufacturer currently provides – except for maybe Asus, but that thing is like $1000. The Wikipad was delayed and it doesn’t have anywhere near the DNA or backing that Sony will provide. 

            The standard Vita doesn’t have to go anywhere, it can still be offered as a low-end model. They aren’t competing with Apple right now, that’s the problem. They’re offering a gimped, half-arsed tablet that plays console quality games. Where’s the harm in covering both sides of the spectrum?  The Vita needs access to apps, services and the Android library to actually “compete” as you imply. 

            Edit: I’d also add that the mini and iPad 4 coming so soon after the “3″ will only fragment the market more. I think that they’ve lost the plot a bit since Jobs left for the great beyond.

          • Domii

            Interesting, although just because Ipad sales are currently on the decline, does not mean that they are not dominating the tablet market. Especially now that the Ipad mini is coming out. I think Sony has to stay with their current marketing push which is focusing on letting consumers see that this is a gaming monster first and a multimedia device second. Oh, read this interesting article I found; 

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/10/31/a-thought-experiment-why-apple-will-continue-to-dominate-tablets/

          • Peeka Chu

            It means that the market is becoming saturated, and Apple – who traditionally adhere to 1 to 1.5 year product refreshes – are pumping out new products in the hopes of reigniting demand. I don’t think that this strategy will work for them as their competitors are too aggressive  Just the other day I saw my first Kindle HD ad. I was totally “wtf”?  Its impossible for one company to remain top dog for too long. Sony is the perfect example of this.

            Also:

            http://www.zdnet.com/new-activation-numbers-show-android-tablets-catching-up-to-ipad-7000003898/

            That’s not including Kindles or Barnes & Noble or MS’ new Surface. There’s plenty of opportunity for growth in the Android tablet sector, if anything its explosive at the moment. I just think that Sony should hop on that train while its racing fast, and that the Vita (retooled) would be the perfect mechanism for that. There is currently no tablet in the Vita’s price range that offers physical controls and Sony’s library. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME.

            That’s all I’m saying :)

          • Domii

            I don’t know Peeka Chu. Apple has posted record breaking fiscal numbers, and their stocks are trading in a all-time high. I remember last semester I did a research paper for my business entrepreneur class on Apple. And I remember finding an article on Yahoo Finance analyzing Apple’s dominance on the tablet market. Do you know how much market share they had at the time? 70% according to Bloomberg. Sure that has change in the past months, but with the Apad mini coming out, I would stay away from anything related to tablets if I was Sony lol. Apple will most likely come down from grace, but in the mean time a struggling Sony should try to stay under their radar as much as possible. 

          • Peeka Chu

            Android tablets, should they continue to sell at their current rate will overtake iPads in less than 1.5 years. That’s going off market data, and probably will occur sooner if we get more disruptions from the manufacturers of Android devices.  Even the Nexus 7, which is only ONE brand in an ocean of Android tablet is selling 1 million/ month now. As far as the smartphone arena, Samsung alone with their S3 is outpacing any sales metrics that the iPhone ever has. Android as a whole occupies over 60% of the world’s market share. Apple was last pegged at 14-15% and shrinking. 

            That’s why we’re seeing the flurry of iOS devices this month. But I’m telling ya, I don’t think that will change the tide. The iPad’s greatest success was in being FIRST, not the best. And the competitors on the market today are not only fierce, but have immense amounts of holdings to combat Apple with.

            As someone who has carried a portfolio for over 20 years now, I can tell you that Apple stocks are due for a dip. They are absurdly overvalued.

          • Stone Skull

             And now there is a Windows 8 tablet added to the mix

      • sd28

        selling worse than the dream cast is tanking my friend

        • Domii

          I don’t know if you’re serious, but I lol. 

          • sd28

            i am serious thou i was talking about japan only 

          • Domii

            Oh I see.

  • Romangelo

    I’ll buy the Vita for $200, no more.

    • tubers

      with a free 4 GB card at least..

      (I missed Target’s 1 day sale last Sunday: 3G VITA+8 GB card = 180 USD).

  • http://twitter.com/chebuoi chebuoi

    Release a monster hunter and it will sell well

    • HassanJamal

      You tell that to Capcom.

    • sd28

      yeah on 3ds 

    • Stone Skull

       Sega could surprise us all with a mad Sonic game.. never know what could happen.. as one recent article was titled, the Vita is in a marathon, not a sprint. It’s still early days..

  • malek86

    Yeah, just yesterday I tried a rough calculation of their sales for the first half of the FY (using the Nintendo graphs from last week), and they were standing at 2,5 millions or so. I thought those projections were a bit too high. 10 millions seems a bit more feasible, especially with the PSP gaining sales in Europe for Xmas and the PSV seeing so many bundles with big-budget games.

    Not to say they’ll definitely make it, though. It will depend on the next two months. After all, even with bundles, the PSV is probably still too expensive.

    Oh well, at least the company is making slow steps toward recovery, it seems. Their divisions performed a little better this quarter – aside from games apparently.

    • Domii

      Pricing is without a doubt a concern. But history and today’s top tier products have shown us that if you market a nice piece of tech as the “next big thing” and penetrate the mainstream, $250 seems more than reasonable.

      In today’s market people are spending way over $300 for smartphones and tablets on a daily bases (ask Apple). It’s just that these companies specially Apple have penetrated so deep in to the mainstream that they can sell chocolate covered iPods and people will still rush to buy it. Even Samsung are doing miracles right now with how well they positioned the Galaxy S 3. Sony needs to focus first and foremost on strengthening their brand name once again, specially if they are still willing to sell their products at a high price.

      • malek86

        I’d argue that if people are more willing to spend money on smartphones because they see it as “theirs”. You know how it has your account, all your contacts, you use it as a phone too, and etc. Essentially a smartphone is seen as your personal device, whivh you always bring with you and use for everything.

        While a gaming handheld like the 3DS or PSV is only seen as that, a gaming handheld. Thus people weren’t willing to pay $250 for the 3DS, and they aren’t willing to pay $250 for a PSV now.

        Brand power helps, but how people visualize your product is important too.

        • Domii

          I agree with you 100%. Although I’ll like to add that of course pricing is important just like I mentioned above, but brand power should be Sony’s first priority. Do you know how many friends I got that don’t even know what a Vita is? A lot! Sony for some reason has manage to slip out of the mainstream radar over the years. They need to focus as much resource as possible on creating product awareness to the point were a mass number of consumers will at least consider buying a Vita. 

