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Sony Explains Vita's Poor Sales, But They're Missing the Biggest Issue

The Vita hasn't been selling well, and Sony has an explanation.

The PlayStation Vita did well out of the gate. However, since that impressive start, Sony has had difficulty selling the portable unit.

Why? Well, as is typically the case with such problems, there's more than one reason. In a recent VG24/7 interview, Sony UK managing director Fergal Gara outlined several causes: First, the mobile gaming explosion has hindered the Vita, and second, it has proven difficult to convince core gamers to purchase the technologically proficient handheld.

"In all honesty, higher sales would have been what we had hoped for. The market Vita entered was more complicated than it was when the console was originally thought about and designed. Games on tablets and phones have changed the marketplace and people can't carry too many things around at one time."

Gara added that Sony overestimated the number of people who really desire a hardcore portable gaming experience. As smartphones and tablets are multi-functional, they'll "always be very appealing" and really, how many devices will someone take when they leave the house? In many 2013 reports, analysts said very much the same thing, which is why the Vita may be facing an impossible uphill climb.

The question, of course, is whether or not the nifty portable will survive.

"The truth is that the number of people that want the core experience [that Vita offers] is not as big as the number that simply want any sort of game available on the move..."
Let's not avoid the biggest issue

Gamers will always - I repeat: always - respond if there are games they want to buy. If a piece of hardware doesn't have the software, it's just a really expensive paperweight, especially if its sole purpose is playing games. From the start, Sony tried to market the Vita as the elite portable device for hardcore gamers. Well, that group only cares about one thing, and they care about it more than price and convenience.

Yeah, games.

It doesn't seem like the Vita is getting the support it needs from developers. Furthermore, the lack of AAA titles to date is troubling, and I can't think of one that would make a consumer go, "Damn, I need a Vita!" Without compelling titles, you can't expect any gaming-oriented unit to be successful.

Published Jan. 13th 2014
  • Indicible
    Lack of games combined with usual Sony gripes. Some upcoming Japanese games would interest me greatly. And sadly, I will have to jump through all sorts of hoops, because they are digital-release only and I will have to switch back and forth between two accounts.

    On another front, the program I use the most on my two PSPs is an ebook/comics reader.
    Nothing of the sort on the Vita, lest you use some convoluted roundabout maneuver to get to GoogleDoc. Which requires and Internet collection. On a train or in a foreign land? Good luck with that. I'm pretty sure some homebrew developer would have one such program ready in a jiffy. But such a piece of software won't work on a locked Vita. Food for thoughts for Sony, but I'm not holding my breath...

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