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Yoshida: Sony surprised and disappointed by third party support for Vita

Yoshida: Sony surprised and disappointed by third party support for Vita

Mon 01 Oct 2012 7:40am GMT / 3:40am EDT / 12:40am PDT
HardwarePublishing

While UK boss Fergal Gara talks Wii U, a 2013 price cut, and stepping back from 3D

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

Two Sony figureheads have spoken out on the success of the company's handheld this week. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has shared his disappointment in the support publishers had shown for the PlayStation Vita.

"One thing that was surprising and disappointing to us was the [lower] number of third parties to come out [in support] after launch," he told Gamasutra.

"In retrospect, there are so many options for publishers now that we cannot take it for granted that our new platform would be supported by third parties, like [it would've been] many years ago."

He suggested that part of the blame lay with the boom in mobile devices that are now competing with handhelds for publisher's development dollars.

"There are limited resources that third party publishers have, and they have to diversify into new areas constantly; that's a challenge to get the support that we want. We've been working harder with our third party relations department to secure more content for PS Vita, we are confident that we have the right hardware platform that we have with PS Vita."

Meanwhile SCE UK boss Fergal Gara spoke about UK sales and hinted at a price cut in 2013.

"I'd say it's done reasonably well, but I'm a sales guy and motivated by selling, so I'm never going to say we've done well enough," he told Eurogamer.

"What's important is we've got great software now as we face into peak. We've seen it time and time again on Sony platforms and others' platforms: when you've got great software you can give it a great push."

When asked about the Vita price tag he added that the company "always aim to establish price cuts" and "the question is not so much if, but when." He did confirm it wouldn't be in time for Christmas.

It seems that this Christmas the Sony will be keeping its eye on another console, the Wii U, but Gara added that he doesn't see it as an immediate threat.

"We feel very confident that in the PlayStation and we won't be going after the same niche early adopter market they'll be going after this Christmas. I think we're sitting in separate camps at this stage, so it won't be head to head," he explained.

"If they gain real traction next year it becomes a more important factor in the mix. They've been a very key player in the market overall as you well know in recent years. So we have to respect that, watch that and do our best to compete with that."

Gara also addressed Sony's stance toward 3D gaming, which was a significant push for the company but has not been a focus of its marketing efforts of late. Despite Sony's efforts, Gara conceded that 3D entertainment in the home just hasn't caught on.

"Consumers decide how relevant it is," Gara said. "It's fair to say consumers have decided it's not hugely important at this time. It's a capability we've got. It may have a bigger life a little further down the line."

20 Comments

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
One of the problem for Indies is that that the platform holder's filter is before you get a devkit, not after you made a game using the devkit.
Plan a product, prototype, get the devkits then release - this used to be the AAA business modell. No experiments, no risks. Quite big risk to develop a prototype yet having no real idea if its going to work on the device...

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd

138 90 0.7
I'm surprised that Sony are surprised. Most of us in the industry saw this coming, it's worrying that the people at the top didn't.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

robert troughton UK General Manager, Epic Games

224 100 0.4
I'm surprised that people are surprised at Sony's surprise... I'd probably be less surprised if people weren't surprised by Sony's surprise. But, yeah, anything's possible - Europe just won the Ryder Cup, after all.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Christophe Danguien Games Developer, Bejig

4 0 0.0
They've been a very key player in the market overall as you well know in recent years.
....Maybe we haven't been on the same planet for the last 30 years, but it's more about Sony we could say that during the era of PS one/2 , not about Nintendo...

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Georges Paz Programmer, technical director and CEO, Psychoz Interactive

13 1 0.1
To Sony:
Open your god-darn PlaystationVita to indies, the way Apple does to everyone and you will sell tons of PSVitas. Until then I'm watching your handheld getting destroyed!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Georges Paz on 1st October 2012 5:23pm

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
Open your god-darn PlaystationVita to indies, the way Apple does to everyone and you will sell tons of PSVitas. Until then I'm watching your handheld getting destroyed!
I wish that would happen, but Apple makes money from selling the platform, Sony makes the money from selling the software. Apple does not really care about the software, its just pocket money compared to the hardware sales - as long it sells the devices.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Sony suprised? How many times are they gonna suprise themselves, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a differant result.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Craig Page Programmer

390 233 0.6
There will be some third party Vita support once their Playstation Mobile store goes live later this year. But the SDK is so crippled and incomplete, that I don't expect anything but card games and angry birds clones from it.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Doug Paras

117 61 0.5
People who think Indie companies are gonna push the PSV are fooling themselves, nobody will buy a system like the PSV or a 3DS simply for indie developed games.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Patrick Williams Medicine and Research

93 61 0.7
I think Sony should seize on the Wii U phenomenon and push a PS3 - Vita combo and push hard. Sell it for 100$ more than a PS3 with Uncharted and a couple months of playstation plus. People will make games for the Vita when people own Vitas to play them on.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
That's a great benefit to consumers, Patrick, but I'm not certain Sony could afford to take that kind of loss. Combined, they retail for ~$520 USD. A PS3 w/Uncharted 3 is going for $270 so adding $100 would make it $370. Not only is that more than the Wii U itself (granted you get a completely portable controller, as it were) but a $130 loss is beyond their bank account right now.