          People just focus on the Nintendo price cut, but they forget how they positioned themselves to get there. Ninty did a great job of creating tons of awareness for the 3DS to the point were people saw it as a viable gaming option even though they were hesitant to buy. That’s were the price cut and a stream of great software got them over the hump, and push consumers to finally buy it. Ninty are masterminds when it comes to establishing a well structured marketing plan. 

          These next couple of months are going to be very interesting for the Vita because Sony are finally putting some well thought out marketing for it. I hope they keep it up because if they create enough awareness, it can help them strengthen their brand name and put the Vita in a great position in the long run.        

  • Fr33Kingdom

    I wouldn’t suggest sony listen to the type of people that browse sites like these…We might want something, that doesn’t mean that’s what the vita needs to succeed. In my humble opinion the vita needs to find it’s place, don’t just throw a game or two at it, decide what type of device you want it to be and market that vision. A price cut would help of course but not as much as one might think when the vita still has no idea what it wants to be. Still my favorite console ever though.

  • Domii

    Just keep pushing the marketing tactics the way you starting too Sony, cut those ridiculous memory card prices in half, and promote the bundles. This won’t help that much, but it will at least put them in a position to make their goal while more software roils out. Since they’re barely making any money on each Vita sold, a price cut will be out of the question right now. Oh, and just like IGN have pointed out, start encouraging third parties to start developing for the Vita instead of the PSP.

    • http://twitter.com/Zephyrsword Jessica

       Not to mention the entry point for adding games on the PS3 is so much harder because of ridiculous amount they have to pay just to get it on there. Hence why on European PSN we’re so crapped out of a lot of games because it costs the developer far too much. This is why you see so many indie titles on XBOX Live and Steam, because they’re much more third party friendly (And I’m usually the one to bash the XBOX here.)

      I’m glad you mentioned the memory cards. I don’t understand the price hyke when they could actually be making more money selling the cards at a lower price; allowing us to engage in more digital purchases. I can’t actually BUY any more games on PSN for my PSP, because the memory cards are more expensive than the game I’m actually trying to buy.

      • Domii

        Well, to Sony’s credit. Indie titles are really picking up on PSN over the last 2 years or so. And yes, those memory card prices is what really irritates me regarding the whole Vita situation. They have to realize that by making the memory cards more affordable, Vita owners are most likely going to “buy” more games for it because of all the extra gigs of space. 

  • Peeka Chu

    Interesting info:

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/01/sony-cuts-q2-2012-losses-by-a-third-to-198-million/

    They’ve almost dug themselves out of their hole, despite the Gaikai acquisition too. If you eliminate that ($350 million wasn’t it?), then they actually would have turned a profit. 

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/928371-sony-sees-some-light-in-shuffling-assets

    More granular information and perspective on their finances. They still have some 17 billion on hand, which is great.

    Hopefully my stocks start creeping up again soon! (I actually own shares in all of the Big 3, MS are the only steady performers it seems.)

    • malek86

      I would be wary of saying that yet. One positive quarter doesn’t mean much. I’ll grant you that they seem to be getting better, but let’s wait until we see that they can keep at least some minimal profits in a constant basis, before saying they have “almost dug themselves out”.

      Also I’m not sure if the Gaikai acquisition counts like that. If I remember my economics classes well (although I guess italian laws are different from US/Japan), you are allowed to “divide” a purchase expense, as long as it’s an investment, in the time periods you think they’ll provide a revenue. And then you can start allotting the expected revenue too (of course you’ll have to adjust if revenue doesn’t meet expectations).

      • Peeka Chu

        I said “hopefully”, indicating a positive outlook. That is in no way a positive result. Things could still trend downwards again. For now, they’re trending “up”.

  • tubers

    I’m willing to pay 350 dollars for the device for two things: Make Android Market accessible and add a good HTML 5 support. (but alas impossible since it will eat against Sony’s lame tablets)

    So the device can finally compete with the current market’s tastes.

    Hurry up Sony, late next year the device would be so left in the dust with the competition!

    • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

      The Android Market wouldn’t be added to the Vita. Would you see Microsoft or Nintendo adding that to their consoles?

      • malek86

        No, but it would make sense on the PSV, since it already has a multitouch panel, and there’s that Playstation Mobile thing too. Honestly, having Android apps on the PSV would be an interesting idea. But I guess Sony don’t wanna have to pay Google.

        • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

          While it would be interesting, it would undermine the PS store. The PS Vita already has in-built map app (from Google); social networks: Facebook, Twitter, etc. And like you said, they have Playstation Mobile so they have access to more games. 

          • tubers

            I see. A shame then. And like I said it’s very unlikely.. The most realistic way I can think of is for hackers to do it.

            Oh well.. developers can always jump ship to other platforms (3DS).. I will miss VITA’s high potential though.. (emphasis on “potential”.. just potential)

  • Elvick

    Tired of people whining about the price. Sony just sucks at advertising. It amazes me how terrible they are at it. Nintendo and Microsoft actually know how to advertise. Nintendo sold at that price, not what they expected and couldn’t keep that price with the Vita being the same. (although they probably could have in retrospect, but that would have given Sony some breathing room)

    And Sony continues to do things like Wonderbook, which has potential, but will probably sell crappy because they suck at advertising. And Book of Spells not even having Harry Potter on the game, desire being related to Harry Potter, is a huge fail that I still don’t understand.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see MS do something exactly like it in the future, but actually market it well and be successful. Just compare EyeToy’s fail to Kinect. If Sony had actually advertised EyeToy well, they could have had something.

    And I swear if I see one more person whine that the Vita costs the same as the PS3 (6 year old hardware) I will scream. D:<

    Sony needs to included a 4GB with all systems, to negate the stupid raise in the base price needed to actually play games. Because they were majorly stupid with how they handled games. They should have worked like DS/3DS games. Not required you to have a memory card to work. Livearea's are neat and all, but not enough to negate that negative aspect.

    Sony needs to drop the horrible prices of memory cards now. It's ridiculous they haven't, everyone knows that is the thing they're trying to recoup costs on. And most people aren't buying into it. I'm still rocking the impossible to manage 4GB and waiting for that price drop.

