Sony: US Vita pre-orders indicate "very, very positive" sales
On the eve of the console's launch, Sony is confident in the Vita's sales performance, and dismissive of critics' concerns over Japanese sales figures.
Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton told IGN last week that Sony's data shows "very, very positive" sales ahead of the new handheld's launch.
"Memory is going out the door very aggressively despite the fact that memory is in a lot of the presale bundles. The software appears to be selling quite well top to bottom," he added, noting that Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the best-selling game so far.
The executive said talk of a muffed Japanese launch is madness.
"Quite frankly, it scares me if people think that the Japanese launch is struggling. The fact is they sold 500,000 units in three weeks," he said.
"I would be pleased if we did 500,000 units in the first three weeks here in the United States. I think that's a real healthy number for a new platform launch."
Even before sales figures are released, Tretton feels the Vita's launch is Sony's most successful to date.
"I've been involved in every platform launch we've ever had back to 1995, so I have the history to fall back on, and in terms of the press that we've gotten for Vita, in terms of the way we've been able to deliver the message and in terms of merchandising at retail and getting the hardware and software in people's hands, I think this is probably our most successful lead up to a launch platform," he said.
"Now that the holidays are behind us and the marketing campaign is kicking in and the merchandising is appearing at retail and we've got our promotional campaign kicking in, I feel great about the velocity that we have going into Vita, and I'd say that we're best positioned of any platform launch that I've been a part of in terms of positive momentum and positive feedback relative to it."
Tretton wouldn't say what sales target Sony is shooting for, instead saying the company judges success by other measures.
"For us, success is defined by mass market penetration, meaning not just the core gamer but young, old, male, female, casual and core, and being relevant on a worldwide basis, not being incredibly strong in one market but non-existent in another," he explained.
"Our definition of success is a 10-year product lifecycle, relevant on a worldwide basis with a very dedicated, happy consumer base that is loyal to the brand."
The Vita launches today in Europe, in a few hours in the US, and tomorrow in Australia.