Sony seems to be doing all they can to move back in profitable territory after seeing the Games division go back into the red last quarter.

As for being surprised? Of course they aren't. But you have to put on that face for investors. They've barely sold 2 million units and are selling par with the Dreamcast in Japan. It's an incredibly powerful system with a beautiful screen but $250 is still $250 and that's too much for this economic climate and market circumstances.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,217 1,050 0.9
PSP-2...

I don't get it. You could see the potential problems for Playstation Vita from miles away... Perhaps every company needs a Chief Mistake Prevention Officer. Could have spotted these worries before the platform released. Doesn't help that Playstation Mobile has been so slow to get anywhere either.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
The damn goofy thing is... a bunch of really good and fun games are arriving on the Vita now and into 2013, and ALL need a bigger push among those two million or so users so people can see how solid they are. I still think they launched the Vita too early and with lousy support they SHOULD have had before the thing hit retail. It should have been a holiday 2012 launch with a pack-in included that wasn't some mini-game collection, but something more memorable..

Yup, the price point IS high for many and Sony's refusal to chop the price temporarily like Nintendo did with the 3DS (which put them in the red for a bit) is going to hit them harder even if they defend it by stating their system is more powerful and worth that extra money. Of course, add in the price of a memory card and it's less of a great deal to those on a budget.

EDF 3 Portable is probably the biggest surprise on the Vita currently because it's so huge in terms of content and replay value as to make some console shooters lame by comparison. No DLC, over 50 missions, 4-player online co-op, a bonus character that changes the gameplay up nicely (she needs to be unlocked by playing trough the entire game once).

Thing is, I don't think anyone in that smallish user base (save for a few who dive into new tech just to be cool) bought a Vita for purely casual or social gaming. HEll, even if they did, Sony seems to be a bit timid about social on the handheld. The included mini-games tutorial is dull, Paint Park stinks because you can't use a stylus and the drawing functions are too limited. Where's Outernauts on the Vita? Where are the cool must-have PS3 to Vita compatible games that should have launched with the system?

It just gets frustrating watching Sony keep trying to get it done (and when they do things right, it's awesome), but tripping over the shoelaces they can't quite tie up half the time. 3D is dead for now, by the way (and so is AR gaming because they both get boring after a few minutes of "Ooh!, cool!"). They're going to come back again at some point (like a rash), but I say save that stuff for tech demos and trade shows.

Nintendo learned this the hard, expensive way and if this company hasn't quite figured out that an expensive, flashy gimmick doesn't make good games much better, they'll be scratching a hole in their collective scalp in six months or less wondering why the needle is moving in reverse.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
I kind of didn't want to say this, but before the launch I was like "tsk, no one is going to buy a Vita, because of closedness, backwards incompatibility and high price", and everybody replying to my comments was like "you crazy, I'm gonna buy one its so awsome even my dog will play it". Now most of the comments I see here are duplicates of what I said back then. Not nice guys!
Btw, Sony executives obviously don't read comments on GI.biz.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
I would not be surprised to see the PS4 fail if SONY continue their arrogance.
To see it happen to the PSP and now the PS Vita is disappointing considering that they were once on the verge of destroying Nintendo out of the console market back 7 years ago.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
I would rather by a PFP instead of a PS Vita.
At least I could play The World God Only Knows on it.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
People who think Indie companies are gonna push the PSV are fooling themselves, nobody will buy a system like the PSV or a 3DS simply for indie developed games.
No, but if there are no games, there wont be buyers. And at the moment they need to build the userbase. A few indie hits could generate some noise.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Richard Hill-Whittall Director, Icon Games

31 10 0.3
There will be some third party Vita support once their Playstation Mobile store goes live later this year. But the SDK is so crippled and incomplete, that I don't expect anything but card games and angry birds clones from it.
We' are doing a couple of PSM titles at the moment and the SDK is nice to work with.

We're doing 2D stuff and the SDK support is good. 3D is not so good, but it is early days.

From what I understand there are quite a few titles coming up on PSM. Also you only need the Vita, so it is very similar to iOS in terms of initial costs.

On the whole we're really enjoying working on PSM.

One thing I think that may put many off though is a requirement to get the store Metadata translated into JEFIGS, which is a compulsory cost that is unique to PSM (when compared to iOS and Android). In my opinion this is a potential barrier for entry for some (many?). I know I was peeved when I realised we had to do that as you're looking at a few hundred quid per title.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Richard Hill-Whittall on 2nd October 2012 2:35pm

Posted:2 years ago

#18
The biggest problem, is that a PSV does not replace a PSP. PSP fans are still playing PSP games, and there is little reason they would want a Vita anytime soon.

I have to wonder how this would have turned out if the Vita had a next-gen PSP drive, and backwards compatibility...

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist

47 20 0.4
From looking around various gaming forums, the general feeling is people aren't buying many PSVitas because they are waiting for developers to really get behind it and start producing original games for the system.

If developers are waiting for people to buy the VIta before making games for it then they aren't going to see much growth in platform sales. You need to give people a reason to buy the system. Original Vita only titles. It's risky, but could be worth it if the games are good enough and take full advantage of the hardware.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

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