    Games are fine for me. Though, Japan is getting more. I think Sony need to make it worth Square Enix's while to start actually making some new games for the system.

    If the Vita got some new IP, or a new Dissidia on the way, then it would help a lot.

  • Nicholas Gatewood

    This is killing me, greatest handheld game system on the market isn’t selling well because Nintendo has Monster Hunter and Sony sucks at advertising.

    Also, Dragon Quest 7 remake announced for 3DS in the “article recommendations” tab to my right? Seriously, why are developers so afraid of the Vita? It’s sickening that something 15-20x as powerful as the 3DS, with a better screen, better control inputs and even slightly better battery life, wouldn’t get a title like that, especially since it initially released on the Playstation and those jerks aren’t releasing it as a PSone Classic. Is everyone out to get Sony or something? They really need to spend a few hundred million on a massive advertising push, but I’m not sure they have that kinda money they can just throw out. ;_;

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      More power and higher development costs aren’t what developers look for in a portable device, though. In this market, most developers would care more about whether or not it’s selling.

      • Sakurazaki

        Agreed. Sony’s timing with the Vita’s release plays into this, I think, pretty heavily.

        The 3DS was doing great, and already established itself as THE handheld to have at the time. As a result, devs aimed at it. Once the Vita showed up no one really needed to care about it. 

        But I digress, the Vita has too many games that I personally like, so I’ll be purchasing it soon.

    • Domii

      I kinda agree with you. But for the life of me I can’t understand what goes on in the mind of Sony execs. Do you actually think for a second that Sony can’t get some descent third party support for the Vita? Of course they can. History says they can. My best bet is that “Mr worldwide studios” isn’t trying hard enough.

  • Total_Overdose

    The only reason I haven’t bought a vita is become I know a slim version will probably be coming out soon. If Sony didn’t dish out updated versions of their systems every 2 years, I would buy the first version of the console.

    • Elvick

      I really hope you don’t have a 3DS then. :/

      And 2 years, isn’t exactly “fast”. That’s really slow in the hardware business.

      • Total_Overdose

        Don’t have a 3ds either (probably going to get a 3ds xl). And although 2 years might be considered slow, I think that there aren’t enough good games out on vita yet for me to spend that much for a system when the updated version is probably around the corner.

        • Elvick

          That’s fine. Only thing I’m curious about with the XL, is how much “better” the 3D is and what that means. Otherwise, I don’t regret buying the original thing near launch. Bigger with the same resolution doesn’t appeal to me.

    • Stone Skull

       in many ways, the original, fat PSP is the greatest of them all. How about the first PS3s which had hardware support to play PS2 games? Slimmer is not necessarily better.

  • idrawrobots

    Has anyone here played Assassins’s Creed L? J have heard from a friend that it’s not good. That won’t help if your big games aren’t good.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5UFEVTPDTXD33NSMUFMX4TEAMQ Mike

      I’ve played it and I think it’s pretty good. The controls take a little getting used to if you played other AC games before it though(they changed the combat around making it easier to counter and disarm which is kinda confusing since normally you’d be using a whole other button scheme)

      The graphics on the other hand are good but not Great, It’s what you’d expect for a portable game on the vita.

      I hope this helps.

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    Just to add to all of the ongoing discussions here, I feel this is one of those cases where we have a complicated question with a very simple answer—and as always,  it’s software.

    I’m sure there are Siliconera readers who post in our comments are excited about Persona 4: Golden. I’m sure a few are even excited for whatever Falcom are working on. Some are looking forward to the Muramasa port and so on. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind, though:

    1. Siliconera’s commenting community—not readers, but commenters—is very charitable when it comes to the Vita. Despite the price, despite the lack of software, despite a lot of these issues, there are still a few very vocal people on here that insist it’s doing great. The truth, though, is that it’s not, and I think people need to understand that they’re in the vocal minority here if they want to understand why the device is having problems.

    2. Monster Hunter isn’t the magic solution that people assume it is. Monster Hunter would have been a solution were it still exclusive, but it’s not. At this point, even if Capcom were to release a mainline Monster Hunter game for the Vita—which I don’t see happening for at least another 2 years—it wouldn’t make as much of a difference because that market has migrated to the 3DS already.

    To be more precise, I think the differences between the 3DS and Vita are as follows:

    1. In Japan, 3DS has all of the major franchises and is continuing to rack up more, even down to smaller but established brands like Shin Megami Tensei. This much I think is obvious to most people.

    2. In the West, the portable market skews younger, and Nintendo understand this very well. This is why games that cater to the ages 5-18 audience are important. Those are the ones that will sell the most systems, and once you start to sell to that wide userbase, you can expand from there. For some reason, Sony don’t seem to understand this, or ignore it because they feel they can’t compete with Nintendo on that front. Either way, that’s one of the Vita’s problems. 

    3. Again in the West, 3DS sales are below expectations, but the difference is that there’s a solution. The software already exists in Japan, but the challenge is getting enough of it out in a steady fashion. This next year should tell us if that starts happening. In the case of the Vita, the software doesn’t exist at all.

    In short, it’s primarily a software problem. We can talk about tablets and smartphones all we want, but those devices are more of a concern to the 3DS at this point. The Vita’s concern, before it even thinks of tackling the smartphone challenge, is the 3DS. It’s a pricey device with less existing games and less upcoming games than its direct competitor. 

    I’m not sure what the solution is, and before anyone says, “Sony should pay XX publisher YY amount of money to put ZZ game on Vita,” that isn’t a solution.

    For one thing, Sony are already offering incentives to publishers in Japan for putting games on Vita, but they can only afford to do it with smaller franchises. Without either a large amount of money or a large userbase, they kind of don’t have much to offer the bigger publishers at this point. In this sense, the greatest mistake they made was allowing 3DS to come out several months prior and build up an audience.

    • malek86

      All true. Then again, like Professor Layton would say, “every puzzle has an answer”.

      Although we don’t know if tht applies here. Perhaps the PSV was simply a bad idea from the start – whether it was the heavy technology used, its timing, or the marketing/support around it. Most certainly, when you revise your expectations twice in a row – and we can expect most of the revision to be about the PSV since the PSP has been relatively stable – there’s a big problem.

