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Vita: Sony exec hints at plans to turn console around

Tuesday, 14th May 2013 22:40 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Sony’s recent prediction that it would sell less than 5 million Vitas during FY2014 is a worst case scenario, one executive has explained – with good chances for the portable to turn around.

“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. 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.”

Speaking to Gamasutra, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe senior business development manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad – best known for his approachability and friendliness to indie developers – said Sony’s forecast for investors does not take account of upcoming initiatives which may see the platform’s performance improve.

“Sometimes things can happen and they can dramatically change the evolution in terms of sales of a platform,” he said.

“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.”

Ahmad said one example of a surprising success is Thomas Was Alone, which was ported from PC to PS3 and Vita recently, and immediately become the best-selling game on the PSN.

“I had no idea there was going to be the amount of press attention that there was around Thomas Was Alone,” he said.

“If I’d put something like that in the original plan that I put together for engaging with the development community, I would have been laughed out of the office.

“It’s really funny, because I’ve spoken to a few people about it today internally, and they’ve all accepted it as ‘Yeah, of course that was going to happen!’ So in hindsight it’s easy to say that this event and that event is what caused a change in course dramatically, but to say that in advance is usually not appropriate or sensible.”

Ahmad said that he’s only a tiny part of Sony and can’t speak for its corporate performance, but suggested we not give up on the Vita yet.

“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.”

Regarding the Vita’s games drought, the executive said that “there isn’t a console in history where making sure that you have content for it wasn’t an issue”. Interestingly, he said he doesn’t expect the PS4 to have as much trouble.

“I think we’re going to have a really good launch, and I think we’re going to have a good amount of content appearing for quite some time on that,” he said.

“We’ve got more developer engagement on PS4 than we’ve had for any previous console, so that’s a really healthy sign.”

The rest of the article contains some interesting discussion of Sony’s new friendliness to indies; Ahmad is one of the most forthright executives in the industry at the moment, so his comments are well worth a read.

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38 Comments

  1. monkeygourmet

    Redesign with in built memory card and price drop inbound?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. monkeygourmet

    Or PS4 / PS Vita – £399 package?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. The_Red

    @2
    If they ever go for that package, it will be 599!!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    It will be ….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOHqG1nc_tw

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Francis O

    Dropping the price to $199 worldwide, including a 8-16 GB memory card with every unit, and releasing more Japanese style RPGs would increase the sales a lot.

    The Vita really just needs games. It probably won’t sell much in the US and Europe, but it could explode in Japan if they get all the content the PSP is getting to Vita.

    One thing that really screwed the Vita is the fact Nintendo has exclusives like Monster Hunter 4, Dragon Quest 7, Shin Megami Tensei 4, Pokemon X and Y, and Puzzle & Dragons Z. Those are bound to sell millions in Japan, Where handhelds rain supreme.

    However, the Vita can still do very well, it’s just a matter of catering to your biggest audience. Which is Japan.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Lord Gremlin

    TBH I just want really pretty, really complex titles on my handheld. That’s why I can’t stop playing Soul Sacrifice.
    Don’t pretend everyone’s tastes are similar. I genuinely believe that Thomas was Alone is a piece of trash, but I won’t force that opinion on anyone. You have every right to enjoy what you prefer.
    What I can see with PS4 is that every other game coming out on it has a complimentary game on Vita and it’s all tied into PS4 exclusive content. Like new Batman game has PS4 exclusive chapter and mode, unlocked by playing Vita exclusive Batman game. Etc, etc.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. monkeygourmet

    @3,4

    Stop complaining and get a second job to pay for it! :D

    @5

    You are going to unleash the fury of everyone telling you that the Vita has tons of games and loads of PSN stuff too!

