News Article

Yoshida: PlayStation Vita Sales Are Below Expectations

Posted by Sammy Barker

Developers aren't biting either

Despite an influx of new software in recent weeks, the PlayStation Vita's commercial situation remains ominous. Chatting candidly with French website Lemonde, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida revealed that the platform's sales are “below expectations”.

“Consumers now have multimedia devices, such as smartphones,” the outspoken executive noted. “These devices include the ability to play, and it is difficult for us to justify the purchase of an additional machine.”

In another, almost defeatist snippet, Yoshida lamented the changed focus of mobile developers: “With the rise of mobile gaming, studios have started to transition, allocating more resources to this type of production,” he added. “Even if the creators want to develop games on the Vita, they unfortunately have fewer resources to do so. One solution is to encourage the support of the platform by smaller development studios.”

Recent figures showed that the Vita was really struggling to build an install base, with the handheld platform selling just 1.6 million units throughout the company's second quarter when combined with the PSP. That represented a 0.1 million units decline year-on-year, despite the Vita not being released 12 months ago.

A spate of high-profile releases – including Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified – aim to improve the system's fortunes this fall, but it's going to take a small miracle to turn things around at this point. It doesn't even feel like Yoshida has any answers anymore.

[via lemonde.fr, vg247.com]

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User Comments (22)

Gamer83

#2

Gamer83 said:

I don't even know if a price drop would work at this point, which is a shame. Imo, just goes to show how stupid consumers are today, especially those in North America who don't seem to buy anything these days unless it's from Apple or MS. Pay $500 for a phone and they're perfectly happy to play $1 games but when a company puts effort into a product and puts it out a VERY fair price with great games they avoid it. Stuff like this will just lead to the inevitable decline of this industry.

Strofan7

#3

Strofan7 said:

Price cut all the way. Letting a system tank has to lose more money with all of the investment Sony has put into R&D, marketing, etc than taking a hit on each Vita could ever amount to.

Johane

#4

Johane said:

@Gamer83

A price drop WOULDN'T work at this point. If there isn't software supporting it, then a price drop wouldn't do much. The reason it worked so well for Nintendo was because it was a strategic price drop that was followed by titles like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and Monster Hunter Tri G.

You NEED software to support a price drop, otherwise it becomes a mere incentive. We need REASON.

The Vita's problem isn't so much the price, but rather third-party support. Sony(Yoshida) acknowledged this themselves, expressing their disappointment in a recent statement to Gamatsura. A price drop will not turn things around, but sustained third-party support will. Assassins Creed and Call of Duty are a start, but people aren't going to go out to buy a Vita over them. SUSTAINED is the keyword here.

People need a REASON(software), not an INCENTIVE(price drop), to invest in and support a Vita.

As for your unnecessary comments regarding mobile consumers: There are much more innovative and engaging games on mobile platforms than Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.

Gamer83

#5

Gamer83 said:

The Vita has a great library the issue is the consumers, I stand by everything I posted.

Johane

#6

Johane said:

@Gamer83

http://www.gamestop.com/ps-vita

There's a single page holding this "great library", and half of them are games you can already play on a PS3 or Xbox 360(ports and multiplatform titles). Currently, the only support the Vita needs is from third-party developers, not consumers. That comes after your forecast is a little less cloudy with a chance of precipitation.

I stand by everything I posted.

Gamer83

#7

Gamer83 said:

So multiplat games don't count? It still adds up to a great library of games far better than those piece of mobile devices have.

Johane

#8

Johane said:

@Gamer83

Multiplatform titles and ports do count, but you're missing the point: Consumers aren't going to buy a platform for games they can play on something they ALREADY own.

Or do you honestly believe people are going to buy a Vita to play some outsourced, lackluster Call of Duty, when they can play Black Ops II on their PS3's and 360's?

You keep calling them idiots, but it's quite the opposite.

Consumers aren't going to blindly buy into a platform without third-party support(games). Sony said it themselves: support is disappointing. You keep pointing the finger at consumers, but the real issue lies in third-party support.

A price drop isn't going to do jack if all it's going to do is make an uncertain platform a bit more affordable. There needs to be support behind a price drop, friend, and that's something the Vita doesn't have much of at this point. Sony needs to make a REAL effort to fix this, but sadly their focus is on the PS3.

Gamer83

#9

Gamer83 said:

First party, third party, good games are good games and the Vita has plenty of them now and on the way. You and I will just have to agree to disagree on the system's library. I won't argue that third party support is obviously weak and Sony should've fixed that early on. Don't know what went on behind the scenes but it seemed like they were so concerned with getting Western support they completely avoided Japan when what they should've been doing was trying everything to lock up big franchises from Capcom and Square. Japan is the market where dedicated handhelds find the most success these days, I read an article not too many months ago where Iwata was stating he wasn't overly happy with the sales momentum for 3DS outside of Japan (not sure what the situation is now but it can't be bad). Thinking outside its home country regarding Vita support was the major error on Sony's part. Since that problem can't be fixed now Sony probably won't even find moderate success with Vita and that is a shame. Fortunately I'm not a fanboy who limits himself to one company's platforms, I own a 3DS and thankfully it's performing well enough that I'm not worried about that kind of portable gaming going anywhere but I am disappointed to see a product like Vita get wasted.

ThreadShadow

#10

ThreadShadow said:

I'm having fun with my white Vita, but perhaps I just saved myself from drowning by climbing onto a sinking ship? Looking forward to getting a 3DSXL before years end. Vita is a nice system though.