      I don’t even know how Sony can turn this around. At this point, even if they get the otaku demographics, that will be just a palliative. And in the meantime the console will flounder in the west.

      Even the PSP’s main appeal, “console graphics on the go”, which wasn’t great but at least helped the PSP in getting a sizeable base, will be a lot less appealing now.

      • Peeka Chu

        It needs to be turned into a proper “gaming tablet” to give it a unique identity in the market and an even playing field to compete with smartdevices (Google Market). I’m convinced that this is the only way to save the Vita at this point. Dribs and drabs of software won’t help, and Nintendo is already getting the lion’s share of what developers are offering to non-smartdevice platforms at the moment. Rebrand it, add another inch or so of screen size, shove some proprietary memory in it, have TELECOMMUNICATIONS carriers advertise it, selling it in a venue that you’ll never see a 3DS in, and call it a day. They could also get rid of those poorly selling tablets too. Put them all under the brand of a “Vita” line and kill off the ones you don’t need. You have three models, a standard Vita (as we see today) for the budget conscious consumer, a larger 6-7 inch one, and finally a rebranded tablet without buttons or sticks for people that don’t want controls. 

        Three options, ONE PLATFORM (Vita). That’s the problem with Sony and something that they’ve struggled with for years is pulling one successful brand out of a jumble of a thousand products. Simplify. Kaz seems to understand this mentality a bit, but we’ll see how far he pushes it.Save the platform. As things stand now, its creeping toward a Dreamcast like death.

        • malek86

          You speak of simplifying, but then you suggest having a button-less model. That would only confuse consumers, who would pick up a Vita game from the shelf and say “will it run on my Vita?” (it won’t because it doesn’t have buttons, but how does he know?).

          Samsung was smart in its branding – you see Galaxy devices everywhere, but they are all effectively for the same purpose. A Galaxy S3 is much more powerful than a Galaxy Y, but they are both Android. You don’t see Galaxy TV’s. That’s not a how a product line works.

          Sony doesn’t need to make things more complicated. And having the Vita compete with tablets probably wouldn’t be successful without software, they way the Xperia Play wasn’t. It’s bigger and much bulkier than an iPhone, while being smaller and still bulkier than an iPad Mini. What would its appeal be? Having console-like games and buttons? Then we get back to the same problem as before, the lack of software.

          I doubt having the PSV compete with smartphone/tablets is the solution. At this point I guess we can only recognize that Sony messed up. I don’t think they are ready to let it drown yet, but I don’t see much more in terms of possibilities.

          • Peeka Chu

            Its not confusing at all. Tablets would only run Google Play/ PSN software. “DOWNLOAD ONLY” stickers on the box. Most people are familiar with DD and aren’t as fantastically stupid regarding tech as they used to be, especially the younger generations. If the Sony engineers saw fit, they can just add virtual touch screen controls like every iOS/ Android wannabe console game has. Give it a gyrometer and back touch screen. Its not difficult to emulate buttons. Not ideal, sure, but hundreds of millions of people don’t seem to care.

            Sony’s tablet division is floundering  and so is the Vita. Consolidate the production costs of both and put out a proper smartdevice/ gaming line. It is quite simple (yes, excluding the mechanics involved obviously). Clean up both divisions.  In its current form, at its current price the Vita will not survive. I don’t think that a price-cut is a sensible long term solution either, the problem is that they have made a device that the mass market has no interest in. THAT has to be addressed before any concerns regarding price/ software come into the discussion. I love the system and even with rose-tinted glasses, I can see its fate pretty clear.  

            Edit: Your entire post also ignores my repeated suggestions that Sony allows Google Play onto their devices, which alone will fill any perceived “software” gap in the minds of millions of potential customers. I’m also not talking about fusing television and smartdevice brands, so I’m not sure what you’re going on about there. I’m talking about merging MOBILE, LIFESTYLE-BASED, SMARTDEVICE DIVISIONS, particularly Tablets and the Vita. If you haven’t noticed, adding hobbled versions of YouTube, Facebook, etc, to the Vita shows that Sony has this intent, yet refuses to commit to the idea wholeheartedly. THIS is where the confusion comes in for the consumer. Are you a tablet or a handheld? Pick one, or make a commitment to offering the best of both worlds. That’s what I’m saying.

            For point of reference, using your own example there are Galaxy branded Tablets and Phones, which is a better comparison than tablets and televisions.

            (CAPS aren’t yelling, but there’s no italics option :) )

            Oh, and like you, I don’t see much light at the end of the tunnel, which is why I suggest something as drastic as a product realignment/ refresh.

          • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

            There is an italic option. your_text_here (NOTE: Just remove the quotations marks.)

          • Peeka Chu

            Thank you, usagi_san!

          • malek86

            There is a problem. In allowing the Play Store, Sony most probably would need to allow the use of non-store apps, like all other Android devices. If they do, they will open themselves up for piracy. When you let people install everything on your devices, surely somebody would find a way to root it and play pirated games. Asus and Google don’t care much about piracy of $3 games, but if someone pirates a $50 game like AC3, that’s more of a problem. Developers are already complaining of high piracy on Android, imagine what big developers would say.

            The solution would be to not allow the Play Store (incidentally that’s what PS Mobile is for), but then you lose all those nice apps. Or to not allow third-party apps to be installed on the system, but if you do that, your tablet suddenly becomes a lot less attractive than all those other devices which can install them.

            If you notice, Sony is scared gutless of piracy. The steps to put content on the PSV via PC are needlessly convoluted. It’s obvious that they got burned because of the PSP. But this is not the way to go.

            Anyway, let’s assume they do get the Store and position the PSV as a tablet of sort. What would be their competitive advantage?

            - Play Store support wouldn’t be one, because every Android tablet has it. I’d even argue that the Kindle Fire gets by just fine without it (although they do have the Amazon Appshop which contains a lot of stuff).

            - Form factor would obviously be a drawback. The PSV is much bulkier than its competitors, and those analog pads sticking out don’t help either.

            - Proprietary memory and cables and stuff would be a big drawback too (which reminds me, to serve as a tablet and remain competitive, they’d need to give it at least 8GB of internal storage, which would drive production costs up).

            - Games? That should be it. But as the Xperia Play shows, that doesn’t mean much if your software isn’t compelling enough. And even if it is, there’s no guarantee the average smartphone/tablet buyer wants to spend $50 on a single game, when they are used to getting them for free or maybe for $1 each.