    Brace yourself! :)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Lord Gremlin

    @Francis O I gotta admit, having to import half the games from Asia sucks. Hatsune Miku on Vita? Imported. Senran Kagura? Imported.
    I’m looking forward to Toukiden, I fear this one will have to be imported too. Duh.
    I just hope God Eater 2 gets released in Europe. First game is out here after all.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. lexph3re

    @7 No one cares anymore Monkey. In fact, it’s a waste of time explaining obvious things to people who don’t truely give a damn.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. SlayerGT

    Urban Trials Freestyle..or “Trails on the go”. Its great.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. monkeygourmet

    @9

    You could always dick shank him? :)

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Lord Gremlin

    @7 Matter of fact – Vita does have tons of games. Question – how many of them are actually amazing gems in their corresponding genre? Trust me Ridge Racer won’t win any racing game awards (although it plays nice when you’re drunk, trust me on that). Neither will Spy Hunter, Asphalt Injection and others.
    Now, Vita in fact have a lot of really good games. Only they’re mostly exclusive to Japan. So when Sony says Vita sales are relatively low in Europe I ask – how many customers are willing to import Japanese games and pay top dollar for them, like I often do? Most people want games to be on sale at their local stores, or their PSN. If those have like 10 really good games well… You get it…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. monkeygourmet

    @12

    I ONLY play Ridge Racer when I’m drunk! That’s why I downloaded all the add on tracks too! O_o

    Vita does have a lot of games though, your right. Just not the quality of 3DS.

    It’s like they were in a rush to offer the ‘home console experience’ on the move yet nothing was quite up to scratch.

    Uncharted, AC, Resistance being prime examples. I’m having most fun with the PS1 games if I’m honest.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. sg1974

    @1. Redesign? Really? It’s a great piece of hardware. Solid, ergonomic, smart. As others have said, could just do with a price drop to hit that sweet spot. Nintendo rescued the 3DS that way.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. monkeygourmet

    @14

    Not much of one, just enough to relaunch it a bit. Or…

    PSP Go 2…

    :/

    Also, 3DSXL helped. Kicks the shit outta the original.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. fengato

    Vita just doesn’t fit my life. Had one for a few months, and then sold it when I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to take it out of the house. It’s a lovely device, though it’s simply too big and bulky. As much as people enjoy hating the PSPGO, I’ve now gone and stocked up on a second one for safe keeping. It fits in my pocket, and has a good whack of inbuilt storage (so no need for carrying anything else around.) It’s a truly portable Playstation; sadly something the Vita will never be.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Moonwalker1982

    Hey Sony. I remember damn well what you said after E3 last year about it being a mistake not talking much about Vita. And that there would be plenty of Vita games to come….where are they? I really pretty much bought this thing for nothing.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. dizzygear

    A new SKU that includes a memory card or internal memory with a pricedrop and some more advertising would salvage things.

    When i bought my 3DS XL it was a complete package that was ready to go. Not to mention it uses standard SD cards that are dirt cheap these days.
    With the Vita on the other hand it stings you need to add another 50 bucks for a 16GB memory card (anything less is useless IMO given the size of Vita games) on top of the already pricey unit itself.

    And yeah, it would also help ALLOT if all those awesome titles we see in Japan would be released over here.

    In the meantime I’ll just play some more Devil Survivor Overclocked on my 3DS until my next paycheck so i can import some stuff for my Vita.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. rockman29

    Let’s be honest here.

    They just need Gran Turismo on it.

    Price drops always help too.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. G1GAHURTZ

    I held a Vita for the first time, a few days ago.

    It actually felt surprisingly nice to hold. Much nicer than a DS.

    Loading was very slow, though…

    I might consider getting one, but there’s nothing on it that I want to play.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Belmont

    I think that Sony’s problems with Vita are not only content and games. The hardware needs to be better, It needs to have 8 to 6 GB of storage built in and Sony must reduce the price for memory cards by a great margin.
    I also think that the entire indie thing is something of a luxury, it won’t skyrocket the sales. say what you want, but retail is very important,even more so when you have no built in memory on console and memory cards are expensive as hell. The entire notion of indie and digital distribution over PS Plus dies with those memory things. They are the biggest problem in my opinion.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. DrDamn

    Think this is linked …

    https://twitter.com/shahidkamal/status/332633683267813377

    From subsequent leaks there were clarifications that the “hooked for hours” was hours per day and indications it was third party, also not an indie title.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. MidlifeAxe

    The Vita doesn’t use standard SD cards, does it? Makes you think that of the PS3 with it using a CELL processor. It wasn’t the best idea.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. zinc

    Their going to release a white version.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. JGMR

    The “not enough games” argument doesn’t hold any water anymore. There’s enough quality games out now that’ll justify the purchase of the console.

