While it’s now host to a pretty strong selection of games, the PlayStation Vita is still struggling to garner the commercial success that it probably deserves. Hardware numbers are catastrophically low, and it’s failing to secure big third-party brands as a result. Despite this, SCEA president Jack Tretton believes that there’s still a big market for the device – irrespective of the growing dominance of smartphones and tablets.
“If you’re really going to change the industry, and you’re going to do something that people are going to remember you for, then you’ve got to take a few risks,” the straight-talking gaffer told IGN in an episode of Up at Noon. “It seemed crazy in 1995 to go up against Nintendo and SEGA, and release [the PSone]. Given smartphones and tablets, a lot of people are now asking, ‘Why do you want to have a dedicated handheld?’ We always thought that there was an opportunity, seeing as not everybody can be at home all of the time, to try and deliver a high quality experience with dual-analogue sticks and a great screen. And I still think that there’s an audience for it.”
Tretton reckons that there’s good reason to believe that the system will rebound, too – even if the platform holder has got its work cut out. “The thing that has me encouraged about the Vita is that the people that have bought the console really enjoy it – they’re very happy with it, and they’re buying a lot of games,” he said. “I think that I said at E3 that owners buy around ten games on average, so we’ve got a dedicated fanbase, it’s just not big enough right now.”
The executive continued that connectivity with the PS4 could boost the handheld’s prospects in the future. “I think that the connection to the PS4 and the ability to play remotely on your Vita will get a lot more people interested in the system, but there’s clearly a lot of work still to be done,” he noted. “We knew that we were going into a really difficult market [from the outset].”
During the interview, the likeable suit took the opportunity to reiterate that Remote Play between the PS4 and Vita will work on launch day, which is definitely an exciting prospect. Still, the handheld is in a bit of a strange spot at the moment, because it genuinely is bursting with solid content. The problem is that while the software in the pipeline is certain to appeal to existing owners, there’s nothing really on the horizon that’s going to prompt prospective buyers to purchase the machine.