CES 2013: PS Vita sales 'on the low end' of expectations, admits Sony CEO Hirai
Sony's presentation was focused primarily on the company's television division, but a question and answer session gave Hirai the opportunity to discuss other areas of business.
When asked about the Vita, Hirai conceded that sales had been lower than hoped, but stressed that it was too early to say whether the product is successful or not.
Looking long term
"Long term is what is important," Hirai said, explaining that the PlayStation 3 attracted similar doubts early in its lifecycle.
According to figures surveying the state of the handheld market in October 2012, the PS Vita was being outsold by its seven-year-old predecessor the PSP in Japan and Europe.
In the US, meanwhile, consumers are snapping up the aging Nintendo DS at twice the rate they are the Vita.
In a video interview with The Verge, Hirai discussed the Vita further, insisting that there is still a place in the market for its gaming portable, even in the face of stiff competition from smartphones and tablets.
"Based on the consumer feedback we've been getting, there is certainly a very large segment of the videogame market that is interested in playing immersive games on a game specific device, as opposed to playing casual games on smartphones."
"The physical buttons and the controls are very important for that intuitive and intricate gameplay control," Hirai added.
"Between that [the Vita] and home-based consoles those aren't going to go away any time soon."
Finally, Hirai broached the subject of Nvidia's newly announced Android-based gaming device, Project Shield, in a discussion documented by PC World.
"I wasn't as surprised as you might think," Hirai said, referring to the fact that Nvidia's announcement was entirely unexpected by attending press.
"If you look back through the pages of history, there have been other attempts," continued the Sony president and CEO. Other than Sony and Nintendo, though, there have been few successes.
"It's difficult to break into I've managed this industry, so I know," Hirai concluded.
[source: The Wall Street Journal]