Mobile, tablet gamers will move to PS Vita - Sony

Q&A: John Koller talks about the timing of the PS3 price cut, welcoming Xbox 360 and Wii gamers into the fold, and the impact of new platforms on traditional portables.

Yesterday, Sony dropped the price of the PlayStation 3 to $250. It was the first price cut for the console since the electronics giant introduced the slimmed-down redesign of the PS3 at Gamescom 2009. After the announcement, Sony director of hardware marketing John Koller took time out to answer GameSpot's questions about the timing of the price drop and how it plays into Sony's planned 10-year life cycle. Koller also detailed the company's assessment of the mobile and tablet gaming market and what exactly its impact will be on the financial fate of the upcoming PlayStation Vita handheld.

Sony director of hardware marketing John Koller.

GameSpot: Why drop the price of the PS3 now?

John Koller: We see a lot of opportunity in the market, and I want to note that we've been planning this price drop for quite some time. We look at it in a long-term view, so 12 to 18 months prior to now, we knew that we were going to be dropping the price. We decided that the time was right now because we saw some of the market shifts occurring with new demographics to the market, primarily some of the family and casual consumers coming in, the new price point would be more palatable to them. But we also knew that the software lineup we have coming this fall is really the best we've seen on the PS3 so far. So marrying the two together was really an important thing for us.

GS: It has been two years since the last price cut on the PS3. Is that any longer than anticipated between cuts?

JK: No. As I mentioned, we don't look at these price cuts on a short-term basis. We don't react to short-term, week-over-week market trends. We knew going in that the 2009 price cut would probably stand the test of time for a few years, and it did.

I also want to note that the other rationale about having the price drop now is that our arms are wide open for Xbox 360 and Wii consumers to come aboard the platform. We knew with the software lineup we have--primarily on the PS3--the time was right to say we're open to all gamers, whether it's a second console for the household or a new one on the family demographic side. Either is great for us, and with the software lineup we have coming, we think that 360 and Wii consumers will certainly be very interested with the new price point.

GS: Given the 10-year life cycle you plan for with Sony systems, is the PS3 where it needs to be at the halfway point?

JK: Absolutely, and we're seeing a lot of momentum in the marketplace, not only for the platform itself, but the PlayStation Move and 3D. Yes, we are in great shape for where we plan to be and really see a lot of great momentum to come.

Sony doesn't expect the PS Vita to suffer as a result of the mobile market.

GS: So with the 3DS struggles and the PS Vita coming out, this is a point of speculation for lots of people. How significant is the impact that smartphones and tablets have had on the traditional handheld market like the PSP and DS?

JK: We view that as two separate demographics, and we've done a lot of quantitative and qualitative research to back this up. When you look at the type of consumer that's playing cell phone games currently, it's someone that enjoys smaller "kill time" gaming and has not gravitated to the larger, richer, deeper experiences that true handheld gaming provides.

We've certainly seen that on the PSP, and I know Nintendo has probably commented on it for their products, but as we go toward the PlayStation Vita, I can tell you that as we started looking at that product and the market opportunity several years ago, we saw a real strong demographic for those deeper, richer, console-type experiences. We had them on PSP, but we've taken them to a new level on PS Vita with the entirety of new ways to play.

That "new ways to play" idea, particularly for Vita, really differentiates from what's available on mobile phones or tablets and, frankly, what will be available on those platforms over the next three to five years. You're going to see PS Vita expand what a lot of people believe to be true about handheld gaming, and you're going to see a lot of those current mobile phone and tablet gamers come over to Vita. We're very convinced of that.

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129 comments
imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

The real problem with portable consoles is first they are two big to fit in your average pocket, none of the games are really suitable for playing for short lengths of time and they have terrible battery life. The only real use I see for a portable gaming system is for holidays when you go away and you want some deep games with you. For the bus stop or what ever smart phone games are far more suitable. Real deep games are played on game consoles and smart phones are perfect for other games. Besides kids the portable console gaming market is declining.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

I agree with both Sony and Nintendo. Tablets and phones are NOT game devices. No one says,"I'm looking for a new game device....Hmm.The 3DS for $180,the Vita for $250,a smartphone for widely varying prices with two year contract and monthly payments,or a tab for 600 to 800 bucks....I think I'll go with a phone or tab." Anyone who games ona phone or tab just picked up the device for its other features and said,"Oh it plays some games too.Neat." Us gamers may have a smartphone with games on it,but that's just to kill time.When we want a real game,we boot up a dedicated console.

