PlayStation Vita was a great machine that simply arrived too late, former Sony exec says

By Shawn Knight · 10 replies
Sep 27, 2016
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  1. Former President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) Jack Tretton recently sat down for a chat with IGN in which he reflected on the trials and tribulations of the PlayStation Vita.

    When asked how he feels about the Vita in hindsight, Tretton said that the vibe internally was that it was a great machine but it just arrived too late. He added that the world had already started to shift to portable devices that weren’t dedicated gaming machines.

    Indeed, by the time the Vita launched in the US in February 2012, smartphones were already quite popular and tablet adoption was on the uptick. As a result, the Vita never was able to match the success of its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), a handheld console that found its way to North America in 2005.

    Tretton, who left Sony in mid-2014, said the PSP was incredibly successful as it delivered a console-like experience and was able to pull in older gamers. Sony ultimately sold more than 80 million units during the PSP’s decade-long lifetime. In comparison, Sony has only sold an estimated 13 million Vita handhelds to date.

    Tretton did, however, praise the Vita’s hardware, noting that its OLED multi-touch display, powerful processor and dual thumbsticks far surpassed its competition.

    Given the Vita’s timing alongside the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming, one can’t help but wonder if Nintendo is setting itself up for a similar level of disappointment with its upcoming NX system which is rumored to be a hybrid home / mobile platform.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,652   +1,092

    If the NX is just a more powerful Nvidia shield as it is currently rumored, then yes, it will fail hard. Zelda and Pokemon won't save it.
    Panda218 likes this.
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +873

    And yet the 3DS didnt have this issue, rather it has sold 60 million units.

    Perhaps the issue was that sony did a horrible job supporting the thing, and what little support it DID get software wise was console games. Meanwhile, the 3DS, which has games designed for a more mobile experience, has been selling software several orders of magnitude quicker then the vita.

    The issue wasnt timing, it was sony refusing to support their own product (and the stupidly overpriced memory cards didnt help matters).
    Adhmuz likes this.
  4. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    Too late?

    SONY STUPIDLY didn't offer dual analog sticks on PSP when FPS was becoming all the rage (Between PS2 and PS3).

    Then the *****s didn't let you use the SD card format which would have been cheaper for consumers and encouragedmore game purchases - in much the same way larger HDD encourage more DLC.

    Sony tried to nickel and dime us.

    They got what they deserved.

    Nintendo whooped em every quarter.
  5. The 3DS failed on launch and didn't start selling until Nintendo reduced the price and started loosing money on every hardware sell, not only that the 3DS can not even dream of reaching DS sells which is around 155 million. If Nintendo's NX is really going to be a hybrid between a portable and home console then the 3DS sells with fall way down when it releases and probably won't ever reach the PSP's 80 millions of sells.

    Sony did let the ball down when it comes to games on the Vita and even worse is the memory cards.
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,886   +1,222

    They came in too late? You could say that about any number of things as a lousy excuse.

    The problem with the Windows phone wasn't the Windows phone - it was just too late.
    bmw95 likes this.
  7. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 313   +67

    Meh, if it weren't for pokemon and Phoenix Wright.
  8. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 302   +132

    The DS sold 155 million buddy. The 3DS won't even sell half that, and it essentially had little to no competition unlike the OG DS.

    I fully expect the NX to sell less than the 3DS (Probably half as many). If this ends up being true it will be a disaster considering this seems to be replacing both the Wii U and the 3DS. It would be quite a drop in income for Nintendo.
  9. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 302   +132

    This is different. If the Vita would have launched in 2010 it probably would have sold FAR better, even if its specs were a little worse. However it would have also needed better AAA support, but if it sold more it wold have gotten that....
  10. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Lack of support was the Vita's downfall from day one, Sony themselves took a hands off approach on the system, instead of developing titles for it they let third party developers take the rains and relied too heavily on others supporting it. This kept a lot of big name developers from heavily investing in the platform, understandably because they couldn't guarantee unit sales of their games if Sony themselves aren't releasing big name titles for the unit to drive initial sales.
  11. I reckon sales depend more on software pricing. Nintendo charge so much for their games. This is what put me off buying a 3ds, I don't mind ponying up the £200 or so for the hardware but £30-40 a pop for a new mobile game with classics titles coming in at often £10-15 a go, I'm not interested. As a PC gamer I pay often considerably less than this for a fully fledged desktop title.

    All this being said, the NX is more appealing than an PS4 or XONE because it offers a more different gaming experience. There really is only a small handful of PS4 and XONE games that a PC user can't access.

    It would be interesting if Nintendo let the NX stream from a GeForce gpu, it has the technology to do so. I am almost certain they won't though which is a shame, I would be all over the NX if they did (and a new gpu, currently rocking Radeons).

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