    Not to mention the games coming out soon…

    Final Fantasy X HD, Dragon’s Crown, Muramasa Rebirth, Ragnarok Odyssey, Ys: Memories of Celceta, TxK…

    and http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=57475800#post57475800

    there’s a lot more to come…

    #25 2 years ago
  26. dizzygear

    @26 Port, Has a PS3 version as well, Port, The demo was shit, Does not have a release date outside Japan yet, what?

    Where are God Eater 2, Phantasy Online 2, Tales of Hearts R, etc?

    The steep entry cost of a Vita is all but justified until Sony starts to be more persuasive with publishers to get their games out in the west.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Moonwalker1982

    @26

    Enough games is subjective then i guess, cause i wonder…which ones?

    #27 2 years ago
  28. stretch215

    Wow, $50 for a 16gb memory card. Lol! You guys are crazy.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. monkeygourmet

    The main thing that concerns me with Vita (apart from price, memory cards), is that the device has been miss timed to market.

    The graphics just don’t wow me now as iPhone / Galaxy / Tegra devices have made seeing HD style graphics on a mobile device more common.

    If Nintendo made a 3DS2 in the near future that had the graphical abilities and screen of PS Vita (now parts are cheaper) but it also played all 3DS games… Well, I think Sony would be stuffed in the handheld space.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. JGMR

    @28

    Dead Or Alive 5 Plus, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Gravity Rush, Little Big Planet, DJ Max Technika Tune, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Persona 4 Golden, Disgaea 3, Wipeout 2048, Soul Sacrifce, Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Rayman Origins, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Mortal Kombat, Need For Speed Most Wanted…

    #30 2 years ago
  31. dizzygear

    @30 A big reason i got a 3DS was because its backwards compatible with DS games since i never owned a DS the 3DS allowed my to catch up on some great DS titles i missed.
    Sony really dropped the ball on this since a some of the best games the PSP had to offer are still missing/incompatible on PSN like FFVII Crisis Core and Phantasy Star Portable 2.

    @31 Once again a large part of those games are ports.

    The Vita needs more original games that take good advantage of its unique hardware like Gravity Rush. Not ports with half assed touch and motion control tacked on.

    Hell why IS Gravity Rush 2 not announced yet? The first game was well received and the story left so many unanswered questions.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Deacon

    @32 – I think it’s still seen as somewhat of a niche title. Considering it’s sold only a third of a million, I don’t think it’s top of Sony’s list. A complete travesty in my opinion!

    #32 2 years ago
  33. monkeygourmet

    @32 & 33

    Also, you have to re-purchase them!!!

    I’ve had to re-buy all my PSP games for Vita plus a memory card… It’s a fucking joke really.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Deacon

    @34 – you didn’t HAVE TO now did you…

    #34 2 years ago
  35. monkeygourmet

    @35
    :D

    You obviously don’t know how impulsive I get when logging into the PSN or XBLA store after having a few glasses of wine! ;)

    The Jap Import section on PS1 games for Vita are particularly good. Lots of nice shooters in there…

    #35 2 years ago
  36. JGMR

    @32 Yet, some of these ports are being considered superior to the original, take DOA 5 Plus for example. Persona 4 wasn’t really -that- on the radar when it was released during the end of the PS2′s life-cycle. Thanks to the port, it has become a more well-known and a very appreciated game.

    The games also look absolutely stunning on the Vita’s OLED display.

    And yes, I am all for the announced sequel to Gravity Rush.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. DrDamn

    @36
    If you’d bought them all digitally on the PSP you wouldn’t need to re-buy on the Vita either :). You just download ‘em again.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. monkeygourmet

    @38

    Unfortunatly I only have physical copies, like a Grandpa! ;)

    #38 2 years ago

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