vii_words
vii_words

He's actually right ----- two different demographics. The casual gamers will cling to their smart phones. While us hardcore gamers will have Both the smart phone + handheld console of choice (maybe 2?) I mean, last night I was unsuccessfully trying to find a good racing game for my phone to play on the next long-haul flight. The control mechanics, the graphics, the sound, depth of the game, something's just not right. Oh wait, that's just what GT PSP does. **recharges dusty PSP and starts lapping Nurburgring with an ARTA NSX**

Neil211
Neil211

Don't get me wrong I love Sony and I'm definitely gettin this but to think ur product will not suffer to mobile/tablets game market is ridiculous. If NINTENDO suffered from that with the 3DS at the same retail price as ur PSVita then what makes u guyz think ur going to get around that. NINTENDO

NodakJo2010
NodakJo2010

@cbthedog........those two separate statements contradict each other. Angry Birds and DoodleJump are simple, non graphical, and quick to pick up and play games. Not graphically deep and rich games like Zelda yet you say you miss the days of gaming when its just about the game.......

cbthedog
cbthedog

o yea BULL S H I T. If 3DS couldnt do it (fanboys, accept the fact that DS had a bigger reception than PSP) i doubt vita can. I love Sony, but that statement is just foolish. iOS and Android will continue to dominate, and dedicated gaming is going down. I hate that Angry Birds is "cooler" than Zelda, or that DoodleJump is "more fun" than Little Big Planet, but hey, simple minds need simple entertainment. I miss the days of when gaming was about the GAME, not the multiplayer/graphics. Or when movies were about the PLOT, not 3D. Or when books were better on PAPER, not a kindle (although a Kindle/iPad is convenient). It just seems that people need a gimmicky little add-on to make an experience worthwhile...

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

Vita is looking more and more intriguing. i'm definitely getting one!

Fearzone
Fearzone

I agree with what he is saying about tablets. I have yet to see a must-have game on a tablet or iPhone, or anything that comes close. Until I do, they and the handhelds are apples and oranges. For most serious games (except pure strategy) you need precision input, which handhelds have, and tablets don't.

j2zon2591
j2zon2591

I doubt there's really a "tablet gamer" per se. These so called "tablet gamers" have the tablet for other multimedia purposes.. and my guess is that more often than not, games are secondary to the multimedia function. The most significant of w/c is the Web Browsing Experience and a deal of "useful apps". Unless Sony implements a good web browser and a bigger app base, I don't think they're pulling any significant "tablet gamers" they so call (discounting those core gamers/ handheld gamers [PSP/DS] who own a tablet). Hey! By no means am I saying that they wouldn't reach their sales projection.. I just don't think that most of them would be the tablet users who play "casual games".. CASUALLY. GL Sony.

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

lol...what is it with people these days...just because they say so does not make it so. What it really means is we'll see a lot of instant shovel ware instead of quality games...

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Take THAT iPad fanboys! A representative from one of the Big 3-a definite expert- agrees with every "core" gamer out there.(That is one who games intentionally,not just to kill some spare time.) Your stinking phones and pads just can't produce the games we want to play for hours and hours. We'd rather play those devices while taking a dump on the toilet.When it's time for a deep,long,rich gaming experience,it's time for a Nintendo or Sony handheld.

DCSchark
DCSchark

I love the PS2 and PS3, but not the PSP. Just a couple of months ago, my UMD-drive stopped functioning. Now, I have to pay $20-30 to replace it, take the PSP apart and install it myself. Yet, I think the PS Vita is a great successor to the lousy PSP just because it uses game cards instead of UMD's and it has a LOT of multiple functionalities. Good job, Sony. :)

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

.....there is not even gamers there, just posers

vadicta
vadicta

I'm currently doing all my handheld gaming on an Android device and I'll be switching over to the Vita. So, proof of theory = Me :)

CorruptGamerGX
CorruptGamerGX

Another piss-poor article from GameSpot. Why would he say something this stupid when Sony just recently released the Xperia Play with its purpose being to take a bite out of the mobile market? I think he's basically saying Vita will offer games from both worlds. REAL games for the hardcore and mobile shovelware iCasuals love. My guess is that those horrible phone developers will obviously port their games to Xperia Play then, if they want extra pocket change ($0.99), PSVita.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

A huge plus for the PS Vita is that the mobile games can be migrated from the tablets and phones onto the PS Vita with minimal effort since it has many of the same features that tablets and phones have. Add to that the fact that the PS Vita versions can have some additional content and extra ways to control that the tablets and phones don't offer. I really see a PS Vita owner as someone who plays more on a portable system than a home console, but who enjoys the home console experience.

