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Sony cites 'slow penetration' of Vita, cuts portable forecast

Sony cited weak Vita sales in its earnings results, leading company CFO Masaru Kato to say the company clearly needs "to do a better job of promoting the Vita."

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Amid weak Vita sales, Sony has cut its full year expectations on portable hardware sales from 10 million to 7 million. The company concedes that the Vita has seen "slow penetration" into the market, and hopes to change that by presenting a stronger software line-up for the system.

In an investor call, CFO Masaru Kato was frank about the Vita's prospects. "One thing is clear for us. In terms of profitibility we have to do a better job of promoting the Vita," he said. He did point out that the company didn't revise its forecasts on "mobile phones and home game devices," signaling more confidence in those areas of the games division.

According to GI.biz, the games division posted revenue of $2.86 billion, down 15% from last year. Vita received the most attention since it's the newest system on the market, but but sales of Sony hardware in general is in decline. Combined PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 sales were down to 6.8 million from 7.4 million last year. Portable sales actually increased from 2.4 million to 2.7 million, but that doesn't match the company's expectations.

Sony is expected to announce its next console at an event on February 20.

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  • reply
    February 7, 2013 11:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Sony cites 'slow penetration' of Vita, cuts portable forecast.

    Sony cited weak Vita sales in its earnings results, leading company CFO Masaru Kato to say the company clearly needs "to do a better job of promoting the Vita."

    • reply
      February 7, 2013 11:22 AM

      alternatively, stop sinking time and money into a shrinking market segment

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        February 7, 2013 4:02 PM

        Seriously... new dedicated portable gaming devices make as much sense now as dedicated portable music players or dedicated watches with alarm clocks. Sure, there are niche markets for all of those, but most people are going for the devices that can do all of the above fairly well (i.e. smartphones).

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          February 7, 2013 4:29 PM

          When you make a phone though, you generally have much stricter form factors than you would a full blown handheld gaming system. The Vita hardware isn't what's hampering it. It's the lack of publisher support. Nintendo isn't faring too well either.

          Which on an unrelated note, I think the first, Nintendo or Sony, to release a open source handheld would absolutely kick some ass. I wish Sony would do it right now. It's a year old, and publishers are not exactly lining up.

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            February 7, 2013 6:22 PM

            The Vita hardware isn't what's hampering it. It's the lack of publisher support. Nintendo isn't faring too well either.

            Because consumers have shown that they're increasingly unwilling to devote $200 to another dedicated device and $30+ per title and the associated physical storage when they already have a $200 game playing device that has a slew of titles for free or 99c. That the handhelds' games are of "higher" quality is not enough to sway that value prop.

            Which on an unrelated note, I think the first, Nintendo or Sony, to release a open source handheld would absolutely kick some ass. I wish Sony would do it right now. It's a year old, and publishers are not exactly lining up.

            I have no idea what you think this would actually do for the device...

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              February 7, 2013 6:56 PM

              30 million 3DSs say that the market is doing OK. The only problem is that Sony is pushing the Vita at too high of a price tag, with too much additional cost, and too few games.

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                February 7, 2013 7:25 PM

                That's a awfully simplistic view of the world. What's actually relevant is the sales to date relative to how their previous handhelds looked at the same time, and even more important, profits at that time since they never used to have to sell for a loss. Likewise, attach rate and share of mobile game revenue. The difference between Nintendo and Sony is that Sony is putting in extra effort to break into a market that isn't a growth market, while Nintendo is extracting what profits remain since they spent a decade+ bring synonymous with mobile gaming.

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                February 8, 2013 1:07 AM

                Also it's completly ignoring large segments of the markets by releasing only anime games and console like AAA. Exactly what people want to play on a handheld...

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          February 7, 2013 7:18 PM

          playing games on a smartphone is phone for about 2 minutes at most.

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            February 7, 2013 7:19 PM

            fun***

            O_o fingers typed phone for some reason lol.

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              February 7, 2013 7:40 PM

              I'm with you on that one. That's why I don't spend anymore than 10 bucks a year on Smartphone games.

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              February 7, 2013 8:31 PM

              True, but no way I'm gonna try to fill that gap with a few hundred dollars in a device/games/memory cards. Smartphone games do enough to keep me entertained in a waiting room or whatever. If not games, then just shacking or otherwise browsing the web. Don't wanna spend that much on a mostly single purpose device.

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            February 7, 2013 7:26 PM

            more people find it sufficient than find it so lacking that they need to spend $200+ and carry another device around to fill the few breaks in their day where they need portable gaming

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            February 7, 2013 11:08 PM

            I feel the same. At least on a dedicated gaming device I don't get interrupted and kicked from my game by phone calls.

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            February 8, 2013 1:04 AM

            I played around with my fun for maybe a month. Now it's only a forum browsing machine and my DS is seeing some play time again.

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            February 8, 2013 1:35 AM

            Doesn't matter, the market is shrinking and it doesn't make sense to invest in it.

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      February 7, 2013 11:44 AM

      Oh yeah baby! You LIKE that penetration slow don't ya?

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      February 7, 2013 1:04 PM

      Typical Sony, releases something, doesn't market it well, doesn't support it right off the bat for a good launch, lets it stutter, blames something other than itself, tries to fix issue after the fact.

      Sounds like their Sony Alpha Mount cameras.. limited lenses.. releases more camera bodies when users want better selection of lenses..

      "Hey why is noone buying our platform? What? you want to actually DO something with it? shit.. uhm.. "

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      February 7, 2013 1:06 PM

      Vitas are NICE pieces of hardware but there's nothing out there that I'd want for them.

      Also, the fucking memory cards for them are retardedly expensive.

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        February 7, 2013 3:59 PM

        The only thing I have on mine is Persona 4 Golden, and it's beautiful. Storage capacity isn't a problem yet because I have one game, but Sony has an abysmal track record with flash storage in the past decade, considering how they always want to go ultra-proprietary. They could've just used an encrypted filesystem to store on Micro SD, but nooo, they had to go proprietary again.

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          February 7, 2013 6:20 PM

          well and the funny part is that they would have been fine if they had just stuck w/ memory stick. It *was* expensive, but now it isn't

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        February 7, 2013 8:02 PM

        I bought one this weekend because I'm a gadget whore. I knew I wouldn't do anything with it, but I bought it anyway. And sure enough, I haven't done anything with it.

        I love the hardware, it's very slick, but I just don't seem to be able to play games on small devices, whether iPhones, iPads, or handheld consoles.

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      February 7, 2013 1:11 PM

      [deleted]

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      February 7, 2013 6:13 PM

      I gave up on Vita when Valkyria Chronicles 3 (or 4!) wasn't a launch title

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      February 7, 2013 8:35 PM

      drop. the. price.

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      February 8, 2013 12:49 AM

      [deleted]

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      February 8, 2013 1:48 AM

      [deleted]

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      February 8, 2013 6:12 AM

      Lower the price, then, Sony. Problem solved.

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      February 8, 2013 8:52 AM

      I think people should be really worried for the PS4.
      Because I don't trust Sony to handle the PS4 launch well after the Vita fiasco.
      How on Earth a ssystem that is praised by everybody ( gamerz, devs and game journalistes alike ) can fail so miserably.

      A Killzone game IS NOT GOING TO SAVE THE VITA. Sony needs to understand that the Vita is a portable system and it need portable games NOT PS3 PORTS OR PS3 LIKE TITLES !!!

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