News Article

Kaz Hirai: PS Vita Sales Are on the Low End of Expectations

Posted by Sammy Barker

Looking to the long term

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]

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User Comments (38)

Kayoss

#1

Kayoss said:

I'm a proud owner of the PS Vita and been using for a while since i bought it. There are plenty of games for it and I've been busy playing some of the back log. However what really irks me the most is the lack of remote playable games or even cross play games that are available for the Vita. I understand that there are some games that cant be made for cross play due to differences in the PS3 and Vita power. but games such as Journey, mega man 9 and 10, papo yo, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light , etc... should be able to be played on the PS vita.

Dambuster

#2

Dambuster said:

I've had my vita from day 1, and I love it, its the best portable console ever. There are loads of great games for it. The problems for vita at retail are caused by 2 main features,

No main stream adverts, if you don't read gaming media you will not know what vita is and what it can do.

The price of the memory cards, I know at least 5 people who would buy a vita but are not willing to fork out the silly prices for the cards. With playstation plus on vita now you really need one of the bigger cards.

I have an idea to get vita into more peoples homes, its mad, and drastic but would work,for the next year, buy a ps3 get a vita in the box for free. = more people buying vita games, more vita games getting made .... (told you it was mad) And get a brand new old school splinter cell on the dam thing!!

JavierYHL

#3

JavierYHL said:

thought there would be some great news for the vita...a lot of jrpgs need to come to the west like tales of heart R...

SammyOfMobius

#5

SammyOfMobius said:

Maybe they could I don't know DROP THE PRICE FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! GOODNESS DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY IT!

Paranoimia

#6

Paranoimia said:

They're not going to drop the price yet, simple as that. It's already sold at a loss, and they're not going to increase that loss any time soon. It's not an expensive system anyway, for what you get. That's why the memory cards and games are the price they are - it's where they make the money.

Personally, I'd like to see the console market change the hardware pricing set-up. Charge actual cost plus a little profit for the hardware, and make the games about £10-£15 cheaper. That way you don't lose out on the hardware, and you most likely sell more games, albeit at slightly less profit than you currently get.

If the Vita was £329 and the games £20-£30 each instead of £40 (talking actual RRP now and ignoring discounted online prices), would people buy then, or still complain?

irken004

#7

irken004 said:

Drop the price to $199 with a 4GB memory card or dramatically reduce memory card prices. Also release Killzone Mercenary :O

goldgin

#8

goldgin said:

If you are a european gamer you would be a fool not getting one for xmas. For 199euros you get the little-big planet pack and with any of the free 30 day ps plus promotions running during the holidays, you get uncharted, gravity rush, mortal combat and now jet set radio plus a few minigames, freemiums and apps always available on psn for free: ecolibrium, treasure park, jetpack joyride, zen pinball all free!!! It's a gamers paradise!
I am disappointed that it doesn't sell well, especially in Japan, it makes no sense, it's a console in your hands!
The only letdown is remote play... but I'm sure the one to blame here is the power of the ps3... I am betting all my money on proper remote play with ps4 though.

rastamadeus

#9

rastamadeus said:

I love my Vita but come October the final nail will be in the coffin for the console worldwide I'm afraid: Pokémon X and Y.

JayMiller1988

#10

JayMiller1988 said:

I would consider buying a Vita if:
1. They dropped the price to $149.99 (same price as 3DS).
2. Dropped memory card prices substantially.

Squiggle55

#11

Squiggle55 said:

@rastamadeus you aren't kidding. Sony has no chance to win next Christmas. Certainly not in japan at least. Nintendo is very smart and doing everything right.

But once again I love my Vita and can't put the dang thing down even with lots of great stuff on my 3DS I need to finish.

hydeks

#12

hydeks said:

@JayMiller1988 Vita is a much more powerful system than the 3DS, so $149.99 is alil unreasonable, but it would be nice if it did drop in price and come with a memory card.

I've had my Vita for awhile now and I play it way more than I did my 3DS :P 3DS is nice, but you can just tell that the Vita is worth it's price when you've played it for more than a couple hours. I like the interface for the Vita way better than the 3ds's, the games are more hardcore and funner to play in my opinion.

Only things I hate about the Vita are the fact that not all PSP and PSOne games are available on the system, cause I'm really missing playing games like Phantasy Star Portable 2, Crash 1 and 2 etc. on the vita. Also, I wish the memory cards where cheaper, the prices are very ridiculous :P

FuzzyYellowBalls

#13

FuzzyYellowBalls said:

I just bought an external hard drive on sale for $130. It has 2TB worth of storage. That's almost as much as 32GB, right? Yes, for only $30 more I got 2TB. Seriously, Sony? It's not the price of the Vita that's the problem... It's the memory cards.