painpas
painpas

Let's look at a few things rationally. I have a laptop and the Ipad is limited in some respects so that device is not for me .. YET. The Iphone is a great phone and the Android too... AS PHONES. They have their time waster games and that is cool but is not good enough for me as a gaming device. That said, the 3DS and the Vita are perfect for me as a gamer. I cannot stress enough that as life changes so does your dedication. A system that you can pick up and play at anytime and get a great experience with adequate controls is fantastic for the GAMER. This device is not to compete with anything really it is for those who like games and trust that the game quality will be up to snuff. Yes IOS and android will have there share of turnbased games that will work on the device admirally. Conversely, there will be times where precised input will be a necessity and dedicated touch handhelds will be all purposed for GAMES. I like the line up and have pre-ordered this and GAMERS should do the same for our industry and preferred control inputs be preserved. We have to put the money up for devs to continue to make the great experiences that we have come to love. I for one will support both the 3DS at some point and the Vita is a day one because I am older and like the new tech in the machine from a performance and innovative gameplay stand point.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

Last thing, if $50 was all that was keeeping the xbox 360 crowd from buying a ps3, I don't think those are the fans you want. I mean, waiting YEARS and YEARS for a $50 price drop? you think these types of people buy new games? no it's used and bargin bin priced only.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

Also, I don't think lowering the ps3 price to $50 cheaper than their handheld was a good idea. Cause for me(a ps3-less gamer:(), I would MUCH rather buy a ps3 + a game or two then a handheld. But hey thats'a me. Also, the comments about the size of the vita are spot on, I don't think people want that in their pocket, given the size of "smart" phones these days, I dont think peoples pants can hold up any more weight.. maybe if they included a new "Vita" belt, with gamestorage and suspenders :)

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

I find it funny how the 3ds AND the vita basically kept there almost EXACT look to the hardware. To me it's not a good thing, I often quickly see pictures of the Vita and mistake it for a PSP. Only upon closer inspection to i notice the 2nd analog stick. Same with the 3DS. I hope the packaging they choose for the Vita will be drastically different. PS: I dont think all the "tablet-obssessed" people that spent $500-$800 on their new, "everyone wants one" tablet, to use a "vita".. I would imagine in the coming months, we will see MEGA promotion of vitas in all sony pictures movies, just like apple products on tv and movies. They need to make the whole "ipod" generation/crowd want one.. and they need to have "shortages" of units following launch. hype my friends, its what everything in the tech world is based on :)

grbolivar
grbolivar

@GunBladeHero Nope, seems like the blind one is you, PSVita is just like in another, higher realm than those Nintendo gimmick toys, go check some Gamescom videos and "see" how superior is the PSVita to anything else.

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

The Vita looks pretty slick. I gotta keep my old PSP for FFTactics, but release it on Vita and I'm all yours Sony.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

I'm not so sure people who gobble up games in little bits on tablets and phones will understand or want the depth of play available in a dedicated handheld. Depending on how the launch line up looks, I'm getting this system on day 1.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

The Vita is goin to be amazing. It wll do lots of things, but this time Sony is marketing it as a portable game device FIRST, rather than the multi-entertainment approach the took in the beginning with the PSP.

supa_badman
supa_badman

Not gonna lie though, it seems that recently Sony has done their homework, they're definitely looking more and more appealing.

vadicta
vadicta

Yeah, I definitely see them marketing this as more of a "tablet that plays the best games." It'll be sort of the same way they marketed the Experia Play.

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

@grbolivar Oh great, another blind fanboy.... just what I needed.

leeko_link
leeko_link

The Vita doesn't need to worry about the mobile craps, the 3DS is the only competitor it had to worry about. The reason why the PSP Go failed was because instead of competing with the DS and DSi in the handheld market, it went on to compete with the iPhone and iPad in mobile market which it should never have to.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@Promised_Trini Oh hell yes! Thank you for calling some of these people out....saves me the extra step. I just love how people like to throw out this price-point argument; yet more than likely these are the same fools that'll turn right around every 6 months buying 'teh next' Apple iteration at DOUBLE the price that even ONE PSV will cost. And guess what you get w/ them....?? Still a half-assed, gimped gaming experience. Why? Because they're not a dedicated gaming device; they're a smartphone/tablet/whatever device that has minimal 'gaming capabilities'. Nice little pieces of something to pass the time w/ on the quick, but nothing that truly pulls into a deep gaming experience, on-the-go. If I wanted to get any sort device (tablet or smartphone) like that, it'd certainly not be for gaming purpose--at least not w/ the kind of gaming I do. Now the PSV (and hell, even 3DS--when I choose to get it), on the other hand....

