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Tretton: PlayStation Vita's Got a Dedicated Fanbase, It's Just Not Big Enough

Posted by Sammy Barker

Growing pains

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.


User Comments (18)



CrazyOtto said:

Not talking about it much back at E3 2012 really hurt it. They need to advertise it more.



InsertNameHere said:

I think remote play will work to it's advantage as well. Especially if it works the way I think/hope it will - they haven't been to clear on it, so I don't want to get excited for nothing.

@MrSRArter Apparently Gamescom will will be a "Vita show". So they most likely have some secret content lined-up for it.



JGMR said:

Keep in mind that that "catastrophic" prospect is a worst-case scenario.



MadchesterManc said:

Ive always been interested in the Vita. I still use the PsP so a dedicated gaming handheld is definately a part of how things in my life work. The only barrier was price. Ive recently seen wifi Vita's used for as low as £99, so my interest has peaked a lot lately. The Ps4 is another factor in a purchase as the remote play aspect would be great for me.

Ive always wondered this about remote play, deos it work over your internet? so If im at work can I access my console at home somehow via remote play? I might have to test this with my PsP n Ps3 but Ive never really used remote play before



JavierYHL said:

yup love the vita...spendng more time with the vita than my ps3 and 3ds...but i feel the problem with vita is it needs more range of games,,,phantasy star online 2 for the west would be a good start



Gamer83 said:

I think it has a nice range of games what it needs are bigger name games. GTA, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy (even if it is beyond trash now), Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, etc. And it needs any entry in these franchises to be exclusive. As is always said though, it's a double edged sword. It needs the games to sell but it needs to sell to get the games.



ShogunRok said:

I think he's pretty much spot on.

At this juncture, the Vita's only hope is the arrival of the PS4 and how popular true remote play becomes. I can't see any game turning the Vita's fortune around.



rjejr said:

"Given smartphones and tablets," - almost all run on SD or micro SD cards - "a lot of people are now asking," - why Sony came up w/ a super expensive propitiatory format of it's own.

I know the answer to that question is "piracy" but having the PS3 have a swappable industry standard HDD and the Vita run on - well what the heck is that thing called anyway, at least the PSP had Duo - seems weird to me. Even if the Vita ran on the Pro Duo that would have been a big improvement. At least people might have had one or two of those laying around. Silly Sony.



mibtar said:

Just drop the damned price already. Unit and memory cards. It's time for Sony to take one for the team. Let's face it price drop is the only thing that can sell the vita, let's stop wasting time waiting for a killer app that's not coming. Just do a Nintendo please.



chazaroonie said:

@MadchesterManc That's exactly how it works. As long as you home console is connected to your internet and your psp/vita are connected to a WiFi signal it should work. I use it to stream play tv or the BBC iPlayer to my psp or vita mostly. I'm pretty excited for remote playing games though. Try it out, if Sony can get it to work like they claim, it could be a killer usp. If you can get a pre owned vita for £99 then don't put it off. I don't know anyone who owns a vita who regrets buying it. I love mine.



LampShade said:

Is a waste of time, like supporting the ps2 the entire life of the ps3, it's a dead system,I wouldn't buy a handheld that cost the same as a console, moron



jgrangervikings1 said:

The remote play is important to me now, but wasn't even on my radar when I bought my Vita. I love my Vita. I got really excited last night when I popped in my God of War Collection disc on PS3 and it downloaded a patch to make remote play compatible with Vita. Then, this morning I bought Shadow of the Collosus on PSN on sale for $5 and that game also downloaded a patch to make it remote play compatible on Vita. It's been a great 4th of July so far.



Matt_Berial said:

I would get a Vita but I'm getting a PS4 so I'll be short on cash. I hope that they can make a PS4+Vita bundle, now I would pay for that, I have wanted a Vita for a long time.



Mordresh said:

Just give it more time, as if the PS3 was all that epic the first year or two, it received a lot of negative press, the exclusive games mediocre and the multi-platform titles horrible compared to 360, look to the PS3 now. In short, dont panic, the thing has just become one year old back in March.



Reverandjames said:

@Mordresh THIS!!! I'm so sick of hearing people say that it's a dead system! What were people saying about the 3DS a year in? There were hardly any games for it besides the obvious Mario and Mario Kart titles, and now 2 years in, it's got loads of games.
The only danger I can foresee is that people seem afraid to develop AAA titles because of the price involved and the potential lack of sales to support it.
When the PS4 comes out, more people will buy the VIta and hence more games will get developed for it.

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