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.