News Article

PS Vita Will Die a Slow and Painful Death, Says Michael Pachter

Posted by Sammy Barker

Sony's portable business to disappear with it

It’s a strange time for the PlayStation Vita. Sales of the handheld system aren’t anywhere near as high as the hardware arguably deserves, but there have been signs in Japan that the device is really starting to pick up speed. Furthermore, while the install base is admittedly low, the attach rate is reportedly uncharacteristically high, evidencing Sony’s own statements that the portable is a well-loved platform despite its disappointing sales.

For industry analyst Michael Pachter, though, the positive news is outweighed heavily by the negative – and he thinks that the format is going to fade out as a result. “Vita is a little bit too elegant and a little too expensive,” he told Game Informer. “I always feel like I'm going to break it. But then it has relatively few games because they are complicated to make and the market is so small. You’re just going to see it die a slow, painful death.”

Pachter believes that the portable is too high-end for the market, with many preferring smartphones to dedicated devices – and he doesn’t believe that the compatibility with the PlayStation 4 via Remote Play will solve anything. “I don't quite get it,” he admitted, adding that while the features are “cool”, he doesn’t really see the off-screen play as a selling point. “I think that most people who have competing concerns about the use of the console versus watching TV have their console on a different TV.”

So, what’s the future of Sony’s handheld business? There isn’t one, according to Pachter. “I just think that they misjudged the size of the market and launched it into this storm of mobile destroying the casual end of dedicated handhelds. And Nintendo's not giving up much share on the hardcore side, because they have three games to every one Sony game, and they are good games.” Feeling depressed yet?

In truth, it’s hard to really argue with the suit’s sentiments – but we still have some hope that the handheld’s rabid fanbase will continue to be supplied with software for the foreseeable future. Given that the release schedule is starting to look a bit meatier these days, publishers are clearly seeing opportunities on the system, even if they’re not enormous ones. It may not have the brightest future ahead of it, then, but we don’t think that a “slow, painful death” is quite on the cards.


User Comments (60)



Alex115 said:

I don't get it. Vita is so cheap. Cheaper than buying a smartphone, for far better gaming quality.
Also “I think that most people who have competing concerns about the use of the console versus watching TV have their console on a different TV" - Having two TVs cheaper than buying a Vita?



get2sammyb said:

@Alex115 I guess his point is that people get phones on a contract and find an adequate experience on those. While the likes of you and I are unlikely to be satisfied by that gaming experience, for a lot of people the premium of a Vita is not worth paying for.

I don't personally agree with it, but I can see the angle that he's coming from. It's very unfortunate, mind.



Alex115 said:

@get2sammyb Yeah I guess, peoples obsessions with phones have never made sense to me haha. Iv had my iPhone 3GS for like 5 years now, I use safari twitter nhl app and facebook chat on it basically, dreading the day it breaks and I have to spend money on a new one ):



get2sammyb said:

@Alex115 We are kindred spirits - I only just upgraded to a 'smartphone', and even then it's a really low-tier Samsung one that couldn't even play a round of Snake if it wanted to.



moomoo said:

@Savino I think you're misjudging his comments. When he describes poor sales, he's comparing it with what Nintendo wants. That's DS numbers, which the 3DS just won't be able to do. The people that bought DS systems just for Brain Age or Imagine games aren't going to buy a 3DS.

And from what I can tell, the XL really didn't spike up 3DS interest. The games did that. And even then, the west still hasn't bought into the 3DS at the levels Japan has, so he's still correct, at least where I stand.

As for his Vita comments... people don't seem to care about dedicated handhelds as much as they used to. It sucks, since I love portables, but most people seem content with their phones. I hope he's wrong, but I see little in the way of him being right.



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

What? Its half the price of the average top end smart phone psvita £150 nexus 5 £320. Its not expensive at all. Sony have done a pathetic job at marketing the vita. I didn't even know about it until I looked into buying a PS4. I had only really heard of the PSP. That mans a lot of casual gamers or your average Joe won't have a clue what vita is. Its never on shelves in shops. Its never advertised on TV. Where exactly are the first party exclusives advertised on TV? Don't make me laugh. Lack of marketing, lack of exclusives, slightly pricey software, stupidly priced SD memory cards. Whoever is in charge or marketing the vita should be moved along swiftly and someone with common sense should be put it charge.