            Overall, I don’t think putting the PSV in competition with tablets would be a good idea unless you… make it much more like a tablet. Ie, use standard memories and cables, allow unknown apps, reduce form factor, etc.

            But that would be such a big change, you might as well just say the PSV was a failure and make an entirely new product. What’s the difference, really?

          • Peeka Chu

            @malke86.  All interesting points.  Re: actual Vita games. Those games would only be available via the PSN or “PSN” storefront on Google Play, which would do an account/ device ID check and other layers of security to work. They could do a hardware level check too, like they have with the Vita and PS3 encryption. So if you didn’t have a Vita – tablet or otherwise, the storefront wouldn’t even appear or be accessible. Regular apps might have a longer Sony approval process, which could have its own issues, but still, at least the access to those services would be there.

            And I think that you and I and others are starting to see that the Vita is poised for failure anyhow, so really a product rebranding and relaunch might not be such a bad idea. I’d also add that Sony Mobile is just a bad version of the Google Store and should just be scrapped for a proper iteration of that. I don’t  know why they wouldn’t just figure out a security solution for the Google Store instead.

            As far as form factor, the analog nubs can be almost flush with the console and a wider border as seen on Asus and Samsung tabs could easily accommodate buttons. L/R along the top as usual. A softer, rubber backing like the Google 10.1 tab coming out would also be incredibly soft and stylish. OLED screens are notoriously thin, so there’s a lot more leeway in a longer, flatter design than with traditional LCD screens.

            Oh, and the difference would be that they actually have a product that can be offered in non-traditional (non-gaming) as well as gaming retailers. As far as competing in the tablet arena, it offers dedicated controls and real console quality games. Stacked against the 3DS, it offers a wealth of apps and productivity/ lifestyle options that the aforementioned hardware will never have.

            The Xperia Play is another example of Sony 1/2 committing to an idea. And look where that is. The Vita is exactly the same, just on the gaming/mobility instead of the mobility/ gaming side of the spectrum.

        • Domii

          You have a great business mind Peeka chu, but I think this is going a little overboard as I mentioned below. You talk about simplifying, but this just sounds like a hell of a risky move when putting things in perspective. The Vita’s solution is “simpler” than this. See some of my comments above and tell me what you think. 

          • Peeka Chu

            First, let me say that it has been great having this – polite – back and forth banter with you and a few others today.

            Still, I don’t think it is overboard. I think that the Vita “brand” is quickly hitting the crapper and I don’t see anything short of a massive overhaul as helping them out. If sales continue to languish, developer support will dry up and consumers will head elsewhere. Plain and simple. We’re closing in on a year in Japan and 8/12 months everywhere else and the system has sold about 2.5 million, that’s terrible. 

            I’m not a fan of MS, but I will give it to them, they know how to promote their products. And I’m not simply talking about the buckets of money that they spend on advertising games, but partnerships. If we’re to believe the rumours for next gen, that the “NextBox” will be sold via contract and alongside cable providers, that right there is genius. Low, low upfront cost, accessibility in a market outside their competitors. Genius.

            There is currently no gaming tablet offered via telecommunications dealers. That’s a totally untapped avenue of promotions and sales that Sony are in a unique position to take advantage of with the Vita, but ignore (and currently can’t compete in as the Vita, as it stands, is a 1/2 tablet and not even the real deal).

            I don’t see Sony scrapping the Vita, but I don’t see it continuing to exist in its current state/ price-point. As to what revisions will come, we’ll see I guess.

            Edit: “Promote”. Agreed, marketing would certainly help. But once more we encounter Sony’s largest issue as a company: over diversification. They have four consoles to promote (well, two really) as well as next gen to invest in and gaming is only one of their myriad divisions. I just don’t think that the money is there for them to blow the $ it would take to convince consumers that the Vita is worth a purchase, or to sway those that are on the fence.

            Anyhoo, I’ve spent way too much time on Silconera today :) Thanks for the chat all. Need to get to some seriously procrastinated from work.

          • Domii

            This has been the greatest conversations I had on this site to date. You mentioned the word “promote”. That’s it. That’s all they need for the Vita. That simple, except that I will switch the word promote to advertise. It’s to soon to call the Vita a failure when Sony themselves haven’t really try to make it a success. 

    • MrRobbyM

      It’s all true. The PSV will be hard to save at this point unless Sony comes to some miraculous realization.

      This is all a shame. I really wanted the Vita to do well. It has such potential.

      • Domii

        The Vita is struggling but as you can read from our fellow business minded members, they’re are tons of solutions to get the system rolling. Sony has to pull the trigger and get on it.  

    • http://twitter.com/nickjamesm7 Nick Mahan

      Agreed. There are way too many blind Sony lovers on this site, and they are the vocal majority but the minority outside of this and a few other websites. It comes down to software, undoubtedly. It also comes down to price, of not just the system itself but the memory cards that are ridiculously priced because they have the “Sony” name on them. I like Sony, I have a great Sony Bravia HD TV and a PS3… but their handhelds are handled like they have a bunch of morons behind the scenes, as proved true by them constantly changing their sales forecasts. It is to the point now where they are almost too far behind to matter, especially with the cache of games Nintendo has up their sleeve. Most of the people I know who want the Vita over the 3DS are those that want to play shooters and sports games on handhelds. Weak. Luckily they have Persona Golden coming up or it’d be bleaker than bleak.

    • BadenBadenPrinny

       Not to mention Sony is absolutely abysmal at advertising these days. So many good ideas squandered by the utter ineptitude to raise awareness

      • Stone Skull

        Sony spent a lot of money buying the rights to Spiderman off Marvel. If there is one character that is as popular as Mario, or more-so, it is Spiderman. Sony needs to create an advertisement campaign using him, showing off cross-play and remote play.. perhaps with a new, Spiderman-skinned Vita. If they were even smarter, they’d pump out that advertising before christmas, and ideally, before the launch of the Wii U.
        Spiderman, Sony.. use Spiderman.

    • Peeka Chu

      Opening up the “software” to include Google Play would give the Vita a tremendous edge over its competitor. Both the 3DS and the Vita are competing against smartphones and Nintendo seems to have the edge where it comes to both price and developer support (the latter a side-effect of launching first).