NathanUC

#11

NathanUC said:

I still think that it just needs more time. Software has slowly been picking up momentum and hardware will eventually follow. It's somewhat difficult for a handheld to have a 'system seller' these days because point of entry on the console market is so low. It makes far greater economic sense to make these titles multiplatform for this very reason and there is nothing wrong with that. I know I favor purchasing a game on Vita rather than my PS3 for many reasons and I cannot be alone.

A truly well made Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter, or Metal Gear would surely help drive sales, but I think focusing on the Vita as not only a stand alone system but as a PS3 add-on would also help. If it weren't for remote play, cross controller, cross buy, or cross play, I wouldn't use the device nearly as much as I do.

Finally, trying to shift focus to a 'phone style' gaming machine is exactly what the system doesn't need. Games like Flower are cool in that they are cheap, simple, and work well... but focusing on those style of games would easily kill off the Vita as it defeats the entire purpose of owning a handheld GAMING device rather than just an expensive phone. I stand by my claims in that Android/iOS mobile gaming will not satisfy the demand for hardcore gamers now or anywhere soon in the future. We need dedicated devices built to game and while there mine not be as many individuals in that market, it will grow over time as people are introduced to 'baby games' on those other mobile platforms but desire more.

MitchConcannon

#13

MitchConcannon said:

I wish people would realize how great of a machine the Vita is. I hope Sony can turn things around for themselves but it's gonna take a price drop in my opinion and a Monster Hunter game.

Gemuarto

#14

Gemuarto said:

Vita just needs more attention from Sony's side. It is obvious that Sony do nothing serious about Vita at the moment.

And price drop will definetly help. I mean the cheapest version of vita is about 300$ by default with memory stick. And 3DS is 170$ and PSP - 150$ or 100$, not sure about that. And they need to do something with psn for vita, now it feels like something frozen in time. Something that was done and forgotten.

rjejr

#15

rjejr said:

@nathanuc1988 - " it will grow over time as people are introduced to 'baby games' on those other mobile platforms but desire more."

If I'm reading you correctly you are saying people playing iOS games will want to move on to "real" games (real is what I call them). I kind of feel just the opposite. People are always insulting "touch" games b/c they don't have buttons, but I feel like a generation of kids growing up with touch screens, and also Kinect, may grow up to feel that buttons are annoying and never leave touch, which is why 3DS, Vita and WiiU have touch screens.

As for Gamer83's initial comment - it's not phones or Apple or MS, it's Amazon and Google w/ Fire and Nexus for $200. That's $50 less than the $250 wi-fi Vita price for basically a mutlitasking computer in your pocket. That doesn't make consumers stupid, it makes them thrifty. I've thought from the beginning that Sony should have competed head on with the tablets - yes have great games, but have email and internet and Facebook and Twitter and Skype and $1 games also. If Nintendo could bring in the causal w/ Wiimotes, Sony should have brought in the tablet crowd w/ social media. It's too late now though, and Sony knows it, hence "Mobile" and the Experia tablets.

Ginkgo

#16

Ginkgo said:

Yoshida's comments make no sense. If smartphones where the problem then the 3DS wouldn't be selling, but it is. $1 games on smartphones are not the problem.

NathanUC

#17

NathanUC said:

@rjejr That is what I was referring to. I know plenty of people who started their gaming on Android/iOS devices and moved on to buy PS3/Xbox 360s because the grew fond of gaming. Even my aunt bought a Wii for herself after playing countless FB games (I put FB games in the same category as Android/iOS).

Not everyone will move on to 'real' games but things like Vita and the 3DS make excellent transitions because they have an interface people are familiar with.

Gemuarto

#18

Gemuarto said:

Overpriced hardware always lose. It is the law =))).
And Vita needs more casual and indy games with trophy support =))... And games like "cut the rope" and like "Jorney", everything counts.

And developers must stop using gyroscopes in hardcore games. They tell us that their console has two analogs and good for core gamers. But what is the point of this, if they force you to use all those casual crap.I have no problems with touch s**t, but hell gyroscopes.... And touch sometimes forced upon players in very ugly or stupid way.

hydeks

#19

hydeks said:

Articles like this make me sad to be a gamer, sometimes. I hate how everyone's against this system, when it's hands down thee best portable out there right now. I've own both a 3DS and Vita, I can easily say that the 3DS is a piece of , and the Vita is just sooo great, doesn't feel cheap at all, works excellent, and has great games coming to it/ already on it.

Kimiko

#20

Kimiko said:

I'll buy a Vita as soon as I've finished my current PSP game (Star Ocean: First Departure). So probably next week. HTH

Stuffgamer1

#22

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Gemuarto: Gyro can be done well...I loved it for the extra level of precision aiming in Golden Abyss; but it can also suck...see the balancing bits in the same game. Devs just need time to figure out what works and what doesn't.

I think Sony's gotten themselves stuck in a catch-22 now. A price drop might help, but much more so with more games...which won't come with the install base so small, which won't rise without a higher total value for the machine, which means lower price AND/OR more games. It's difficult to ascertain what would do the trick best, but either option works poorly on its own.

I really like my Vita, but I don't use it as much as my 3DS. Just a personal thing, and to be honest StreetPass is no small part of the reason for that. And general portability...Vita just doesn't fit in my pocket like 3DS does.

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