Alex115 said:

@get2sammyb Aye I assume thats what ill eventually do. Perfectly happy to keep my 3GS for as long as possible though, only thing thats ever broke is the silent button



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

@get2sammyb yeah I agree, I never have enjoyed any kind of game on my phone, its all rubbish. It's equivalent to joining an art group and being given a paint by numbers booklet. For me mobile gaming is atrocious and why waste time on your phone when I can be earning trophies playing my vita!



eaglebob345 said:

@Savino I was about to say the same thing.

Sony has the power and potential to pull through too they just need to stop trying to compete with Microsoft and get back to what their fans love them for, great games.



Sanquine said:

I hope he isn't right. Even so if Japanese audience support the vita we will get some niche RPG. Something i care about! I have got some really awesome experiences on vita.. It will be a shame though.. if vita dies ( How ironic vita means life:P)



italodance said:

I have both PSVITA and iOS and have to say most mobile games are so weak in compare to handheld consoles such as PS VITA,Do you think FIFA14, injustice:Gods Among Us,Rayman,Assassin's Creed on Smartphones are really better than PS VITS's? No they are just names and there's nothing inside them,so it's funny to hear this out from someone who even didn't play games on both devices to compare them first better play games then talk about them or consoles....



Punished_Boss_84 said:

Well if it keeps going the way its going that will eventually happen and carving out a niche for niche games is no global future.
In Japan it will be fine, elsewhere is the problem. Sony's strategy is the problem.



JavierYHL said:

there are so many great games in japan for vita...if sony would do something to bring them over...



ReigningSemtex said:

Well I want to get a vita badly at the moment because they are pretty cheap now and there is plenty of games out to keep me busy and then obviously the remote play with ps4, which is another reason if you have a ps4 chances are you have ps+ and by not having a vita you are missing out on a chunk of the 'free' games each month.



Epic said:

With Sony focusing with the ps4 this might turn out to be true, but they indeed still have some time to pull out a comeback, just like Nintendo with the 3DS, just release Vita TV con the states and they might be able to grab some sales



FullbringIchigo said:

ahh pachter, the biggest bull ****** on the planet, why do people even still pay any attention to him?



charlesnarles said:

Dude, it's only been out for like a year and a half, and it's way cheaper now than it was at launch when I got mine. What's not to get, btw? Would calling it "PSP touchscreen/pad dual-sticks" have helped folks understand? If they can get PS1-4 games streaming via different IP addresses, then they'll be golden. Hopefully by Vita 2.0 (and maybe even r2/l2!)



Bliquid said:

Yes ! Yes!
Thank you, Pacthy!
This year's Vita sales wil soar through the sky, now!



hamispink said:

I don't have any doubt that he's right, but as long as there are still Indy games coming, and if Sony keeps putting out a few great games a year, I'll be perfectly happy with a slow and not so painful death.



Gemuarto said:

i don't know what I can tell about that. Vita has a lot of great games and far from dying.



Vorlon said:

My 3G Vita is my favorite console and I own all PlayStation consoles and an iPad Air.



divinelite said:

Now I can understand why wii u owner really hate this guy...
But in a broader view, he just point out the truth I think

Vita (and maybe wii u, because I have none) are great when you finally play it yourself, but with the games like this it's hard to recommend to others

Even when I have 100 games for vita and only about 5 on 3ds, I can recommend to others easier for 3ds (hey dawg, pokemon and zelda are so great) buy kinda hard for vita (hey tearaway is fantastic... Only replied at what's is it?)



3Above said:

This is the same Pachter who said the XboxOne would be subsized by internet and cable companies and the skype would be its 'killer app' so...... yeah I dont believe him.



