Hirai on PS Vita: 'Long term is what is important'

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai says sales of portable "on the low end of what we expected," noting it can take 5-10 years to know if a product has been successful.

PlayStation Vita sales are coming up short thus far, but Sony Corporation CEO Kaz Hirai is not worried just yet.

“I would say [PS Vita sales are] on the low end of what we expected,” Hirai said to a room of media (reported by The Wall Street Journal) following Sony's 2013 Consumer Electronic Show briefing last night. The executive further noted it can take 5-10 years to know if a product has been successful

Hirai explained that similar questions were asked of the PlayStation 3 early after its launch, but he now views that platform as a success. The PS3 has sold-in (i.e. shipped) more than 70 million units worldwide as of mid-November 2012.

"Long term is what is important," he said.

The PS Vita has sold more than 2.2 million units worldwide since launch 11 months ago. Sony marketing manager John Koller said in October that the PS Vita is "going to be a very good, solid platform for us, one that performs very well."

The PS Vita begins at $250 for a Wi-Fi model, scaling to $300 for a 3G system. Sony has previously squashed rumors of a price cut for the device.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

399 comments
tempura13
tempura13

Hoping that the Vita gets the support it deserves this year.

Mackey18
Mackey18

Games, games, games... That's all it needs. I love the Vita, I think it's brilliant piece of kit. A couple of defining games would help it grossly.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

The Vita only has one issue - the price of the memory cards. It's a real kick in the nads. Other than that, it's a great system, and definitely doesn't have a lack of games if you have a decent sized wallet and can afford plenty of them... plus, get your PSN+ on and get the free stuff along with what you get on PS3, and it's a winner for me. I totally love my Vita, but buying that 32gb memory card DID hurt. They're far too expensive for what they are.

tgwolf
tgwolf

No you don't, all you need is to leave the price at a reasonable level to start and then realistically lower it as the technology gets, you know, tenure! At least that way people will be more inclined to consider the stuff and MIGHT ACTUALLY LIKE IT without having to curse Sony for being so greedy and impoverishing them! It's like magic!

andrescapo_
andrescapo_

The problem with the Vita is its price, and the lack of interesting games.

Its more expensive than a PS3, and is around the same price as a Wii U. Home consoles that should always be more expensive than a portable.

I know it has great tech and has to be sold at that price cause thats what its worth, but you can now see what happens when you put to much into a game console... I believe the same will happen to PS4 and 720 if they end up being like 700 dollars because they are too powerful.

hawaiiinsomniac
hawaiiinsomniac

GAMES GAMES GAMES!

Want to sell more Vitas - More exclusive AWESOME GAMES!

michyeosseo
michyeosseo

If you're waiting for a product with a commercial lifespan of 7 years to become succesful after 5-10 years, I'd start sacking some people in your company.

bigtimemad
bigtimemad

The system doesnt suck as some of you say but they dont have alot of good games yet. They need a better version of call of duty and they need nba 2k among others but when better content comes it'll be worth it to have one for those of us who like great video games.. So i ask sony and the 3rd party developers this.. Where is Dark souls, God of war, Skyrim, Grand theft auto, Batman etc etc etc We need you for our vita lol and i dont mean rehashes i mean new great experiences along with it

n0matter
n0matter

This thing is a piece of crap.  I'd rather just play games on my phone for $5 (at the high end) a piece.  I don't see why anyone would buy one of these just so they can have analog sticks.  $300?  Screw that.  And that's before you have to fork over $50 for a memory card of decent size.  Sony is delusional.

kryotech
kryotech

The Vita as hardware was never the issue. I have one and its great. The issue is that there are not many great games on the Vita yet...

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

I would love to hear what is version of long term is. Sony is being whipped by Nintendo at tune of 7 to 1. At the current rate of sales, it will take the PS Vita 6 more years to get where the 3DS is at right now in sales. Time to admit that this hardware is very unfortunately a failure and needs repurposing in a very radical way but I can't imagine what that would be to be honest. The Vita can barely play downscaled ports of current gen games. What happens at the end of the year when that "take your game on the go" feature kind of goes out the window? 

