Speaking with MCV UK, Fergal Gara, PlayStation UK MD recently discussed the state of the PlayStation Vita. Gara touched upon the device’s near-term future, as well as his views on the portable market in general.
Discussing the lack of a “big triple-A product” for PlayStation Vita this year, Gara comments, “Well, there are a lack of those titles announced. Is it a problem? It would be fair to pick up that there wasn’t a second Call of Duty made specifically for Vita. But what’s changed is that Call of Duty: Ghosts was available on Vita via Remote Play on PS4. And Vita is sort of evolving as a platform.”
Gara goes on to mention that the “No. 1 digital seller” on Vita at the moment is PlayStation Plus subscriptions, and that the device is a proving to be a “big niche device” with a high attach rate, which is why Sony will continue to support it.
“Yes the market place for it isn’t as big as it might have been had smartphones not arrived, but it is still a more thorough, more complete experience,” Gara says. “And it is therefore appealing to people with a more eclectic taste in games. And many of these indie developers are proud to be on the platform. All of this is before we even talk about its role alongside PS4, which is clearly exciting and we seeing some good results from that.”
Gara then mentions that he’s encouraged by the the number of PS4 users using their PlayStation Vitas to interact with the console.
“We are only a few weeks into the PS4, but [Vita] is a strong component of the PS4 ecosystem already,” Gara says. “There is a significant number of PS4s being used with Vita, and not only that gamers are not just using it once—as you might do out of intrigue—they are coming back and continuing to use it. It is still early days, so we must be careful about drawing firm conclusions, but we do take encouragment from that data.”
Finally, on the subject of the portable market, Gara comments on the performance of the Nintendo 3DS and Sony’s goals for Vita.
“Well [the 3DS’s performance in the U.K.] just shows that playing on a dedicated handheld device has not gone, as many will try to suggest,” Gara says. “We want to have a healthy share of that handheld market. But we are playing fairly differently to Nintendo 3DS, when you think that is a dedicated handheld device with a very strong showing amongst kids.”
“Vita is positioned differently. Yes it appeals to kids but also to committed gamers and as a companion device for PlayStation 4. 3DS shows that the sector is still there and that Nintendo is doing very well in it, so there is a market to harness.”