News Article

Reaction: PlayStation Vita's Prospects Look Poor, But We're Still Smiling

Posted by Sammy Barker

It's not all bad

Sony’s financial report more or less put a nail in the coffin of the PlayStation Vita earlier today. The company revealed that it only expects to sell 5 million handheld consoles over the next twelve months, a reduction of 2 million units compared to the fiscal year that’s just concluded. While the platform holder will pin much of the blame upon the natural decline of the PlayStation Portable, it’s clear that the firm doesn’t feel that its current flagship system is capable of picking up the slack.

The figures represent a sharp change in the organisation’s outlook. Last year the company predicted that it would sell 16 million handheld consoles during the same period, but, after revising that forecast no less than three times, the Japanese giant has severely squashed the category’s prospects. It may be lowballing its estimates somewhat in order to say that it exceeded expectations, but generally that’s not a strategy that’s swallowed by stern-faced shareholders.

And that tells us a lot about what we can expect from the Vita over the coming months. Like many of you, we’d been hoping that E3 would bring some big news for the handheld, but given the platform holder’s sales predictions, it’s looking extremely unlikely. There will be games for the system at the show, of course, but the firm’s forecasts suggest that we shouldn’t anticipate anything major from a commercial stance.

While that’s undeniably disappointing, we’re not convinced that it’s the end of the world. Short of Soul Sacrifice, the well of big budget releases has certainly dried up in recent weeks. And yet, the influx of smaller titles has found us glued to our console more than ever before. The past few months have plotted the introduction of titles such as Thomas Was Alone, Guacamelee, and Dragon Fantasy: Book I, all of which fit the format well. And there’s a wealth of similar software on the horizon, spanning Velocity Ultra, Men’s Room Mayhem, and Lone Survivor.

Sure, these are not the type of titles that are likely to send sales figures through the roof, but Sony’s financial forecasts already indicate that. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to be bad games, though, and while they may not be what you had in mind when you first splashed out on the portable platform, we’re becoming increasingly attracted to these smaller games. Killzone: Mercenary is certain to be an exceptional entry in the first-person franchise, but it’s also unlikely to be something that you can switch on for five minutes before bed. However, the likes of Draw Slasher and – whisper it – Farming Simulator are exactly that.

The platform holder may have marketed the Vita as a home console that fits in your back pocket, but that’s increasingly looking like its least attractive attribute. There will be more games in that vein – we’re certain that there’ll be a sequel to Gravity Rush, for example, while we’re still not entirely sure what Sony Bend’s up to behind closed doors – but it’s the short form experiences combined with the console’s lightning fast operating system and physical inputs that are keeping us smiling. It may not be enough to propel the system to the top of the sales charts, but who cares when what’s on offer is so much fun?

Are you satisfied with the Vita’s software selection at the moment, or are you finding yourself increasingly frustrated by the lack of blockbusters? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.

Are you satisfied with the Vita’s software selection at the moment? (43 votes)

Yes, I’m really enjoying the wealth of smaller indie games


The current line-up’s ok, but I wished there were more retail releases on the way


No, I’m bored of basic titles and want something big


Please login to vote in this poll.

User Comments (22)



irken004 said:

E3 will probably be allll about PS4 and Vita, with less focus on PS3. It looks like a decent year for Vita to me, with Tearaway, KZ Mercenary, and a few others coming out.



InsertNameHere said:

Tearaway, God Eater 2 and Killzone: Mercenary are still on the horizon. GE2 will also be available for PSP, so I don't really expect it to improve Vita sales.

What the Vita needs is an inFAMOUS or GoW game. Those are 2 of the most requested games on YouTube and Facebook, so I have no doubt that they would boost sales (if done right).



ZeD said:

I am loving my Vita at the moment. I have a huge back log of games to get through thanks to PS+. Those critics who say that it has no games need to look at the current and up coming catalog!
I think the Vita will come alive with the launch of the PS4!



tulaib_100 said:

i think sony should finally give up on the handheld market ... and replace it with there Xperias and or make a playstaion phone with dedicated buttons ( xperia plays successor ) and move their focus only on ps3 and ps4.