      Which leads to my second point, its not just about software, its about price. The popular opinion is that $250 (plus a memory card) for a handheld system is a luxury and simply too much money for most. How quickly people forget Nintendo’s 6 month crawl with the 3DS before a 40% reduction in price. I’d say that ‘price’ is the crux of the issue more than anything else. More sales>more games sold>more developer support. Sadly, ‘price’ isn’t something Sony seems willing to concede on. 

      I think that we are completely in agreement however, that allowing the 3DS to launch first was a terrible, terrible mistake. This isn’t like last gen, where the market actually expanded (over 230 million console sales compared to 185 millionish). The handheld market is under direct assault from smartdevices and Sony acted too slow to both Nintendo and the market.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        Mmm. I think I’m with @malek86:disqus on this front. If Sony were to rebrand their tablet line, why would they rebrand it as a device that’s associated with failure? Right from the get-go, that isn’t smart marketing. 

        Also, having several different configurations isn’t necessarily the best idea either, if only because people already have so many other viable options when it comes to tablet devices, such as Samsung. At this point, any confusion that Sony creates is only detrimental to their business, simply because they’re trying to make their way into markets where they have no competitive edge.

        On the subject of price, while that is most definitely an issue, it’s also a chicken-and-egg situation. The 3DS didn’t succeed solely because of its price cut. The price-cut was more of a fuse that they lit in order to draw attention to the fact that they had all of this amazing software coming out over the next several months. 

        If you look back to E3 2010, significant support from Square Enix, Capcom, and a whole lot of other major Japanese publishers was announced on the very same day that 3DS was revealed. This was before people had any idea how it would perform in the market. Publishers had faith in the 3DS, and they had every reason to, seeing as how they were successful on the DS. 

        In the case of the Vita, however, there was no significant support announce prior to launch, or after launch. And here we are, two Tokyo Game Shows later, and the biggest games that people are excited about are a PSP port, a PS2 port, and a game that’s trying to be yet another Monster Hunter clone.

        • Peeka Chu

          The marketing is fine, Vita hasn’t failed just yet (but soon, it will, officially). You just scrap the tablet line and add (one model only, not the three or more they have going – ridiculous) it to the “Vita” line. That’s a product that is actually alive. No one even remembers the name of Sony tablets, I certainly don’t.  That brand is already dead and gone in the mind-share.

          And again, I can’t stress how important access to the Google Market or the ability to be merchandised in a telecom retailer would be. Nintendo devices will never be seen in such places (not this gen, at least). That alone, gives Sony an edge.

          Re: 3DS. I’d argue that all that “great” software without an accompanying price drop of that magnitude would have left the 3DS in a similar (though slightly better) position than the Vita. People simply don’t want a billion devices to carry around, they want one that does as much as possible. And as we’ve seen from the erosion of the market from Droid/ iOS gaming, they don’t care about the quality, or whether its “great” software or not. They care that its content is cheap, it surfs the web, you can facebook on it and – in the case of smartphones – you can make calls.  

          Price is the #1 motivator for a consumer purchase, hands down.

          It also didn’t help that Sony missed Christmas (for NA) or allowed the 3DS to hold so much market attention for so long.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I agree, without the price-drop, 3DS wouldn’t be where it is today. However, I do feel it would still be much healthier than the Vita is. It was already healthier than the Vita even at $250 and no software on the market.

            Now, the biggest and best videogame brands in Japan are all on the 3DS and that most certainly counts for something, in my opinion. 

            Of course, it wouldn’t have sold as much as it has this quickly—3DS is on track to outsell lifetime sales of the PS3 by the end of the year—but it would still have been relatively healthy, and would still have gotten some amount of support, if not as much as it is getting now.

    • Domii

      I think you giving Nintendo too much credit Ishaan. The 3DS is going to sell regardless because of its wide range appeal and well, Mario. The truth is Sony’s biggest competitor is (drum role), SONY! They are leaving the Vita to die without a consistent marketing campaign, high memory card prices, and not a steady flow of software. Read my reply to Malek86. I’ll always remember this quote from a very successful business man I met, “A competitor’s strength comes from your weaknesses”.

      Sony has to work in strengthening their brand recognition to penetrate the mainstream like they once did. So that every product they own can be acknowledge by the masses. To put it in simpler terms, they need a strong marketing plan. IF they had a strong marketing plan for the Vita and its current software, we wouldn’t even be talking about the 3DS. Sony can pump out a million top quality games for the Vita but if they are not marketed, it wont make much of a difference in today’s market.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        To put it in simpler terms, they need a strong marketing plan. IF they had a strong marketing plan for the Vita and its current software, we wouldn’t even be talking about the 3DS.

        I disagree completely. All of the Vita games that Sony is currently relying on to sell systems are knock-offs of Nintendo games, or games headed to Nintendo platforms, or games targeting an audience that Nintendo (or other platforms) has already locked down.

        Soul Sacrifice (Monster Hunter knock-off)
        LBP Karting (Mario Kart)
        PlayStation All-Stars (Smash Bros. knock-off aimed at Sony fans)
        Call of Duty (inferior version of the console game)

        Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is the one legitimate original Vita game that has the potential to sell a few Vitas this year, but it’s coming out on the same day as ACIII. But even Liberation by itself won’t help the Vita beyond a short-term bump.

        • Domii

          First of all Ishaan, I will like to thank you and the siliconera community for showing that we gamers are capable business minded individuals and for all the amazing insights on how to save one of the big 3 in this wonderful hobby that we love. I can’t be more proud to be a siliconera member right now. You guys are awesome.

          Now to reply to what you said. You mentioned brand awareness. If Sony marketed the current software or starts to role out more enticing software and puts them in a position to succeed, the competitor wouldn’t be as much of a factor as you think. You are using great personal insight to describe those games you mentioned, but not everyone will think the same as you of those games. I’ve said a it million times already, but yes Ishaan marketing is the key to success. Mario is Mario because Nintendo strengthen it’s brand, the same can be said with those other franchises. 

          It’s not hard, many companies have done it before. Apple did it with the Ipod. Nike did it with the Airmax. McDonalds did it with the Big mac. Brand awareness and strong marketing can be applied to anything, especially a struggling product like the Vita. If Sony pushes it to the point were it’s engraved in their target demographic’s mind, the competitor is going to be an after thought. Right now I gotta say Apple is gonna pose the biggest threat if we go by my logic. And quite frankly, going up against Apple right now is never a good idea, so we’ll see. 

