Despite an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the diminutive device, Sony’s brand new PS Vita TV hasn’t exactly enjoyed a rip-roaring start in its native Japan. The microscopic machine – which launched last month in the region – started out strong with sales of 40k units during its first week available, but it quickly slumped to just 7k units in its second week on store shelves.
The slow uptake may be disappointing, but the platform holder’s bullish about the product's prospects regardless – and it still sees an opportunity to bring the technology overseas. Speaking with Eurogamer.net, group president Andrew House explained that this is still a relatively new idea for the Eastern market, and that’s why it decided to launch there first.
“This may sound slightly counter-intuitive, but we wanted to launch in Japan first because I feel there really hasn't been a critical driver or device that's driven the adoption of streaming content overall,” he said. “It's still very much in a nascent stage in Japan compared to some of the markets in Europe or the US.”
For those out of the loop, the micro-console uses the features and functionality of the PlayStation Vita's operating system in order to deliver video streaming services, games, and, in the future, PlayStation 4 Remote Play. In truth, it’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades product, but the appeal of the hardware hasn’t been overlooked in the West, where the platform has been fervently requested by fans.
It's a plea that the manufacturer has heard. “It's a very different landscape when you look at the US and Europe – much greater establishment of streaming video services, and much greater understanding of what that concept's all about,” House continued. “We see strong market potential elsewhere in the world, but it will be a different road to market for the US and Europe than has been the case in Japan.”
Eurogamer.net speculates that Sony may be waiting until Gaikai launches before releasing the device in different territories. The streaming service would add another tick to the unit’s checklist, allowing you not only to watch videos and browse the web, but also play potentially thousands of PlayStation 3 games courtesy of the cloud. The online network is set to launch next year in North America.
The big question is: would you find a use for the device if it did launch overseas? It’s clear that Sony’s giving the idea a lot of thought, but like House suggests, with Roku boxes common in the Western world, PS Vita TV may need to offer much more than limited game compatibility in order to have an impact in Europe and North America. Broadcast your thoughts in the comments section below.