Gemuarto said:

Companies always have low and high expectations for sales of their products. So, I think Sony still expect 16 millions to be sold, but they tell us only low expectations.



RaymanFan2 said:

I think Santa Monica should do a God of War for Vita (if nothing else they're always able to get the absolute best out of any console they touch, graphics-wise) to show devs exactly how much the Vita can be pushed, and then give the series a rest for a good five years while they figure out what to do with it next.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I've always felt that the handheld experience is better suited to a different style of play than consoles anyway, so I'm just fine with the Vita being populated mostly with smaller games. Growing up, handhelds had a distinctly different feel from consoles...and I LIKE that; I miss it.

While I wouldn't say the Vita is overflowing with content, it's certainly got enough to be selling better than it is. I still think the #1 sales barrier is the price of storage. Sure, I was willing to plop down $100 for the biggest card at launch, but many people aren't...and I don't really blame them. There's no WAY this proprietary card format is expensive enough to make to justify the sale price, and it would definitely be in Sony's best interest to FIX IT!



capac said:

Sony simple and quick solution! a little bit cheaper on the system and bigger cheaper memory cards!!!!! or at least a micro sd adapter?!?!
Now days a 32gb just isn't enough, and don't give me that "store it on content manager"
or "the psvita wasn't made for carrying a ton of stuff" poopies. There are way to many complaints about the memorycard price and limiting size of it. So what I suggest is to get your lazy donkeys up and make a bigger card.
jeez even the 3ds kicked your booties on that!



rastamadeus said:

Same problem as the PSP, they made a console and shrunk it into a handheld as opposed to making a portable console.It's never worked. Just look at how many handheld consoles have bombed against the Gameboy/DS/3DS purely because they are made as portable consoles. The PSP did relatively well thanks to Monster Hunter in Japan and Sony really didn't need Capcom going Nintendo-only with that series but it makes sense from a business view.
If Sony want to save the Vita (if they really want PS4 owners to have one, less cross play becomes yet another failed gimmick) they need to stop all this crap about memory card prices, cut the price of the machine and - as much as I don't want them, preferring new stuff - bring out a version of everyone of their franchises.



rjejr said:

Is it too soon for "nail in the coffin" talk? I was told "too soon" when I wrote Nintendo not having a big E3 presentation was the 1st nail in the WiiUs coffin.

Did the PSPgo get any nails or is it simply buried in an unmarked grave?

I prefer PSN games on the PS3 due to fun and price but I wouldnt have bought the system for them. I think thats Vitas big problem, small games are great, but nobody in their right mind is laying out $249 plus memory card costs to get the chance to play them. AAA retail games sell the systems.



AVahne said:

Price drop Vita to $200, price drop memory cards by at least 50% so that they'll still be overpriced but not TOO overpriced, and bring back the White Vita. Actually, more color options in general would help. Also make sure to bring us God Eater 2.
Only then will they be able to even get anywhere close to selling 5 million in a year.



Squiggle55 said:

I'll be sad if the vita fails, and sad if devs stop making games for it, but, honestly, if I can remote play all of my PS4 games on it that's practically all I will need.



NathanUC said:

Sure, I'd like more games but I really don't think it's bad at all. Vita really does have a very good library already and still solid support for this year.

Here are games I'm looking forward to:
Ys: Memories of Celceta (never played a Ys game, but heard great things), Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway, Valhalla Knights 3, Jak Collection, Final Fantasy X HD collection, Metal Gear Rising (?), and MO FRAKIN Ratchet and Clank.



charlesnarles said:

Not to beat a dead horse, but games really need to start running at native resolution on Vita's resoundingly stunning screen! Small games are fine and dandy, but I also need to be visually impressed occasionally. (I know what 1280x768 or 800x600 looks like on an old cathode monitor, so shouldn't 960x544 blow that away on a 5" OLED? I feel like the quality is comparable, I guess)



Gamer83 said:


As much as I'd hate to see that happen because I have enjoyed a lot of games on the Vita, it would be the best decision for the company moving forward. Sony has to be careful with how it phases Vita out but within two years its run should probably be over. The main focus has to be PS4, if it performs like PS3 from 2006-2008, Sony is in trouble.



rastamadeus said:

@rjejr The difference between the Wii U and Vita is Sony could easily cut the cord and move on while Nintendo will continue supporting their machine. Imagine if Mario Kart, Zelda and Smash 4 were coming to Vita and how much they'd sell and consoles people would buy for them. That's what will happen to the Wii U. It'll never reach the sales heights of the true next gen machines but it will pick up. Sony need to do similar. I hate Gran Turismo and think God Of War is the most boring series alive but both sell (except the last GOW). Put them on Vita with other big names - sorry Killzone, you're not a big name enough to be a system seller - and they'll sell like hot cakes



neumaus said:

I'm happy with what's coming out this year (speaking only of retail and err, not indie downloads). Even though I want more I'm already so swamped with all the PSP/Vita/PS3 games I have >_> I have so many that I'm overwhelmed when it comes to choosing what to play. And in the next month/month-half I'll be adding like three more games and one new system to my collection xD

@nathanuc1988 Never played an Ys game?! You must!! You can easily grab Ys Origin on Steam (really good entry in the series AND unique in that you don't play as silent badass Adol). I also highly recommend Ys Oath in Felghana (both on Steam and PSP/Vita), and Ys Chronicle I & II (PSP/Vita). The new Ys coming out is more like Ys Seven, which is arguably one of the easier games in the series and a bit different than the rest. Felghana and Origin is where it's at!



GraveLordXD said:

@neumaus I second that Ys is awesome and its the reason I'll be getting a vita in the first place Ys memories of celceta! Didn't know oath was available on vita
My first Ys was for snes wonders from Ys and loved it, I never played Ys 7 so don't know how memories will compare I thought it was going to be like origin, hope memories isn't to easy or has hard mode or something. I'm sure I'll like it either way though




Sony don't need to phase the Vita out. They aren't reportedly making any losses on it, so no need to shut the door. They've wisely revised their own expectations of the market and shifted focus to PS4 launch, and why wouldn't they?

It's a great system, with plenty of content. Yes the price may be a barrier, the memory cards are ridiculously priced- but there's tons of content.

The PS4 could be the saving grace for Vita- especially for those who already own the system. If Remote Play comes off well this time, vita is pretty safe.
I love my Vita, I have plenty to play, and replay and haven't even touched at least 70% of the PSN content on offer.

I treat it the same as I did my PSPs, mostly play at home, take it pretty much everywhere too. Different situations call for different games, there's plenty of room for every genre on Vita.



Gamer83 said:


I'm convinced at this point nothing will get the Vita to sell. While I'd like to see God of War and Gran Turismo on Vita, it's more important they get them on PS4 first. The only thing that might sell the Vita is GTA and even that's a risk Sony shouldn't take because of what it would cost to get Rockstar to do that.



rastamadeus said:

@Gamer83 It's a double edged sword as they want Cross Play to be huge so people need Vita's and short of a miracle they need to invest money and games into it. If they do they get the money back and everybody is happy. If they don't they risk losing customers who'll be wary of them. The PS4 won't really take off until 2015 (people sticking to this gen, games sticking to this gen) so I'd say this is when they should be putting titles on the Vita - or both Vita and PS4.



Gamer83 said:

As cool as I think Cross Play could be the fact is most consumers won't ever care about it, it will never be essential to the experience like Live is for Xbox. The PS division was at its best when there was a singular focus. It tried the handheld market, gave us two very nice machines but unfortunatley it hasn't worked out. Sony has to get the PS division going again, best way to do that, and I hate saying this because I truly do like the system, is phase Vita out and put the vast majority of its effort into PS4. If GT 6 is in fact a PS3 game (a move I still consider a mistake), that has to be the last big one from first parties. Third parties I understand not moving on so quickly but for Sony it needs to be PS4 all the time. Another PS3 06-08 type performance is big trouble.

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