Given the lack of triple A titles slated for release on the Playstation Vita in the coming months, save Killzone Mercenary this September, many industry experts have gone ahead and written off the handheld’s market presence. After all, Sony themselves predicted just last week that the Vita and PSP will sell 5 million units collectively in the coming fiscal year which, compared to Nintendo’s bold 18 million mile marker for 3DS in the same period, is a significant difference. In an interview with Gamasutra, Sony’s senior business development manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad addressed some of these concerns.
“Sometimes things can happen,” he said, “and they can dramatically change the evolution in terms of sales of a platform. What I can say is that looking back at the performance of different consoles over the course of history, sometimes you’ve had slow starts which have been suddenly sprung into life by a number of activities. What you don’t say ahead of time is, ‘Oh this will and that will happen, and suddenly we’ll have a massive spike in sales.’ It’s not the sort of thing that companies do.”
Though Ahmad’s response may seem rather cagey, it’s apparent that Sony had no reason to believe that the Playstation Vita – once heralded as the revolution of portable gaming – failed to strike a chord with the majority of gamers. The slow starts that he refers to rather epitomises the 3DS’ journey, after all, Nintendo’s own handheld limped out of the gate in terms of sales before a significant price cut spearheaded worldwide reception. For Sony, though, the new-fangled focus on indie developers, which has resulted in games such as Thomas Was Alone and Spelunky being ported over, conveys their perspective on the struggling console. In fostering their relationship with independent game developers, Sony have provided Vita with the chance to carve out its own niche market that can, when the time comes, happily coexist with the Playstation 4.
Granted, it’s easy to deduce that Sony’s mission statement for Vita is a humble withdrawal. A wave of a white flag. But given the architecture of the Playstation 4 and the promise of Gakai as an online streaming service, perhaps the Japanese juggernaut can look to their fourth home console in order to reverse the stuttering sales of the Playstation Vita. What do you think about Ahmad’s comments? As the Vita still struggles to find that one killer app, do you believe the Playstation 4 will be the handheld’s life saver? Sound off in the comments below.