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Sony finding Western interest in Vita TV stronger than expected

Though the PlayStation Vita TV isn't coming to the US and Europe yet, demand for the microconsole is high

When the PlayStation Vita TV was announced, Sony revealed that the microconsole is launching in Japan only, with forthcoming releases in other Asian markets. Unfortunately, there's no planned release for Vita TV in North America or Europe, leading some to question when the West will see the console. Sony Japan executive Masayasu Ito told Eurogamer that the Western interest in Vita TV has been "strong... more than we expected".

"Of course we are thinking of launching it in the US and Europe," he added. "But when it comes to the timing, we'll have to watch the environment and identify what other services are available in the US and Europe and whether we'll have to add other services."

The Vita TV will be launching with Japanese-only video services like Nico-Nico Douga and Tsutaya TV. The Vita has equivalent Western services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, but there may be some optimization needed before those apps can work on Vita TV.

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House explained another reason for the Vita TV's Asian market focus: the lack of competition.

"The reason we wanted to launch PlayStation Vita TV in Japan first was because we think that there is a significant gap in this market even for a pure streamed TV box," he said. "There isn't really a competitor here that's staked out a claim. And frankly, in my own view, Japan is a little behind the adoption curve in video streaming services."

"So we thought we could have an opportunity in Japan to really establish a leadership position by having an addition differentiated killer app - which is having our huge library of streaming games content. The landscape is different elsewhere. [Some of Vita TV's capabilities] are already part and parcel of how consumers view media there. We need to look at each of those markets and how we approach them."

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Latest comments (4)

Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
I'm not sure why they underestimated the appetite for either a micro-console or a streaming system in the west, given the emergence and success of recent devices.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
I'd say they called it exactly right

There's real danger in listening to small loud groups. Basically they're seeing something they're told they can't have, with a feature easily accomplished via an app, and it sounds cool and they want it. Sony wasn't launching the thing here because the media streamer market is very full, and by the time you pay for a controller, you're laying down double what the competition charges, and not much less than a PS3 that can do all the same tricks and more. If the do launch it here, I'll give five to one it enjoys a few months of decent numbers before bleeding out, hard. It's just too expensive to compete with Roku and AppleTv, especially since there are tens of millions of huge, already in people's homes. Launch a $5 catcher app that works on same and tablets, and that would be very profitable
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
@Jeff

I don't think the streaming market is saturated in the west. RRP with a controller included the device is supposed to be around the same if not cheaper than an AppleTV, which at last looks only sold around 4 Million worldwide.

Lest we forget the PS3 is the dominant one out of multi-media machines in Japan, so by the above logic why would Japanese customers buy a Vita TV when they have a PS3 or can get something else?

VitaTV won't be that expensive to produce or to sell, today it would likely be in a similar boat to the Ouya, arguably confirmed by the aggressive pricing. I can't say for sure how successful this will be in the grand scheme of things, especially if the marketing sucks but I don't see why it would be necessarily more successful in Japan than the West, which is huge market with record (and increasing) interest and adoption of micro-consoles and streaming devices.

Then throw in the obvious capabilities it has to extent the PS3/PS4 experience and ecosystem. If they are going to release this at all, it would be simply barmy to not release it world-wide. Or it would just be another half-hearted experiment with missed potential and disgruntled consumers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 23rd September 2013 9:02pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Adam: Agreed. In fact, I'd bet they can improve upon some features the Japanese model has and as long as there's content and proper promotion/adoption of the device, it'll do OK here. I don't think it'll be bought in massive quantities, but if that streaming works fine, I can see it being a moderate hit.

It WILL fail if SCEA just tries to push it as a game device unless they have a ton of PSN content ready to stream and get fans of certain older franchise games to buy in for those and more. I'm hoping the thing can be used to download and store PS3/PS4 and Vita content from say, a free wifi hotspot and transferring it to either system, as it would be perfect for getting updates without needing to lug a console around to a friend's home.

@Jeff: How many of the many streaming devices in the US allow you to play PlayStation to PS3 and some Vita titles? None, I'd bet. That's the key here. There's still money to be made selling those older to new titles, so why shouldn't SCEA want to pass up on that if enough people here are interested?
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