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

so he thinks this will be just like the ps3?  difference is..the ps3 was getting like 20 multiplats a year....vita gets like 5 a year.....and ps3 needed a price cut to sell better also..

darkPSPfan
darkPSPfan

This is sad :/ but i love my vita and i wouldnt sell it even if i would have only the games i have now. (Mortal kombat, assassins creed and LBP, i sold 4 games by now, but these three will stay with me)

soolkiki
soolkiki

PSP has never held my attention for long. We'll see if this one changes my mind on anything. I have yet to see a game come out that I would like. In the meantime, I'm going to continue building my PC.

jark888
jark888

"Long term" What an excuse. If I'm Sony executive, I find out why the sell is so miserable and do something about it. Let me give you a hint. Make Vita vital as its name suggest. For example, there're a few things they can do to improve sell:

1) upgrade cameras to mega pixel one, so we can actual use it in place of camera if we need it.

2) Fully adopt transfarring feature as suggested by Hideo Kojima.

3) Add features to enchance PS3 gaming experience using PSvita Wii U style (idea from other GS user).

4) Add more useful app to maximize its utility essentially. As much as 2-5% of iOS app would be nice. This go for PS3 as well.

5) Stop treating people like jackass. Those memory card prices are scam. Sony is not Apple. They can't pull this off.

moostified1
moostified1

5 to 10 years sound like something a court judge will tell ya. In less than 5 months the market will have PC games in a handheld. Come on Hirai, allow me to play my PS 3 A-List titles on my Vita and I'll forgive you.

xItalianStalion
xItalianStalion

Personally, I love my Vita.

Would I enjoy a better camera? Yeah, but I have a smart phone and 15 other devices for that.

Would I enjoy more quality games? Yeah, but I can make due with all my old ps1 games on the go with it for now. (Come on FFX HD!)

I don't look to argue with anyone but I enjoy my Vita for the few quality games (Persona 4 Golden and such) it has, Facebook, Hulu, Youtube, Broswer, hopefully Hulu soon (LET'S GO SONY, I'd enjoy hulu :) ) and a great screen for all of these apps. There's just something about having one in your hands that's sadly good enough for me, even with having other devices that are similar.

The only feature that I will probably never use is the cross play. I'm not buying two of the same games for ps3 and Vita just so I can continue playing on the go. Dumb IMO, even if the prices are discounted.

Here's to the future, (Hopefully)

Richard841
Richard841

It was the same story with the PSP, people were claiming it was dead after a year but it survived and ended up being pretty good and is still selling now. I think the Vita will be the same, it will be a slow burner but it will be fine.

NicAgent
NicAgent

Long term is what is important?  Huh?  How about the camera being 480p when most smartphones coming onto the market in 2012 were sporting 1080p recording?  How about the fact that you are trying to compete with Android and iOS with a device that can only play games?  How about not being able to play original PSP games or UMDs?  Ask yourselves this before waiting and seeing for 5-10 years.  Bottom line, trying to compare this to PS3 is woefully inaccurate; the PS3 at launch was cutting edge technology that game developers had yet to harness its power, that's why it took time to be successful.  Ain't gonna happen for the Vita my friend.

MaximerV8
MaximerV8

well, i hav 1 myself but i hav to say... more legit game pls...

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

Hirai should be fired.....or just Resign hes ruining Sony.....

Kane04
Kane04

You are losing touch with your consumer Sony, you are not giving them what they want.

jedinortd_basic
jedinortd_basic

I work at a retailer and I'm not sure we've sold thru out launch stock yet. We have never ran out. I think I myself have sold 1 lol. More games are needed if it's going to have a chance.

aryanbrar
aryanbrar

@Mackey18 

not just games but a damn price drop. remember 3ds when it was expensive??? it was doing bad. 

awoody17
awoody17

@SicklySunStorm I totally agree. Proprietary memory cards are never a good idea, especially when they have an overly-inflated price tag (as they usually do.) I would have subscribed to plus without a second thought if I actually had room to download the games to my  4gb memory card.