When did the PS3 start selling? Oh yes, when they lowered the damn price! And that was a huge drop from the original. 50%, if I remember correctly. That's why Sony can boast how good it's doing now.

Having said all this, I think the Vita is great. But something must be done if they want this thing to even remotely sustain long term. It's definitely the best handheld out there, but apparently that's just not enough these days.

And then you have the whole "elitist" crowd who thinks they're entitled to everything for nothing. That's probably a huge part of the problem, as well.

Sanquine

#14

Sanquine said:

@rastamadeus Tell me more about the final nail in the coffin? THe vita is dead if sony stops supporting it, which is not the case. If you can look in to the future please give me a call:D

Gamer83

#15

Gamer83 said:

I'm glad somebody at the company finally admitted the truth instead of running from it. I've been a staunch supporter of the Vita, it's a great product but lets all face the facts, the thing is selling for and there is really next to nothing on the way for it this year. In fact at the game stores I frequent there are a total of 4 games available to pre-order, sorry but that is more than unacceptable for a new system which needs games in order to sell. On top of that, memory card prices are still way too damn high, Sony really needs the people making decisions like this to get their heads out of their.... A 32GB mem card should not be more than $50, period, and even then that's pushing it.

rastamadeus

#16

rastamadeus said:

@Sanquine Come back to me after Pokémon X and Y has been out a few weeks and we'll talk about the final nail in the coffin, sweetheart. I hope I'm wrong - I love both my 3DS and Vita - but this game will singlehandedly kill the Vita. Sales will drop astronomically and Sony will be what convinces Sony to either throw money at developers to support it (unlikely with PS4 looming) or call it a loss. I think we all regrettably know what they'll end up doing.

Gamer83

#17

Gamer83 said:

As somebody who owned a Dreamcast, I hate to say I know a dead system when I see one but that's clearly the case with the Vita. Unless there is a mircale turn around very soon, the Vita is done for. When a system has no third party support it's pretty much done for.

get2sammybAdmin

#18

get2sammyb said:

@rastamadeus That's not what Kaz is quoted as saying, though. All Vita owners should be refreshed by the CEO's commitment to the "long term".

IAmNotWill

#19

IAmNotWill said:

It is clear that the industry was not ready for a handheld with this much power. It's just too expensive for the general public.

And I am still waiting on my system seller. There isn't enough to own one right now.

Gemuarto

#21

Gemuarto said:

Vita is best handheld ever =).... And Kaz is cool and wise man... I really like to read his twitter =)))).... And I think that Sony have really solid and wise srategy behind Vita situation. Iwata really had no choice, but to kill DS and drop price on 3DS... But Kaz can wait for the right moment, when there will be enougph solid games for Vita.... and Sony can sell a lot of Vitas without losing too much money. It's always hard to maintain balance =)... But Kazis one of those who can do that =).

But I think that Sony needs better soft programmers.... It's a shame,that Vita still can't stream any game from PS3....

Gemuarto

#22

Gemuarto said:

And like I told before, maybe Sony can produce cheap version of Vita with simple LCD screen... Vita wich Sony can sell without loosing money =))... Why not?

NathanUC

#23

NathanUC said:

Take a look at news archives from around 2007. PlayStation 3 was doomed too.

Vita has so much room to grow while the competition is at it's peak. It says a lot about Vita's quality when people can only complain about the number of units sold rather than the hardware itself. Vita's current library is already amazing (I consider it the best on any portable and one of the best first year lineups ever) and we have tons of awesome games to look forward to this year. Soul Sacrifice, Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway, Phantasy Star Online 2, Warrior's Lair, etc...

Sanquine

#24

Sanquine said:

@rastamadeus Maybe? I am also a supporter of the 3ds ( It has some great great great games and pokemon x & y will also be in my pokemon collection). Maybe because i love my vita so much ( Now playing stranger's wrath; just add water is a brilljant developer) i am denial?! Yeah, it is still bussiness... I hope they throw their money but i know they will just take the loss.

NathanUC

#26

NathanUC said:

@Sanquine Both Vita and the 3DS aren't in the same market as what most people consider "mobile gaming". No one would pay $30-50 for a game on Android or iOS. This is because (imo) no game on Android or iOS is worth $30-50. If the problem was in the market, the 3DS would be suffering too. If anything is hurting the Vita, it's bad press, misrepresented data (that snowballs), and poor marketing.