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

It's funny the article's title really misses the thrust of his argument: "We view that as two separate demographics," He's not saying that the Vita will take over from tablet/ smart phone gaming he's saying that what it will do will attract people from that demographic as well as the more core gamers.

grbolivar
grbolivar

PSVita is like the best thing ever... I don't know why anybody would want that 3DS crap.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

This is more disconnected reasoning from Sony. The Vita isn't designed to compete with tablets, or at least it shouldn't be. Most of the people I know who have tablets either aren't gamers or don't use them for gaming. If Sony's strategy is to draw people from that group to the Vita then it's a bad strategy.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Yes I agree with the short tiny "kill time" gaming on smart phones. The subway to work, or waiting at the doctors/dentist Angry birds fills this just fine. As tetris did in the early days on cell phone gaming. 5min-20min tops. So tablet gaming will grow but never take over for a device made for gaming. Tablets are neat for the touch based short gaming moments.

shravan_perne
shravan_perne

Sorry Koller I disagree ... I think the handheld gaming itsef is 'Kill Time' gaming with a few exceptions... more serious gamers would play consoles or PC. So saying its a different demographic is ignoring the issue...

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Would you care to bet on that, Koller? I went to get a wager in now while you still have money.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

I already pre-order the 3G PS Vita but the most important is of course the Game launch Sony and please, please just try to release the Vita like in November or December before the new year.

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

iphone to vita????? nah................. only one who will go from iphones to vita are those who can afford games at 40 bucks above. iphones comes in cheaply to freebies

franzito
franzito

This is so... how can I say... weird...

superxtreme101
superxtreme101

LOL There is no way in hell that tablet or mobile phone gamers will move to the Vita. I mean seriously the reason the handheld market has decreased vastly is because of the IPhone and IPad etc., so it actually the other way around. Sorry Sony, Nintendo Sorry Vita, 3DS ( Even though I love them both)

TTDog
TTDog

hahahahahahahahahaha! No... they won't.

jlm2k5
jlm2k5

Famous last words

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Well quite personally I think both sides of the argument are wrong.. Folks that I know haven't bought android phones or tablets for games, they bought them for the apps and what they can do. I have an i-pod touch and very rarely play games on it, it's all 'pick up and play' - casual at it's easiest. The apps however can be genius. I doubt that tablet 'gamers' will move to get a Vita, because tablet gamers aren't proper gamers. And I also doubt that gamers will buy a tablet over a Vita - because you don't buy them for gaming! I don't know.. maybe I'm deluded. Either way I think the Vita will sell well though, for serious gamers it looks like a damn good piece of tech.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

I think the guy is delusional if he actually believes the mobile and tablet users are going to come over to PSVita. The reality is the other way around; a huge number current handheld users are going to continue to move over to mobiles and tablets. That "quantitative and qualitative research" they have been doing is flawed.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

I love the concept of the Vita. Sadly I don't think the iPhone/Tablet gaming crowd share my views on what a portable gaming device should be. I think the people who would buy this device are people who bought the PSP, some who bought the DS and 3DS and some people who just want every console that comes out.

coolguyhero
coolguyhero

what i want only the game price because for vita or any hardware you will pay big amount or small amount once.the games or the software is the main thing because if the games will be in cheap price more gamer will join the sony familly if games are costlier everytime we have to pay high amount.

zenlang
zenlang

Im hoping for a new Disgaea and Persona for Vita :D. Even a remake of disgaea 3 and 4 and Persona 4 for vita will do

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I'd like to hear a bit more on the "new ways to play" idea. The official website describes several features such as the front and back multi-touch screens, cameras, and 6-axis sensors but these features are also available on some phones and tablets. Are there any games in the pipeline or being considered that would combine the function of these new features with the traditional buttons and thumbsticks in unique ways? I mean beyond the expected use-stick-to-move-touchscreen-to-zoom split functionality. Although I don't see much chance of handheld users moving to phones and tablets unless those platforms start to have handheld controls built-in or the way we game radically changes, I also don't see much chance that a mobile phone user/casual gamer would trade in his phone for a Vita when on the road or bring both his phone and the Vita for added encumbrance. Does Sony's confidence indicate expanded and as yet unannounced functionality for the Vita? Calling? Organizer function? Msging should be easy given it's multi-touch screen. GPS? Camera is already built-in and both sides too. Maybe instead of waiting for phones and pads to move toward handhelds, the Vita is moving toward them. :)

snake2215449
snake2215449

Dude the Vita is gonna be awesome! Why are people so worried about it?

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Hey if more people buy the PS3 then that just means more people to play against and meet online. I'm all for that!

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

only a fool will not buy the vita I'm buying it day one and I have been wanting it since they first announced it