Ilikemyname420
Ilikemyname420

There's not enough interesting games. Not to say there aren't any good ones but if you play on the vita on a regular basis there's not a whole lot to keep you coming back except sports games and ports like persona, metal gear, disgea etc. Gravity Rush,, Uncharted, Assassin's creed won't last most players more than a week. And things like LBP, Modnation would turn a lot of players off.

They just don't have that must have game that's not available anywhere else and will not only attract a lot of players but also keep them playing. It just doesn't exist yet.

edwardm20
edwardm20

@Stonecutters908 I bought a Vita and it's a piece of hardware way above it's time. A 2ghz quad core cpu downclocked to 1ghz is good enough. Plus a quad core 800mhz gpu which is downclocked to 400mhz. I don't know where you got that the hardware is a failure. The Vita is a beautiful system with high potential. Also, Nintendo sales have always been higher because they have more games for smaller children and most Nintendo games are educational. This is most normal for a Nintendo handheld to have more sales than it's competitor the PSVITA. To be honest I love my Vita and it's the best 250 bucks I've ever spent on a system.

TxtBin
TxtBin

@Stonecutters908 The thing is the 3DS is a very feeble excuse of a hardware. The visuals are still really grainy and pathetic... adding 3D is purely a marketing gimmick. In my eyes, the 3DS is pretty much a DS - very, very pathetic for a portable system but the marketing is where it is so kids are obviously gonna go all gaga over the 3D features and so on.

The Vita is a very competent piece of hardware; it just requires more triple AAA releases to catch the attention of the market. I still fail to understand why there's no sign of a God of War or Metal Gear exclusive title for the system yet. I reckon in the next year or so, we will see more exclusives which will boost the Vita's market and hopefully they'll employ a more successful marketing scheme.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@darkPSPfan I can't sell any of my games since I bought them all digital and even if I could sell them I wouldn't

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@jark888 #3 is already there just look and the new LBP 2 update/dlc or what ever it was so it already has that but the devs have to choose to use it and I agree with the rest expect for #1 since its really not needed since most phones now have a decent camera and if you like taking pictures allot you probably already have a good dedicated camera that you take with you most of the time but yeah it wouldn't really hurt expect for that it would increase the price of the vita


the vita already does have allot of apps on it it has youtube facebook twitter foursquare a map web browser  email and I know I'm missing some of them

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@xItalianStalion you got cross play wrong cross play is where you play you can play against people on ps3 and/or vita online and you are thinking of cross saves which I like and the only ones that I would get both games are ones are the cross buy ones and that is where you buy the ps3 game and get the vita game for free or ones like zen pinball 2 where you buy one and get the other one for free and the feature it self is actually quite nice playing a game at home saving it then continue playing on the go

NicAgent
NicAgent

@Richard841 No smartphones in PSP's hey-day... all it had to compete against was Nintendo's DS.  Also PSP was technologically top-notch for its time unlike the Vita which self-admitting was behind the times for things like its camera.

rafpac
rafpac

@jedinortd_basic true it needs more games, but if studios continue to make cheap stripped down versions of home console games, then fat chance. This console needs stand alone titles with solid srories and gameplay. Now the question is, can Sony convince the developers of doing so?

buckxn
buckxn

@edwardm20 "Also, Nintendo sales have always been higher because they have more games for smaller children and most Nintendo games are educational."

 that is illogical.  if that is all it took to sell systems, sony would be making games for smaller children (whatever that means).  and educational???  lol.   ok.

jark888
jark888

@shadowhunter0 @jark888 The number of app they have is nothing compare to what Xbox 360 or iTunes store have in store. Let alone its non-gaming utilization. What about doing more like tablet does (read books, play variety of flash files on its web browser, GPS, etc.)