Sanquine

#27

Sanquine said:

@nathanuc1988 Yeah, that hating on the vita is huge. I do not understand.. When they announced the vita everyone thought the price was good etc. But now everyone thinks it is to high

Stuffgamer1

#28

Stuffgamer1 said:

I bought my Vita day one for Uncharted, because I am an insane fanboy (more or less :P). I had little else to play on it for a few months (not much of the launch lineup appealed to me), but now I have plenty of games like Ragnarok Odyssey, Virtue's Last Reward (not buggy like 3DS version!), PSASBR, Jetpack Joyride (game's more addicting than it has any right to be), etc. I bought a 32 gig memory card, and I felt $100 was sort of a deal, if only because the thing had originally been annouced at more than that. Sure, it's expensive, but for the experience you get with the machine, it's worth it.

Sanquine

#29

Sanquine said:

@Stuffgamer1 SAY this to the average consumer... I do not understand why the 3ds is flourishing and the vita sells like Cr*p. My parents bought me a N64 and a Playstation when i was young ( Also got a gameboy). But if i had any children now i would give them a vita instead of a 3ds ( I bought a vita for my nephew with uncharted ).

hydeks

#31

hydeks said:

@Hokori casual games are games you can play on and on without any real direction or motive, hardcore has a story, real gameplay etc. I only consider games like Animal Crossing and such to be casual, but Nintendo caters to them the most. Playstation has casual games, just look at LocoRoco and Patapon.

Didn't mean to offend anyone on that comment, casual gamers are still gamers too, I just can't stand to play those types of games :P

Sanquine

#33

Sanquine said:

@hydeks Locoroco and patapon casual ? Animal crossing casual? You sir need do not know what casual means:P

Casual is the as*holl who is sitting next to me in the train playing agry birds ( He is an *SShole because he did not even ask to sit next to me and just sit on my bag and now my sandwhich is totally flat).

charlesnarles

#34

charlesnarles said:

People will only buy a Vita if they can afford it, which usually means working for it. 32 gb of Vita mem is easily worth $100, and buying smaller means paying more proportionately. I bought a 60 gb ps3 new for $600 and still use it, so it doesn't bother me. $400 for my Vita w/ gear, 32 gb card, and ps+ subscription means I'm investing more than my money with Sony, I'm investing my gaming future. Which I'm happy with. Playstation ftw!

rjejr

#35

rjejr said:

I think the same stuff Sony is saying about Vita Nintendo is saying about Wii U. It's the world we live in. Expensive systems with expensive games have to compete with cheap games on other systems people already own.

And oh yeah about half the EU has about a 26% unemployment rate.

bigtakilla

#37

bigtakilla said:

@nathanuc1988 I get your point, the PS3 is doing fine, but it's still the 3rd best selling home console out of 3 systems. They just aren't the giants they used to be with the PS2

bigtakilla

#38

bigtakilla said:

@nathanuc1988 Ummm, they can also argue about the price. Which is probably why I won't own one for another year or two. The PS3 only costs $50 more than there handheld, something about that is just crazy. Also, the game library is... I'd give it good. The N3DS (which I own) gave me around 12 virtual games including Super Mario, Metroid, Dr Mario, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, The Legend Of Zelda, The Adventures Of Link, TLOZ: Minish Cap, TLOZ Four Swords, and others ALL FREE for buying the system when it first came out. (again the games were from the virtual console and only in 2D, but free games.) Then gave us great games for $50 such as Ocarina Of TIme, (although a remake, they did improve the graphics and character designs,) which the 3D was AMAZING for, Tales of The Abyss (another remake with updated graphics and thoroughly impressive and fun 3D game,) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (which was my first experience of the game, though all they done was directly port the game and added SOME 3D,) and Kid Icarus Uprising which also had breathtaking 3D graphics, and just an all around fun game which brings nostalgia. Now, we got Mario 3DS, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Resident Evil: Revelations, and Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D. These are just the games I own, there are other extremely popular games that have been released as well (Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, Mario Kart, Dead Or Alive, Ghost Recon,) that I can't comment on either way because I have not played them. Great upcoming games are Fire Emblem: Awakening, Castlevania: Mirrors Of Fate, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (hopefully), Pokemon X and Y, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, SMT Devil Hunters: Soul Hackers, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii remake with some new content), and a Dragon Quest VII remake. And that's just the games we know of as of now. Point of the story is, the 3DS has a TON of great games, 1st and 3rd party, and looks like they are not slowing down a bit. I know the PS Vita does as well, but the point is for around $150 less per console (best of both consoles), $100 for a memory card (the best), and this is before you add tax. Few people are gonna pay the extra money.

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