Things may not be as bad as they seem

Sony’s financial forecasts did not paint a very promising future for the PlayStation Vita last week. The company predicted that it would sell 5 million portable platforms over the next twelve months, more or less indicating that it’s given up hope on its latest handheld. But fresh from teasing the imminent announcement of an “amazingly big title”, SCEE’s senior business development manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad has hinted that the console’s outlook may not be as dire as it seems.

"Sometimes things can happen, and they can dramatically change the evolution in terms of sales of a platform," he told Gamasutra in an extensive interview. “But what you can never do is say, 'We're definitely counting for this kind of increase.' So, you can put plans into motion and say 'We're trying this approach, that approach,' and if something comes off, it's going to be fantastic."

As such, Ahmad explained that the estimate may simply be a worst case scenario should none of Sony’s initiatives go to plan. “Looking back at the performance of different consoles over the course of history, sometimes you've had slow starts which have been suddenly sprung into life by a number of activities,” he said. “What you don't say ahead of time is, 'Oh this will and that will happen, and suddenly we'll have a massive spike in sales.' It's not the sort of thing that companies do."

Outside of the rich selection of indie games – many of which are the fruits of Ahmad’s tireless labour – the release schedule does look a little bare for the Vita. The likes of Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary are still on the horizon, of course, but the platform will need more than two retail titles if it is to reverse its current commercial woes. Let’s hope that E3 brings news of some big games next month – we may even hear something from Polyphony Digital later today.