About its camera, Think about it. The powerful latest portable gaming device from Sony, the very first one that utilize quad core processor has VGA(outdated tech) camera. How dare they did this! It would be acceptable if the front one is VGA and the back one is 2-3 mega pixels. If no name companies can do it, why can't Sony? I give you a clue. Consider their PSvita memory card prices, or compare their other consumer technology specs and price points(phone, TV, Bluray player, camcorder, etc.) to their competitors. If camera isn't that important, why have them in the first place. How are you going to video call on Skype without it. I find this the only hardware major flaw. They gave away systems and spent 50 million for marketing instead of making sure the product will sell itself with less expensive promotion. Now, they pay the price for that. I believe we'll live to see camera upgrade soon after the revised version is launched. 

Furthermore, Sony tried so hard to promote 3D last year on almost everything they could but PSvita, and let Nintendo 3DS took over that role. It was like slap on the company face. Spend that PSvita promotional budget on buying the license of that 3D without glasses tech, and the selling figure could be better than 2.2 million worldwide. Somebody here told me that the average selling figure of each game for PS3 or Xbox 360 is 4.5 million worldwide. Now we can figure out how bad the sell of PSvita is.


CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

 @soolkiki  @moostified1 I'm sure if people are complaining about the Vita price, they should be up in arms about what Razor's PC handheld will cost. I bet it'll be a lot more than a Vita. But on the flip side, the memory card (if it uses one) will be dirt cheap and you'll have access to a better launch software line up, I would speculate.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

 @shadowhunter0  @xItalianStalion yeah, there's a few games that you can cross save that are free. The only one I know that you have to pay for both games is MLB:The Show but both games are so cheap right now, if you're really into that series, it's worth getting. Nothing better than being able to play a game on the PS3, save it and continue on your Vita whether it's because someone hogs the TV or you're out and about. They need to use this feature a lot more, though I agree that I wouldn't want to pay for the same game on both systems. You'll have to pick and choose which game you'll take full advantage of this should you need to pay.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@moostified1 @shadowhunter0 @CMakaCreative @soolkiki it is unlock it just that the devs have to choose to use them your update the game to allow it and most don't 

and I'm pretty sure that the vita would sell way better than than that way over priced  razor tablet and the nvidia handheld where you have yo upgrade your pc in order to actually play good games on it  and since you most likely have to be in your house in order to stream the game to it from your pc it would hardly get used since you can just simply play on your pc since you have to be in your home in order to stream it

moostified1
moostified1

@shadowhunter0 @CMakaCreative @soolkiki @moostified1 The price is not my concern, it's the technology that is debuting this year in tablets and handhelds i.e. the Wii U, Razor and NVIDIA. Sony has had the technology to do exactly the same thing with the PS Vita displayed in demo last year and they refuse to unlock the capability to do so. I understand the sales of software is paramount but if there is a lack of don't let the hardware die, open other avenues to increase revenue until good software becomes available. some dough is better than no dough!!

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@NicAgent @Richard841 making good games for a new system takes even longer than on something that has been out for a while since they aren't used to the new system


and the vita does already have good games on it

Richard841
Richard841

@NicAgent @Richard841 Yeah I agree but thats my point, the PSP was in the same boat with dev support but it picked up and survived, hopefully the Vita will do the same.

NicAgent
NicAgent

@Richard841 @NicAgent True but developers just aren't making very good games for it.  Perhaps that will change but they need incentive to invest the money to develop for it.

Richard841
Richard841

@NicAgent @Richard841 Many people want games on the Vita over a smartphone because it has buttons which just makes the experience miles better

NicAgent
NicAgent

@Richard841 @NicAgent Well it has to... I'm not really sure why people would want Vita's games over games available for smartphones, even if the former are technologically more advanced.