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Vita sales on the 'low end' of expectations, says Sony CEO

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has admitted that the Vita sales are "on the low end" of Sony's expectations, and responded to a potential competitor for the Vita presented at CES.

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Sony's handheld system has been faced with slow sales and analysts calling for a price drop. As we approach the system's first birthday in the US, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has acknowledged that it's not exactly setting the world ablaze.

Reporting from CES, The Wall Street Journal (via Eurogamer) grilled Hirai. Regarding Vita sales, he said: "I would say it's on the low end of what we expected." But, he cautioned that he would wait 5-10 years to gauge a product's success, saying, "Long term is what is important," pointing out that similar doubts were placed around the now-successful PS3.

Regarding his handheld competition, Hirai also shrugged off Nvidia's Project Shield, an Android-based console with a built-in controller that also made its debut at CES. "I wasn't as surprised as you might think," Hirai said, according to PC World. "If you look back through the pages of history, there have been other attempts. It's difficult to break into. I've managed this industry, so I know."

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  • reply
    January 8, 2013 1:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Vita sales on the 'low end' of expectations, says Sony CEO.

    Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has admitted that the Vita sales are "on the low end" of Sony's expectations, and responded to a potential competitor for the Vita presented at CES.

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      January 8, 2013 1:31 PM

      Shame too, because I love my vita.

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        January 8, 2013 1:34 PM

        earth defense force 2017 mobile is out today....

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        January 8, 2013 1:43 PM

        Same here- just got mine for Christmas. Enjoyed the hell out of Uncharted, loving Little Big Planet, and I have Resistance and AC: Liberation waiting in line next.

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          January 8, 2013 2:18 PM

          the UC game makes me want to try that dumb card game even though i know i won't like it

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          January 8, 2013 2:40 PM

          I picked up uncharted with PS+, but haven't played it yet. Finishing up a few DS games and Gravity Rush. But Gravity Rush is right now on the top of my list of PSVita Titles (haven't played P4G)

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      January 8, 2013 2:01 PM

      So what's the big hold back for this? By all accounts, it's a pretty decent piece of hardware.

      Is there anything other than cost? How big a factor is that, really? Competition for this would be the Nintendo 3DSXL, which sells at $200. My understanding is that sales for the 3DS in general have been kind of weak. SmartPhones are probably a competitor, but even with subsidies, most of them are going to start at around $100 and good ones at $200. The games for these, in general, are not as in depth as you can get with either the Nintendo or Sony. Tablets that can play decent games start off at around $200 as well and have some of the same limitations as phones.

      So is it just not a really viable platform? Are people happy with the basic games that smartphones can provide?

      In my case, it's mostly that I don't want to carry another device, despite the fact that I know I'll never be able to play any of the Uncharted games on it.

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        January 8, 2013 2:15 PM

        The games for these, in general, are not as in depth as you can get with either the Nintendo or Sony.

        It's not about volume. There are games that are just as in depth and involving, but more importantly there are cheap, quick, easy-to-acquire time wasters as well. That's what got Nintendo and Sony fucked. They saw Angry Birds and said "this is not gaming, this is stupid."

        Nintendo saw the iPad/iPhone and decided touchscreens were the future and made the WiiU.
        Sony saw the DS and decided gimmicks AND touchscreens were the future and made the Vita (which features a back touch and front touch screens ??)

        What they should have realized is that people love a device that gives them instant access to hundreds of thousands of games (and apps) with easy purchasing, updating and connecting. Nintendo is terrible at this, Sony is much better, but neither have the ease and quality of purchasing or the large markets that Apple does.

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          January 8, 2013 2:16 PM

          Oh, also, Apple games can be bought for $1. That's a huge difference between their stance and traditional game publishers/hardware makers like Sony and Nintendo.

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          January 8, 2013 3:35 PM

          I have had two "holy shit" moments with Vita.

          1. Playing AssLib. I was amazed at what they crammed into the handheld specs, but the game ran poorly, unplayable for me.

          2. The real "wow" moment came in Little Big Planet where I used my finger on the touch screen to guide a block across a chasm as I walked Sackboy across it using the left joystick. It was a perfect marriage of those two control methods, the first I've seen, and it was awesome.

          The Vita (and the WiiU and all these other things that are trying to innovate) really need more moments like #2. I'm not sure what's holding people back from making more imaginative shit like this.

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            January 8, 2013 4:11 PM

            I love Persona 4 Golden on it; with the ability to make the Vita sleep and wake up right where you were, it's the perfect platform for that kind of experience.

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              January 8, 2013 4:14 PM

              This is my favorite game on the platform right now. I love the original and finally gave in and bought the Vita when this came out. They definitely need to work on the library, I can only think of 4 games that I want for it.

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              January 8, 2013 5:19 PM

              I might read some reviews and check it out. Never played any Persona game and jrpg's are kinda hit or miss for me.

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                January 8, 2013 8:16 PM

                I hate JRPG mechanics, but Easy mode is perfect for me since I can cruise through the JRPG sessions.

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            January 8, 2013 4:15 PM

            Lack of imagination ;(

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        January 8, 2013 2:18 PM

        the whole reason why i own one is because i am incredibly not happy with games that smartphones can provide.

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          January 8, 2013 4:10 PM

          Same here. I find that 95% of smartphone games suck and have horrible controls.

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        January 8, 2013 2:20 PM

        Cost is a big part of it. 3DS sales started weak but have picked up and are better than the DS was at this point in its lifetime.

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          January 8, 2013 3:18 PM

          3DS sales aren't weak. They started slow because of the price, but the 3DS ended up selling well, with over 22 million units shipped as of 30 Sep 12.