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I agree 100% that marketing is key, but marketing is primarily a tool that you use to turn a well-executed product into a phenomenon. As you said, Apple did it with the iPod, Nike have done it many times over, McDonald’s did it with the Big Mac. But all of those devices catered to some kind of consumer need.

            In the case of the Vita, what need is it trying to cater to? In Japan, it has no audience because the 3DS is fulfilling the need for core portable games, both on the more casual side and on the “hardcore” side. The 3DS has a really wide range of games even in just its second year. That leaves very little of a gap for the Vita to fill.

            In the west, people are generally indifferent toward portable devices that aren’t smartphones or tablets. The 3DS will do well enough because it has Nintendo behind it, and they’ll fight tooth-and-nail until they turn the system into a reasonable success. Again, in the west, the need for core games on portables is a niche largely being filled by Nintendo and 3DS developers who are bringing some of their biggest brands to the system.

            In the case of the Vita, where’s the software that’s going to sell the system? Third-parties don’t seem very interested, and Sony themselves are too busy trying to sell the Vita to existing PlayStation 3 owners with things like Cross-buy and Vita ports of PS3 games. 

            As far as Sony have indicated, nothing is actively being done on the development front to produce standout mainstream hits on the Vita. Nothing is being done to produce attention-grabbing software for the system. For instance, why is Uncharted 3 on PS3 while “Golden Abyss” is on Vita? That lack of a number creates a stigma in the mind of the consumer.

            In comparison, you don’t see Nintendo doing the same thing at all. Mario Kart “7″ is on 3DS. Dragon Quest “IX” (published by NOA/NOE) was on the DS. Mainline Pokémon games are always on portables. And the rest of Nintendo’s franchises—very smartly—don’t use a numbering scheme at all, so consumers don’t think of the portable versions as being “inferior”.

            Again, I’m not sure what the solution to Sony’s problems is. Marketing will help them sell a few systems over the next couple of months, yes, but what about a long-term solution? You can only market something that’s already appealing.

          • Domii

            Actually marketing is more about positioning a product to succeed in the long run. Sony can’t market any software if they are not willing to create awareness with the Vita to begin with. Again the question is, who are their target market, and what needs do they need to fill? You prove my theory that is not Nintendo who they are primarily competing with, is themselves. 

            Nintendo has taken a huge chunk of their market share, but that’s because Nintendo was smart enough to capitalize on Sony’s mistakes (same can be said with MS). Yet Ishaan, you still give Nintendo too much credit for Vita’s current position when you even pointed out everything that Sony has done wrong. There’s one thing you can’t control in business, and that’s market behavior, but everything else is measurable and containable with great market research. 

            It’s clear that the market for dedicated gaming handhelds is a live and well, Sony just has to go and get it by given Vita a chance to succeed. Then and only then, we can start fairly comparing Nintendo’s impact on Vita’s success. 

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I’m not sure why you keep saying I give Nintendo “too much credit”. In fact, I don’t think I’m giving Nintendo as much credit as they probably deserve. 

            The reaction to the 3DS at E3 was phenomenal. No one could ever have predicted that sales would slow down so rapidly after its release, even with the shortage of software. But sales did slow down, and to their credit, Nintendo reacted very quickly. 

            They had already positioned the 3DS as the successor to the DS and secured a good amount of third-party support well before its release—something Sony have yet to do with Vita. The 3DS already had everything it needed to succeed before it was even released. It had a line-up of great first-party and third-party games being worked on.

            The only oversight on Nintendo’s part was pricing the device too high and not realizing that the months immediately following launch would be the most important as far as rolling out software was concerned. Nintendo assumed that consumers would buy the device and patiently wait until the holiday for more software, but they were wrong. Consumers began to lose interest faster than anticipated.

            Following  this, the price cut and the announcement of several titles that were already in development in quick succession reignited interest in 3DS during TGS week last year. If anything, Nintendo prepared themselves as well as they possibly could have for the 3DS not performing up to the mark. Was it a perfect plan? Of course not. But they took all the necessary precautions that they could have.

            Personally, outside of Japan, I don’t think the the dedicated market for portables is “alive and well” at all. Nintendo, too, have had to cut their forecast for 3DS sales as well. Just that people aren’t making as much of a fuss over those slashed forecasts because the 3DS is in a place where we all know it’s going to be okay, even if it’s not going to do Nintendo DS numbers.

          • Domii

            What I mean by “you give Nintendo too much credit” is that the Vita’s current slump is not necessarily 3DS’ doing, it has to do more with Sony’s mistakes.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Well, I think that depends on how the Monster Hunter deal ended up happening. If Nintendo actively worked with Capcom on bringing Monster Hunter to 3DS, I would say they were 100% responsible for the Vita’s current predicament. That would have been a planned assault.

            However—and this wouldn’t be surprising in the least—if Capcom had decided that they were going to bring MH to the 3DS anyway, and Nintendo simply collaborated on making that deal more appealing for them, I would say that they aren’t directly responsible.

        • Elvick

           You just sound ridiculous now. Do me the favor and ignore my last post, because I really care be arsed to read a response from you.

      • MrRobbyM

        I think one of Sony’s problems is not only strengthening their brand but needing more or better first party games. Nintendo has Mario and all that. Microsoft has Halo and Gears. What does Sony have that makes them so special and different? Uncharted is cool but not as popular and loved as the other two.

        What I’m getting at is Sony has had success before because of third party games. The Ps1 had All the big JRPGs, Crash, Spyro, Megaman etc. The trend continued with the Ps2 and the Xbox wasn’t much of a competition being new to the console market. But there was never really a strong presence of first party titles. Nothing easily recognizable.

        Sony definitely has some good franchises going on. I just don’t think they make use of all of them properly. This gen there has been three uncharted games, a few GoW games and two Killzone games. Just NOW is when we’re seeing a Sly games finally. Still no sign of Ape Escape other than the Move game. No Jak games and it’s a shame what happened to Crash and Spyro. If you ask me, Ratchet and Clank ain’t what it used to be.

