There was always going to be a catch. It seems that catch lies with Sony's bottom-line, as the company has confirmed it will be selling the Vita at a loss. We suppose that would be stomachable if it was just six months or so, but no, Sony doesn't expect Vita to be profitable for three-years.
SCE gaffer Kaz Hirai was optimistic about the strategy though. He told Reuters that Sony expects to ship and sell more PlayStation Vitas than the original PSP. Sony's previous handheld was no slouch, and racked up sales of 70 million units during its lifetime. It's too early to tell whether Vita will manage the same level of success, but the device does look genuinely great and that's a solid start.
We're not business analysts, so we can't really comment on Sony's loss-leading strategy. The report doesn't note how much Sony intends to lose on each unit, which could be significant. If its less than $30, Sony should easily make the money back in software sales.
Alas, we're going to assume Sony knows what it's doing. It just seems crazy that the company planning to lose money for three years. By 2014 the PlayStation 4 will almost certainly be on the horizon. Will Sony ever be back in the black?