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            January 8, 2013 3:36 PM

            Yeah, I just said that.

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        January 8, 2013 2:25 PM

        It's too expensive. I just bought one, but I only did so because I had a ton of Amazon credit. $250 for the system with no games is crazy, especially when you need to buy one of sony's overpriced proprietery memory cards.

        Even the bundle deals kinda suck. I got the CoD one (lol) just because it cost the same as the base system, but the 4 gig card is too small to be useful. I ended up having to get a 16 gig one anyway.

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        January 8, 2013 2:26 PM

        Definitely cost. People don't feel like paying $30-40 for portable games. Then you add in the accessory taxes people get nervous about the purchase. If I didn't trade spare computer hardware for mine, I would not have one right now.

        I'm sad about my 4GB of memory :(

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          January 8, 2013 2:34 PM

          Need for speed for the vita is 65$ in the danish PSN store... its pretty silly, thats MORE than the console version is in stores.

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          January 8, 2013 2:38 PM

          Its not the games for me, its the memory cards. Games go down in price rapidly (I pay between $15 and $20) but the memory cards prices are absurd

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        January 8, 2013 2:27 PM

        I can buy a game on my iPhone or iPad or Android tablet that gives me a few hours, up to maybe 10 hours of enjoyment for about a dollar, or $5 max.

        A vita game costs much more for admittedly better graphics and gameplay, but not at a premium I'm willing to pay. Especially since I'd be carrying an extra device with me to use it, and the price of that device.

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        January 8, 2013 2:35 PM

        $$$$$$

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        January 8, 2013 4:26 PM

        Device overload and cost. You can't shake a tree these days without an Android device falling out of it.

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      January 8, 2013 2:32 PM

      truly shocking

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      January 8, 2013 2:53 PM

      The bigger issue is their new proprietary memory format, which is ridiculously expensive. $100 for a 32gb card, when a comparable microSD card costs $20? Stupid, there is NOTHING about that memory card that warrants a $100 price tag. For most, even if they could get past the cost of the Vita itself they won't want to pony up that much money for yet another new memory format. I have a Vita, I wasn't really looking to get one...but I bought it on Black Friday for a considerable discount and then received a memory card as a birthday gift. I love my Vita, but it's certainly not worth the retail cost of the device and memory...I wouldn't own one if not for the reasons listed above.

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      January 8, 2013 3:00 PM

      The vita is one of the best consoles, not just handhelds I've owned. Its hardware capabilities are incredible, and the ease of use is great.

      The price of games being high is just an excuse for people to complain, of course I'd like them cheaper for 40$ for such high quality portable games isn't too bad. Plus, for people that haven't had a PS3 or access to the PSN store and are thinking of buying it you can just put like 30$ on your PSN wallet and download a handful of classics.

      As for the memory issues, You either have to invest in a memory card if you plan on downloading all of your games otherwise buy the hardcopies which is an easier choice for me.

      Aside from people complaining about memory I haven't encountered anyone who actually dislikes the handheld and games itself. I've had a hard time putting it down and I didn't even care for it at first until I got it as a gift.

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        January 8, 2013 3:02 PM

        "just an excuse for people to complain" - no, it's a reason for people not to buy. Which they aren't.

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          January 8, 2013 3:15 PM

          People will spend any amount of money if they are convinced its a worthwile buy, which the vita does not do.

          Is spending a bit more than your average 3DS game really that outrageous? It might be, but society has shown time and time again they will buy very overpriced products, whether its releasing the same over priced game year after year or buying extremely overpriced clothes just because of a brand.

          After the several versions of the PSP and then the utter failure of PS Go, I think the focus of the low sales revolves around ignorance with no interest to try and understand, and its up to Sony to do a better marketing job and explain the capabilities of the system.

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            January 8, 2013 3:17 PM

            I just don't like Sony exclusives that much. The hardware is fine but not all that awesome.

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            January 8, 2013 3:18 PM

            Dude, it's pretty simple: reasonable price + solid library of software.

            They have neither of those things. You can get away with having only one. Failing to have both is asking for failure.

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              January 8, 2013 3:27 PM

              In a sense they were stuck. They had to be powerful enough because of the Sony brand while competing with $700 phones in raw power.
              And you can't sell a handheld $700. And I don't know why you can sell $700 phones either

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            January 8, 2013 3:19 PM

            Dude, it's pretty simple: reasonable price + solid library of software.

            They have neither of those things. You can get away with having only one. Failing to have both is asking for failure.

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            January 8, 2013 3:23 PM

            People will buy overpriced products when they feel (even wrongly) that it's justified. That's why people are butthurt about the memory card prices and it might slow down some sales.
            It cost Sony money to put a 4gb memory card that's almost insulting for a connected device in its bundles. Make it 8gb and the perceived value will be much higher + more download sales.

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        January 8, 2013 4:16 PM

        I'd buy one if my hands didn't cramp up playing it. I had a psp and a lot of great games but I never finished any of them due to it being the most uncomfortable piece of hardware I've ever used.

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          January 9, 2013 8:25 AM

          Psp was horrible this is much much better.

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      January 8, 2013 3:14 PM

      I remember saying it was DOA and a friend's comments are pretty much in line with what other shackers have said. Especially the constant waiting for quality games to appear.

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      January 8, 2013 3:15 PM

      $150 and I'll buy it if Sony hasn't thrown in the towel at that point.

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      January 8, 2013 3:45 PM

      i'd buy a vita for 149.99, 2whatever? for the birds

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      January 9, 2013 11:21 AM

      Kaz needs to realise that among others, the inclusion of proprietary memory sticks and cost of games (physical and digital) has been very instrumental in hampering the sales of the console...