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Sony's PS Vita Already Doomed? Devs Bailing Out?

By - Source: Gamasutra | B 38 comments

Is the PlayStation Vita handheld doomed already?

Over the last few months, we've watched the number of PlayStation Vita units sold in Japan diminish dramatically. It seemingly started out with a bang, selling 324,859 units in the first week. But then in the second week, the number of sold units took a steep nosedive with a meager 72,479 units. The numbers continued to fall, seeing 42,648 units in the third week and only 8,361 units in the fourth week. But at the same time, Sony said it remained hopeful due to the success of the Nintendo 3DS.

As if those numbers weren't bad enough, the news that the original PSP handheld is still outselling Sony's new portable is the cherry on top. What's more, Japan's Nikkei newspaper reports that Japanese developers are abandoning their Vita projects and choosing to develop for the Nintendo 3DS instead. The news reportedly stems from an anonymous source in the Japanese gaming industry.

"Major Japanese companies are canceling all projects intended for the Vita and are changing development to the 3DS," the source specifically said.

Naturally Sony retaliated, saying that the company sees "extremist quotes" like this one all the time. "I mean, obviously, there is no way anyone could stand in front of a camera and say that all developers are changing focus from one platform to another, no matter what it is," said Scott Rohde, Sony's senior vice president of Worldwide Studios.

He goes on to say that the comment was largely exaggerated, that he knew of numerous third party developers that are currently hammering out titles for the new handheld, and will keep on developing titles for the platform for the foreseeable future. He doesn't even think the comment is pointing to a possible trend.

"You can, whatever -- rewind two years ago," he said. "Every developer you knew was selling -- going towards -- I was going to say 'selling their soul', it almost came out -- to go build games for Zynga and the Facebook platform. And there's another time when you see everyone is going to do smaller iPad games, or iOS games in general. Then it was PS3, it was 360, it's Vita, it's 3DS. It's always, constantly changing. It's not something that concerns me whatsoever."

The PlayStation Vita launches here in the States next week, and already the software reviews are somewhat "meh." Uncharted reigns as the current king with scores ranging from 7.0 to 9.5. Wipeout 2048 also seems to be doing well, as does Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Hotshots Golf. Reality Fighters, Little Deviants, and ModNation Racers: Road Trip are receiving less favorable reviews thus far.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    mauller07 , February 17, 2012 11:26 AM
    It would sell far better if the 3G version was also a fully functional phone, at its price it might aswell be a phone/portable console.
  • 10 Hide
    t_wilson , February 17, 2012 11:21 AM
    "He goes on to say that the comment was largely exaggerated"

    You're not denying it, so there must be some truth behind it. Where there is smoke...
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    de5_Roy , February 17, 2012 11:21 AM
    nice!
    this thing needs to be priced around $120-150 at launch.
    smartphones cost more, but they also do more. psv is aiming for a niche market without even knowing. sony shouldn't expect high sales numbers from it.
  • 10 Hide
    t_wilson , February 17, 2012 11:21 AM
    "He goes on to say that the comment was largely exaggerated"

    You're not denying it, so there must be some truth behind it. Where there is smoke...
  • 10 Hide
    mauller07 , February 17, 2012 11:26 AM
    It would sell far better if the 3G version was also a fully functional phone, at its price it might aswell be a phone/portable console.
  • 6 Hide
    stingstang , February 17, 2012 11:40 AM
    Hold on hold on... There's something wrong here.
    "Sony said it remained hopeful due to the success of the Nintendo 3DS"
    AH! There it is...
  • 3 Hide
    NuclearShadow , February 17, 2012 11:43 AM
    I think the Vita will do fine when it comes to games, obviously Nintendo is going to be with the vast majority of games like it did when it was the DS vs PSP but the Vita is going to end up with notable exclusive games and a decent library to back it rather than a onslaught of games with good games but they mostly come from obvious franchises to expect while most of the rest will be nothing memorable.

    I advise just waiting about a year. Wait till the next holiday season when a bunch of new games will be coming out and there will already be a list of games that are known for their quality. This will also providing it's expensive accessories like the memory cards for less and likely get a bundle deal with the console itself.
  • -6 Hide
    digitalzom-b , February 17, 2012 11:49 AM
    They need to stop wasting time on these stupid hand-helds, especially Sony since they don't seem to sell well ever. With the path tablets and phones are taking, this type of device is hardly demanded. The marketing is off too, the name is just weird and isn't catchy.

    Wish they'd focus on the NG so PC games stop suffering.
  • 1 Hide
    Netherscourge , February 17, 2012 11:52 AM
    Vita should have been a smartphone/handheld on steroids.

    Sony missed the boat... AGAIN.
  • 0 Hide
    waxdart , February 17, 2012 11:54 AM
    mauller07It would sell far better if the 3G version was also a fully functional phone, at its price it might aswell be a phone/portable console.

