Thursday, August 9, 2012

PS Vita Sales Issues

The Sony PlayStation Vita was recently launched in North America earlier this year. The console launched in a time of heavy uncertainty in the domain of handheld consoles. With the aggressive expansion of the smartphone and tablet market combined with a digital distribution system and a new pricing structure, the state of handheld consoles is tenuous at best. New competition coupled with a murky marketing strategy and a weak positioning strategy meant that they have an uphill battle.

The PlayStation Vita since its launch has been in a difficult situation, where they had to lower the forecast of PSP+PS Vita sales from 16 million to 12 million [source]. The poor adoption bears itself out weekly with the poor Japanese sales, averaging 9,000 consoles through sales trackers of Famitu and Media Create. The bad news continued when the SCE President Shuhei Yoshida said "We’re having a more difficult time than we had anticipated in terms of getting support from third-party publishers, but that’s our job [source]." In my previous article, I mentioned that Sony needs to turn things around by re-positioning the console with a cohesive strategy. Now more than ever, they need to turn things around or the console will do its swan song far earlier than anyone would like.

In an industry like the video game industry competition creates innovation. Nintendo was able to create some of the best and most innovative games when the Nintendo DS was neck-and-neck with the PlayStation Portable. This competition forced them to explore new markets through games like Brain Training and it energized the handheld console market. Sony greatly expanded the role of its first party western studios in response to the Microsoft Xbox 360. Sony has a gem of a console with the PS Vita, and it would be a pity if they left the market to leave a complacent Nintendo with no direct competition.

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