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
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