    Totally. In the UK ( I guess in the US too) people are willing to sign up for two year contacts for a phone that also play games - Why not a console that also does calls. I play games more than I make calls and I can get bluetooth head sets so its not awkward to use as a phone. I'll not carry both and I need a phone.
  • 5 Hide
    Vladislaus , February 17, 2012 11:56 AM
    de5_roynice!this thing needs to be priced around $120-150 at launch. smartphones cost more, but they also do more. psv is aiming for a niche market without even knowing. sony shouldn't expect high sales numbers from it.

    Why should it be cheaper than a iPod Touch? Also the only thing that the PS Vita doesn't do that smartphones do is calling and texting. Does this account for the price difference? No.
  • 5 Hide
    nukemaster , February 17, 2012 12:10 PM
    PS3 had a very slow start as well.
  • 5 Hide
    FlayerSlayer , February 17, 2012 12:13 PM
    For the PSP, I waited until the early models (heavy, faulty drives, expensive) gave way to thinner units with better screens. Then I picked up a PSP-3000 for half the price at launch and actually had good games available. My plan is the same this time. I will get the PS Vita Slim when there's actually something fun to play on it. Maybe others are waiting too?
  • -2 Hide
    billybobser , February 17, 2012 12:18 PM
    Hey, Hey Sony.

    I've got an idea.

    Make a peripheral for Sony/Ericcson phones. It plugs into the usb, it clamps to the phone, and it gives the phone 4 button and a 4 way digipad. (and you can take it off when you're done, so you're not lugging around a brick that occasionally plays games)

    Result: Univeral availability, no need to purchase a 'gaming' phone, mass game developers heading your way, then take your pound of flesh for using your format.

    Would probably boost your lacklustre phone sales too.

  • -3 Hide
    lasaldude , February 17, 2012 12:23 PM
    Just put COD on it and they will sell millions! BOOM I should just work for Sony since they have no idea what they are doing!
  • 2 Hide
    tomfreak , February 17, 2012 12:34 PM
    because it is a Gaming device, it SHOULD not have the same battery life as a smartphone. Put on a 24hours gaming without charging.

    The only thing limit me on phone gaming is the battery life.
  • 0 Hide
    cronik93 , February 17, 2012 1:21 PM
    Maybe the lack of advertising? I didn't hear about it until a month or two ago...
  • 1 Hide
    aftcomet , February 17, 2012 1:33 PM
    cronik93Maybe the lack of advertising? I didn't hear about it until a month or two ago...


    Then you didn't watch E3.
  • 4 Hide
    dextermat , February 17, 2012 1:33 PM
    Is it hackable :p 
  • 2 Hide
    lassik , February 17, 2012 2:03 PM
    aftcometThen you didn't watch E3.


    True, gamers and people into tech know about it. But to the general population, this thing just doesn't exist! I live in the UK and I haven't seen a single advert for it.. and it launches in 5 days!

    Sony's very bad lack of marketing will be Vita's downfall. There's 3DS adverts on TV all the time.

  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 17, 2012 2:11 PM
    vita is so fail, so marketing will no help here
    sony fucked up with its factories in Thailand,
    they have no money.
    no money - no marketing, no game devs, no success.
    I know what I saying. if I'll can buy vita for
  • 1 Hide
    kinggraves , February 17, 2012 3:13 PM
    mauller07It would sell far better if the 3G version was also a fully functional phone, at its price it might aswell be a phone/portable console.


    As if anyone uses their smart phones as phones anymore.

    I honestly have no clue why people are so willing to leash themselves onto 2 year contracts with companies that treat them like trash and charge whatever they feel like. Then again, there's the non 3g model for people like me. All they really need is a VoIP client like Skype to handle calls.

    lasaldudeJust put COD on it and they will sell millions! BOOM I should just work for Sony since they have no idea what they are doing!


    Sony doesn't own CoD to put it on anything. So I agree, you'd be perfect for working at Sony.

    It pains me to do it, but I agree with Sony. Some anonymous claims that 3rd party titles are being canceled? Which titles, which companies, any further info to justify the claims? Otherwise it really is just smoke.

    That's just on those claims though, Sony is still screwing up majorly. It isn't in the price like you cheapskates want it to be either, it's in the functionality. If you're going to release what is supposed to be a multifunction device, it needs to have those functions out of the box. At release, the Vita should have music, movie, VoIP, messaging, and other popular apps out of the box. It should also have the choice to get your own apps. Otherwise it isn't comparable with any other Android based system. And how many titles are out on the "PS Suite" that's also a selling point here? If it isn't over a hundred, don't even bother calling it a feature. Sony isn't delivering the selling points of the system on release, and that's why they will fail. Sony in general has been run for years on brand name alone, with people buying Sony because they know Sony used to be a good brand. You can only fool people for so long before your reputation is lost, and it's a lot harder to get it back.
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