Speaking at a press event directly after the conclusion of last night’s CES showcase, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai admitted that PlayStation Vita sales are currently at the bottom end of the company’s expectations. “I would say it’s on the low end of what we expected,” he explained, adding that it takes time before a system can be declared successful. “Long term is what's important.”

Hirai continued that people were extremely critical of the PlayStation 3 in its early days, but the platform is now a profitable part of Sony's business. As of 30th June, the company had sold 2.2 million Vita consoles worldwide. The manufacturer's been reluctant to provide updated figures in recent weeks, but it's safe to assume that the number has increased marginally over the past six months.

Elsewhere, the former Sony Computer Entertainment president noted that he wasn’t particularly surprised by the announcement of Nvidia’s Android-based portable gaming platform, Project Shield. “I wasn’t as surprised as you might think,” he said. “If you look back through the pages of history, there have been other attempts. It’s [a difficult market] to break into. I’ve managed this industry, so I know.”

What can Sony do to boost the Vita's sales? Do you think that Project Shield will have an impact on the handheld's success? Let us know in the comments section below.

[via pcworld.com, blogs.wsj.com]