Will PS Vita TV Help Vita Sales In Japan? Not Any Time Soon.

By Ishaan . November 27, 2013 . 3:05pm

Will Vita TV help significantly increase PlayStation Vita sales in Japan? This was the question on the minds of games industry watchers a few months ago when the device was first revealed.


As it would turn out, the answer is no, it probably won’t. Not any time soon. PS Vita TV was released in Japan two weeks ago, and sold 42,000 units in its first week on store shelves. Fast-forward to seven days later, and sales had dropped to a mere 8,000 units in the device’s second week. Meanwhile, sales of the regular PlayStation Vita mode were a little better, at 21,000 units. Not great, but better, which means that a small niche of gamers are still interested the Vita—just not the Vita TV.


So, what exactly is PS Vita TV? It’s a PlayStation Vita packed into a little box, but without a screen or any sort of controller or buttons attached to it.


The purpose of the device, in case you’re wondering, is to offer a cheap alternative to the PS Vita to Japanese gamers. The Vita TV costs just 9,954 yen (about $100), and you can plug the device into your television to play Vita and PSP games. PS Vita TV works with the PlayStation 3 controller, making it a device targeted at existing PS3 owners.


Unfortunately, PS Vita TV fails to understand the reason that portable devices are popular in Japan in the first place. They can be carried around, played on the train, taken to a friend’s house, brought to McDonald’s after school and so on. They allow one to play games at their own convenience, without being tethered to the TV.


Another reason for the popularity of portables is the existence of multiplayer games such as Pokémon and Monster Hunter.


With games such as these, players often gather together in public to play together, trade items and share experiences. While Sony have been marketing the PlayStation Vita as a device that is home to a number of games inspired by Monster Hunter—the moment prominent being God Eater 2—Vita TV fails to capitalize on this genre of titles by restricting its games to your television, thereby making it impossible for players to gather and play together in public if they own Vita TVs instead of regular Vitas.


Perhaps PS Vita TV will see more success in the west. Perhaps Sony will try another angle in Japan. For the time being, however, it appears as though Vita TV won’t be making much of an impact on the Japanese console market.

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  • Erena Arisu

    vita needs moar original rpg~~

    • Kaetsu

      Yeah a lot of the excellent vita RPG’s are remake like Persona 4 Golden, Muramasa Rebirth, Disgaea 3 e.t.c.

    • Razzlero

      Or at least for the ones it has already to be released in the west D:

    • Surgeon of Death

      Vita need more original everything. I love it for my P4G, Disgaea, FF 1-9 etc, but it doesn’t really have any system sellers. Tearaway is amazing, but it needs more than a couple of great games to sell, and the memory cards prices are still too steep. Why would they not use SD cards and use a new form of memory thats even slower?

      • JonathanisPrimus

        Because Sony traditionally sells their hardware at a loss and so those overpriced memory cards are a way to recoup costs. It’s also the only way they could make money off pirates if the platform is ever cracked.

    • James Enk

      all consoled need more rpgs, even the 3DS you can never have enough rpgs on any system:)

    • Monterossa

      True. PSP was popular because of it has tons of jRPGs and other Japanese games and a lot of them got localized. Vita only has some. It only has indie games.

  • Shippoyasha

    Maybe they can try engineering the PS4 touchpad for the touch sensor gameplay so Vita games van be 100% compatible. Maybe pressing share button for rear touch pad toggle or something.

    Maybe these sales were more for the mega hits like God Eater as well.

    • Shane J

      I agree that they need to make to so 100% of the games are compatible.

      Funny thing actually though that I’m not sure if many know about in regards to the VitaTV, they already have the touch screen features mapped to the DualShock 3’s L3 and R3 buttons. Not the best solution, but its still there.

      This, at least to me, makes the lack of 100% support of PSVita games on VitaTV even more strange.

      Here a couple of picture’s I just took. One of the machine telling you how to use touch features via the controller and one showing it active in “Rayman Origins”.

  • Locklear93

    My opinion on Vita TV has always been pretty weird. On one hand, I think it’s a bad idea, generally. On the other… I kinda want one.

    The lack of a touchscreen or camera introduces to the Vita a problem normally more associated with Android: hardware fragmentation. While the camera is irrelevant, not used in anything worth owning as far as I know, the touchscreen has been used with decent effect a few times. Developers who want maximum possible penetration need to design for the lowest common denominator. If the Vita TV takes off, that means no touchscreen functionality.

    On the other hand… I’d play P4G on a TV. And NIS re-releases. Ragnarok Odyssey. And Dungeon Hunter Alli… okay, that’s a lie; I’ll never play that again for any reason.

  • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

    I told you guys its a more western product.

    A chrome cast is a better streaming device anyway

    • tubers

      Maybe you’ve negated your 1st statement.

      I think this won’t do any better on the West because of other alternatives.. some having chrome cast.. and priced aggressively.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        The instant sony revealed the thing I knew it’d be tailored to the west, but they’re bringing it to the east first? Before the PS4 launch? With a cheap ass DS3 controller?