        • Domii

          But strengthening the recognition of those IPs you mentioned is the solution in putting those franchises in the level of popularity as their competitor’s. Sony’s first party business is just fine if you ask me. Because think about it, MS releases a major Halo game every other year, and my guess is that is sells somewhere between 8 to 12 million copies. Meanwhile just next year Sony has a least 5 major first party games that will most likely sell between 3 to 8 million. It’s not a coincidence that Sony is consider to have the strongest first party studios, Although I do agree with you to some extent. 

        • malek86

          I should at least point out that Sony hasn’t owned the Spyro property for a long time now, as Universal claimed the rights back in 2002 or so (which brought to all those crappy games). Universal eventually sold them to Activision, and arguably they’ve managed to make it become relevant again with the Skylanders line (although admittedly, that’s as much about Spyro as Raving Rabbids is about Rayman).

          • MrRobbyM

            I know that. Which is why I said it’s a shame happened to them ^_^

    • Ethan_Twain

      Okay, let’s take this and connect it one step further.  If the Vita is struggling in the West, and Sony has limited powers to entice publishers to make games on their platform, and in the West the handheld market is largest among minors, then the clear solution is for Sony to develop first party software aimed at the 5-18 demographic.  Sony does own a remarkable array of first party development assets spread across the globe, and a good number of IP with them.  This is how Sony can hit the target market without depending on external developers.

      But once you I just put your statements together into a course of action I realized:  That’s already what Sony is doing.  Think of their kid friendly IP:  Sly, Little Big Planet, Little Big Planet Karting, Mod Nation Racers, probably PS All Stars Battle Royale.  There’s that new Media Molecule IP too.  And these are all games that are already on or coming to the Vita.  It seems to me as though Sony sees the situation similarly to how you see it and has invested their resources accordingly.

      So if we accept that handheld growth in the western market is driven by minors, and we see that Sony is releasing an awful lot of first party software aimed at that demographic… then shouldn’t that be working?

      What am I missing?  It strikes me that Sony is more or less on the same page that you’re on, but it isn’t working out for them.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        I think in Sony’s case, it’s several issues when it comes to the kids’ market, including:

        1. Price: We’ve already been over this, and how $250 + Mem Cards is crazy.

        2. Lack of brand awareness and originality for all-ages IP: In the case of LBP Karting, for example, why would anyone buy that when they can have Mario Kart, you know? 

        And with LBP in general, I think any potential that series had to appeal to younger audiences died when they released the first two LBP games with those awful jump controls. Media Molecule didn’t make the wisest decision with that floaty jump and Sony, as their publisher, did nothing to step in. Sometimes, letting your developers get away with everything they want isn’t the best idea, either for them or for you. Sony need to realize this.

        It’s also a question of marketing with Sony, and actually developing games that appeal to broad audiences outside of their typical demographic. For instance, you’d never see something like Style Savvy come out of Sony, or even Animal Crossing.

        Basically, it boils down to Sony having spent over a decade trying to position themselves as the expensive, higher-end brand for tech-nerds, media enthusiasts and HD gaming. However, since the PS1 and PS2 were actually rather popular, they also saw mainstream success on both those fronts. Now, however, they’re being assaulted on every single front by Nintendo, Microsoft and Apple.

        • Ethan_Twain

          Thank you!  I didn’t mean that as a “gotcha” question at all, thanks a lot for explaining the angle I didn’t understand.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I know! Don’t worry, you don’t have to explain. :)

            Ah, also, my reply to Domii below expands on some of the things I mentioned above. :)

    • PoweredByHentai

      Regarding number 2 about not tackling the younger audiences:

      Sony has tried to attract the younger audiences time and time again.  Heck, they started this back when the PS1 just launched.  Hell, Motor Toon Grand Prix (made by Polyphony Digital, aka Gran Turismo and Omega Boost developers) was a LAUNCH title for the PS1.  For some perverse reason, Nintendo has always held that death grip on the age 5-12 demographic whereas Sony has typically found its niche at the 12-25 demographic.

      Even with LittleBigPlanet and whatnot, parents just aren’t willing to buy a PlayStation for their kids simply because it doesn’t have “Mario”.

  • Grenalie
  • protofox

    nothing so far for vita has tickled my fancy. i want phantasy start online 2. but it isnt out yet. i want Final fantasy X HD snice u can also download it to vita..but it isnt out yet…and final fantasy type 0? hah…yeah..  the last new psp game i got was FF3..and i see no reason to upgrade to a vita till the game selections has improved massively..and i gots persona 4 on the ps2 already lol.

  • http://twitter.com/Jehuty21 Guy Wesley Jr.

    Hey, does anyone recommend getting a Vita? I was thinking of maybe asking for it on my birthday cause Sly 4 comes out on my birthday. Of course I’m gonna get the PS3 version cause I get a free Vita version. :P

    • Elvick

      If the games interest you, then yes. I love it, and have lots to play since I have a wide range of interests. Meaning I have a lot of different kinds of games to play.

      If you have very specific tastes, like only RPGs, then you may as well wait.

      Just depends. Gravity Rush is one of my favorite games released in recent years.

  • darkfox1

    Still waiting for that price drop that was hinted at.

    • Joseph Steinhilpert

      its not gonna be till mid summer next year I hear which is will be a point beyond saving the handheld

      • darkfox1

        Wow maybe you’re right I wasn’t even thinking about that.

  • http://yaminoseigi.blogspot.com/ Yami no Seigi

    What customers desire are not necessarily what Sony needs to make their PsVita sells well otherwise it will be a mob rule. For the price we could think what are the factors that cause Sony unable to drop the price rather than simply thinking Sony as too stubborn.

    PsVita might have hard time at the moment but i think it will make it through just like PSP. Aside from its tremendous power as a hardware, PsVita got PSN(Europe one sucks tho) which is really solid network support which could be the key in the future and 3ds eshop still need to catch up with it. I got a Vita myself and have to admit the the library is not that big at the moment but the PSP stuff keep me content at least as i got myself Armored Core Last Raven and Riviera for $10 each which is a great deal. Now i am getting DJ max technika tune and Ragnarok Odyssey as a part of my library.

    The recent Little Big Planet bundle is quite great deal i think as you get the LBP game, PS Vita and the memory card for $300 and you can get an extra game for the same price on certain places. Sony just need to make some bundle to increase the Christmas sales

    thanks for listening to my random rambling.

  • B I R D Ass N I G G A

    no games, no play.

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