JaxonH said:

I hope both the Vita and Wii U go on to much success in their lifespans, just to shove it in this guy's face. I can understand predicting low sales- that's his job, but the "I don't get it" statements are almost insulting. He said the same thing about Wii U. It's not hard to understand... but I guess this is what we get anytime a company does something different. He says "uh, I don't get it"



Carl-G said:

I just think SONY should forget about handhelds really after the PSVita. The PSVita is excellent(i got 1) But just think all those games that have been for just the PSVita(&the PSP in the past) could of been made for the PS3(& PS2 in the past) and the PS3 & PS2 would of been even better Gaming consoles.



Gemuarto said:

@Carl-G Games on handhelds and consoles have very different budgets =(. So, no, I think handhelds brought to us a lot of games that couldn't even exist otherwise.



Slapshot said:

Vita's software is a sad state in comparison to its incredible hardware. I've seen nothing that shows it improving much either.



Seegaramcast said:

@eaglebob345 They need to market as it's own system instead of it being separate screen for you PS4 I'm tired of it being some third wheel to a console remote play isn't the only thing it can do.



3Above said:

Its funny, for the PSP one of the biggest complaints was the 1 analog stick. Now the Vita has 2 analog sticks but where are all those complainers? Playing Kid Icarus on 3ds with 1 analog nub and a stylus. Does that make ANY sense?



eaglebob345 said:

@Seegaramcast They are trying to compete with Microsoft while copying Nintendo, instead of doing their own thing. That's their biggest problem. They need to make their own image instead of piggy-backing off of the success of something of their rivals. Sony did not need to make online play mandatory, but, they need more money for money-hatting to compete with Microsoft. They did not need a Mario Kart knock-off or a Super Smash Bros. knock-off, but, they wanted to copy off of Nintendo. Vita should be treated as a handheld of its own but, again, they felt the need to copy off of Nintendo. I want them to get back to their greatness, not lie to my face and say that the PS4+Vita will kill the Wii U whilst simultaneously trying to out spend Microsoft on third party support.



eaglebob345 said:

@3Above alot of people still complain about the one analog stick. I don't mind because the touch screen makes up for in MH3U and Kid Icarus, for me at least.



Slapshot said:

@Gemuarto Err... no. I'm referring to the Vita's library as a whole. The handheld is designed to be the ultimate gaming platform, yet very few of the games that we've gotten since launch are reflective of this. We've seen that this console can produce incredible portable gameplay offerings with the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Killzone: Mercenary, but what next really pushes the bar forward?

Vita needs exclusive Gran Turismo, MotorStorm, God of War and other hit titles to make it a worthy offering in the mainstream gamers' eyes.

For me, I'm a huge Indie fan. The fact that the Indie love keeps on comin' for the Vita keeps me one very happy Vita owner. But my gaming taste aren't reflective of the industry as a whole and I know this - I spent the majority of my day playing freeware Indie PC games.



jmburks said:

I can see Sony deciding not to make another handheld in the future. I think the handheld is a dying market with how good tablets and phones are getting with games. with that being said, i love my Vita and i'll play until it dies. It is definitely one of those systems that you dont really appreciate unitl you own it but once you own it you love it. I have a huge baglog of games to play thanks to ps+ so i will be playing my vita for a long time to come. Especially if the keep up with the indy games. i cant wait to get some time with olliolli!



Gamer83 said:

For the first time ever, I think Pachter has a prediction that will no doubt come to fruition. Sony made a few too many missteps with the Vita, it's an awesome piece of hardware but pricing, lack of advertising and lack of killer games from third parties like GTA, MGS, etc have hurt it big time.

I'm a big fan of the Vita myself, it's too bad it never really took off, but fortunately, 3DS is doing fine and as long as Nintendo's around there will be great dedicated gaming devices in the portable market. Until Nintendo falters in that part of the market, and it hasn't yet in over two decades, I don't really think good handheld gaming is dying. And I hope it doesn't. The other mobile devices are complete garbage, I would never want to have to go to the awful i or android devices for portable gaming.



luyourck said:

Ok let me explain why the Vita will not only survive but pick up sales. PS4 Link.
You may not get it but maybe you don't have a girlfriend who just has to watch her favorite show and you want to play your ps4. Turn on vita and ps4 link and you are in your favorite game. Or maybe your in another room or outside or just want to use it as a second controller. Trust me I have had to give up the tv to my significant other but don't need to sacrifice playing need 4 speed while she is watching springer. Want to do a quick check on messages you are in fact if the ps4 is in standby the vita can even turn it on. it gives more functionality to the playroom "I know its kinda gimmicky now but think of where we will be in a year. free game if you are a ps+ member and if you have a ps4 you probably are. cross play with ps3 was a decent concept but full control of your ps4 and all its games is an absolute win. Think of what that could mean if they can get it to connect using hotspots away from home or 3g. Its a ps4 in your pocket. There is nothing even close to that out there right now. I have a Ps3/4/xb1/vita/pc and macbook pro so I can really see the value of the vita. if they change the ps3 interface to worl like the ps4 omg you now have an absolute winner. don't count it out yet.



Superconsole said:

I can't explain how much I want the Vita to do well. I feel very deeply and emotionally attached the handheld now. I just hope Sony can provide some killer games to really inspire those who haven't picked one up yet!



Sutorcen said:

Thanks mr. Pachter you've put a smile on my face. This was so hilarious.



Sanquine said:

@Superconsole Same feeling.. I would be devastated if the vita dies.. I would be heartbroken if the handhelds wouldnt have a future anymore...



Superconsole said:

@Sanquine I think I actually prefer handhelds to home consoles. They're just so much more convenient and enjoyable to play in either long or short bursts. I'm glad the 3DS is doing well, it's got some great games now, but now I have a Vita it's enraging how far superior a machine it is, and yet how much worse the sales figures are at the moment.

I think it also has a lot to do with how shops display Vita consoles and games on the shelves. I don't know about you guys, but whenever I go into GAME I have to search really hard to find the Vita section. It's normally on the lowest shelf possible hidden underneath either PS3 or PS4 gear, and just a single row of preowned copies of boring games - hardly going to inspire any sales...



MadchesterManc said:

I remember when the DS was thrashing the PsP in sales and people were saying similar things, but look at the PsP now. Nearly 80 million sales & still featuring in sales charts to this day with new releases (in Japan mainly) Im not sure the Vita could be a slow burner like the PsP, but I wouldn't write it off just yet



Sutorcen said:

Touchscreen - check
Touchpad - check
Dual sticks - check
Gorgeous display - check
Online multiplayer - check
Remote play - check
PSX and PSP back catalogoue - check
Great graphics - check
Great games - check

What more can you ask from a gaming device???

All it needs are, a price cut, better battery and cheaper memory cards all of which can and (I hope) will be, addressed in the near future. Apart from those things this device rocks.




@Superconsole Hard pressed to find actual human beings going in GAME, not just Vita stuff.

I like his use of 3 to 1 games line, as DS is much like Wii or PS2, loads of games, most of them crap/kiddy fodder.



Shellybird27 said:

lol, the VITA WON'T DIE. even f it continues to have these 'niche' sells, it won't die. Jesus Christ, it's doing fine. why does everyone got to be so pessimistic.



jmburks said:


I think you make really good points and i agree with all of that but the thing is, i'm already a Vita owner. the problem the Vita is having is selling to people who dont know what it is. they dont do enough to promote it. The people who already have a VIta see all of these great things and love their vita for it but its a matter of getting new buyers to get one.



jmburks said:

I dont think the Vita will ever die just because the people who do own one love them. As long as they keep making games for it it will be fine for a long time. I just dont see Sony making future version. i think the Vita will be the last handheld that Sony makes. Like i said previously i plan on playing my Vita until the thing dies. i love it.



goonow said:

If nintendo makes another handheld so will sony. Sony also has big first party titles that they put on their handhelds. Pachter is quick to say what will fail, as if he is the last nail in the coffin.



Wiredguytv said:

I do really like my PSVita but I do feel, Sony have ignored the Vita outside North America. Sony could expand the apps available, such as Netflix for Europe/UK but they continue to ignore us, whilst the US gets it all. Just tried downloading the E3 App for 2014 for PS4 (I know its not Vita) and again no listing for the UK. Come on Sony support the Vita and us European players!!

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