        They cant even see how intrinsically western minded they’ve become if they’re surprised they get a strong western reaction for a largely western device that they made for the eastern market that doesnt suit it at all. And may not for quite some time

    • FlyingPony

      Agree with you, when I think Japan I think portable game, 3DS, PSP, and mobile, and not console and other big screen gaming..

      Just bring it to west Sony, there is many fans that can’t wait to buy PS Vita TV here.

  • Reiswindy

    I would buy one , but last I checked every single game I wanted wasn’t compatible with it.

    • “PLAY VITA GAMES ON YOUR TV [unless they require the touch screen in any real way, shape or form]!”

      Like honestly can this thing even do Gravity Rush? Isn’t that sort of the Vita’s undersung flagship still?

      • JonathanisPrimus

        If you’ve played Gravity Rush you would understand why controller support isn’t such a trivial addition.

        • I’m really hoping myself that once the DS4 comes out in Japan, they’ll be able to patch it, since the DS4 should have a better motion sensing in it, right?

          Cause really, Gravity Rush is one of those games that I really would love to see on a TV…

        • I understand it’s trivial, but I also understand that as far as we’ve been informed here they still haven’t done it.

    • FlyingPony

      Patch can fix that… and future Vita games will be made with Vita TV in mind, so the compatibility issue will ceased eventually.

  • JonathanisPrimus

    This was a soft launch from SCE. Andrew House (president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment) stated that Vita TV was meant for the family market yet SCEJA only advertised the device in hobbyist venues such as TGS and Famitsu. They seemingly didn’t even run TV ads. I suspect that was a deliberate move, as Vita’s current software lineup offers little for families to play. They probably saw it as a good way to try to appease the hobbyist community who might be a bit annoyed that SCE is launching PS4 in Japan last by a good few months.

    PlayStation 4 does play a key role into what Vita TV can do. In what little promotional work they’ve done for it, they’ve stressed the ability to use Remote Play in another room. But most importantly for targeting the family audience, the Dual Shock 4’s touch pad could help alleviate some of the existing software incompatibility issues.

    “PS Vita TV works with the PlayStation 3 controller, making it a device targeted at existing PS3 owners.”

    Where does that logic stem from? It’s Sony acknowledging that they’ve initially targeted the Vita TV at an enthusiast which likely wouldn’t need a Dual Shock 3, or a memory card. For newcomers there’s a 14,990 yen bundle with a controller, and a memory card.

    “Vita TV fails to capitalize on this genre of titles by restricting its games
    to your television, thereby making it impossible for players to gather
    and play together in public if they own Vita TVs instead of regular

    This isn’t entirely true. While you obviously can’t play with a bunch of friends at a bus stop, Vita TV supports local, and online multiplayer with the handheld Vitas.

    Overall, I suspect once PS4 is launched we will see SCE push Vita TV a lot more. I imagine there will be a more diverse lineup of family friendly software (as opposed to currently otaku heavy one) to take advantage of the platform’s low barrier to entry.

    • If this is a soft launch, I’m hoping that, as the PS4 launch approaches in Japan, that it manages to take off. It does feel a little bit like Sony didn’t really release many units in the country? Cause it sounded like the system sold out on Amazon.jp, and yet it only had so many units sold.

      Really, I do seriously want a TVita. I want one so much. So I hope that regardless of it’s performance in Japan, we’ll still get it in the West. I’m actually looking a little forward especially to how it’s remote play function will be for the PS4, and how it’ll look on a second TV– I like the remote play for the PS4 on my Vita, so I’m curious on this.

      Actually, it makes me wonder: If the TVita has the same architecture as the Vita, and you can connect the Vita to PS4 remote play over the internet, and it’s not confined to your home… would you be able to bring the TVita to another house that has internet, and be able to not only show off your Vita stuff there, but also your PS4 games on your console? Now /that/ would be cool.

      • JonathanisPrimus

        Killzone: Mercenary is getting a patch to support Vita TV, and I highly doubt that’s for the 30,000 people that bought the game in Asia. ;)

        As for Vita TV Remote Play, yes you’d be able to play PS4 games at another house. But do recognize that Remote Play over the internet depends heavily on your network connection, and hardware.

        • Well yeah, I’d realize that, but it’s still a very neat potential thing.

          Especially when you get into games like RPGs getting released, that won’t really need perfect latency? Now you’re talking.

  • ragingmerifes

    Why would it anyway? Maybe when it is released on the West.
    And even then, it will only serve to boost sales of exclusive must-buy games.

  • James Enk

    is this article here to keep the balance between fanboys and haters after the 3D World one? you know one bad article about Nintendo one bad about Sony so everyone is happy:) jk jk

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Nah, its reality. Lightning got the courtesy treatment too :p

      Sales were crap this week except for 3DS’s hardware sales

      • James Enk

        i know:)

  • PreyMantis

    Another bad news? Please, don’t ruin my Thanksgiving.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Sales all week wre terrible

  • 3PointDecoupage

    Stupid Sony. The Vita needs GAMES not gizmos.

    • God Eater 2 has sold 300, 000 copies in just three weeks

      • 3PointDecoupage

        Games plural. The 3DS had a stream of solid titles all year and thats how they got out.

        • The Vita is doing a great job of getting support from publishers in Japan than it has been and that’s only been this year, needs time

  • Horrible article, look at the sales numbers before the Vita TV released. The numbers were already up before

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      And down down down like a roller coaster

      • Regardless the Vita itself is doing a lot better before the Vita TV hit the market

        It wasn’t in a state of flux. Opening week the Vita TV sold as many units as the Vita did.

        AND the PS4 isn’t out yet in Japan, part of what the Vita TV can do can’t be accomplished anyway

      • mirumu

        That’s not really true. Since the new model Vita launched it’s been sustaining around 25k a week with sizeable jumps whenever a popular game came out. It’s not 3DS LL numbers by any means, but is quite an improvement from before. It’s been fairly consistent.

        This weeks Vita numbers are actually the lowest it’s been for some time. What I suspect we may be seeing here is that the Vita TV may not actually be growing the Vita market in Japan, but cannibalising it. Time will tell no doubt.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Its dipped under 25k several times though.

        • FlyingPony

          Perhaps Japanese people start saving for PS4, so they postpone their Vita purchase right now and cause the bad sales of Vita..

  • $77496739

    So what’s the borderline requirement for it to be successful? Selling as much Vita TVs to children like what Nintendo is doing with the 3DS?

  • Alexis Sandoval

    the question is though… can it play with other portable vita consoles? if it can then this article dose not hold any ground…

  • tubers

    In the bigger picture, I think 10%-20% padding for total platform units gained within the coming few years is substantial enough. I expect this 15%-20% VTV if total Media Create sales to be the usual figure from here on (this week it’s closer to 30% but it will drop off).

    I never thought this thing to really fly off in Japan anyway and as the author explained.

    I don’t think it’s gonna do much better in the West unless VTV become as featured as a Roku or get help from Android/Google. We’ll see.

    Maybe Kaz will talk about VTV during Jan’s speech/keynote for some electronics event.

  • IS | 桂木

    Vita TV seems more of a western device, anyway. Portable gaming is insanely popular in Japan in contrast to the west, and Sony knows it (hence why they and Microsoft aren’t releasing their consoles in Japan until 2014). That still doesn’t justify why bring it to Japan first, but I guess they knew it wouldn’t do as well here because of the lack of supporting titles?

  • Nitraion

    I guess japan doesn’t want to play in home anymore…. ._.
    I would love to buy it… i hope they won’y give up

  • Lilith

    I hope Sony doesn’t take this as clue on how it will perform in the west. Consoles just don’t sell anymore in Japan, period. I don’t personally want one but I’m really rooting for it. It would be good for all Vita owners.

  • Kornelious

    Wow, the Japanese sure love their portables, I’ll still buy this when it comes out :)

  • Lazulis

    Wasn’t the Vita TV also supposed to target like living room streaming stuff bc there’s not an absolute streaming box in Japan? Oh well. Maybe when the PS4 comes out it’ll do better, because the DS4 will let the Vita TV be compatible with more games…

  • Tyler Beale

    “Perhaps the PS Vita TV will see more success in the west.”

    I hope not….honestly.

    • FlyingPony

      I hope so, because I do want to play Vita titles on big screen, and for the Vita TV demo it look like its very capable, no lag or any other problem occur.

  • d19xx

    It can’t play all Vita games. That itself is kind of a kick in the nuts…

  • xxx128

    the ps vita sells better than PS3 and xbox360 combined in japan. Handhelds are doing better in general there and that is a good indication how unattractive and geared towards the western mass market home consoles have become.

  • dahuuuundge

    resists urge to make joke about nogaems*
    But seriously Sony should focus more about getting more exclusive softwares for Vita than hardware revisions.

  • Shane J

    Especially as an owner of a PS VitaTV, it really is a such a shame that it doesn’t appear to be doing to well so far.

    It’s a nice little device and the games don’t look stretched at all (well, in my own opinion they don’t) and they feel like they play naturally with the DualShock 3 controller.

    Perhaps these numbers will change around the time that the PS4 is released.

    The main annoyance I have with it though is the fact that there are many games still that aren’t compatible with it. Now, I understood this when it was first announced and even when I first got mine. I’ve since discovered that the Vita’s touchscreen and rear touchpad ARE mapped the buttons. If you hold the home button, you get a menu like on the portable Vita to change your Brightness settings and the like. The PSVita has an extra setting though that asks if you want to enable the buttons they’ve mapped the touch features to. If you click on the ( ? ) beside it, it tells you that by pressing the ( L3 ) button for the touchscreen, ( R3 ) for the rear pad and both for features that require touching both at the same time.

    Basically what it does is bring up a cursor that shows a finger pointing either in-front or behind or a hand doing both that you then control with the left stick. Pressing the O button (I believe it is) when the cursor is where you want to is the same as actively touching that spot on the portable Vita… I’ve only tested it for sure Rayman Legends though and several of my other games that use touch won’t work in it period and I can’t seem to get the cursor to appear when I’m on the VitaTV’s desktop.

    Knowing all this makes my previous understand of the lack of support for games that use the touch features rather the opposite now.

    (I took this picture as proof of the touch features having been mapped to the controller).

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