Nintendo's Miyamoto on PS Vita: I don't see a "strong product"

The legendary designer says that Sony's hardware and software fails to impress

Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto has - in a somewhat unexpected remark - questioned the viability of the competition's portable. The man behind Mario doesn't think the hardware or the software for Sony's PlayStation Vita has been strong at all.

"It's obviously a very hi-spec machine, and you can do lots of things with it. But I don't really see the combination of software and hardware that really makes a very strong product," he told Edge at the Louvre museum in Paris, where Nintendo was promoting the 3DS-powered visitor's guide.

The Vita sold 325,000 units at launch in Japan but has been in a serious sales slump in the land of the rising sun, where Sony's older PSP platform has regularly outsold the Vita. Nintendo 3DS, on the flip side, has been killing the competition. In fact, 3DS has been Japan's best-selling hardware every single week since last August's price cut.

The bottom line for Vita is it needs more system-selling games. That was the biggest problem for 3DS initially, and since then Nintendo has obviously addressed that issue.

"When we launched the 3DS hardware we didn't have Super Mario 3D Land, we didn't have Mario Kart 7, we didn't have Kid Icarus: Uprising," Miyamoto said. "We were striving to have all of these ready for the launch, but we weren't able to deliver them at that time."

"We were kind of hoping that people would, nevertheless, buy into the product, find 3DS hardware promising, but looking back we have to say we realise the key software was missing when we launched the hardware."

Vita is a platform full of potential, but Sony has yet to realize that potential.

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Latest comments (10)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
I just think the price is what hurts it. And the product itself is much more expensive to manufacture then what they can sell it for. bad choices on SONY. Havent they learned enough from PS3.
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Martin Rohatynski student 5 years ago
I agree with Rick. The price is ridiculous, and even 3DS is for me as well. I mean, I can pick up a console for less than a PS Vita costs. That's not OK. If I were even to remotely consider purchasing a Vita, it cannot cost more than $100. I can buy a PS3 for $199 with so much more value as it's a Blu-ray player and massive library. Why spent $249 on a Vita with nothing when I have an Iphone?
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Josh Meier5 years ago
So the Vita isn't viable because it's in the same condition around its launch that the DS and 3DS were when they came out?

Because the DS and 3DS are doing so terribly now that good games have been released for them. Oh, wait.

I'm sure the Vita will pick up when some more good games come out on it. A price cut wouldn't hurt either.
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Ahmed Sharif5 years ago
"The legendary designer says that Sony's hardware and software fails to impress"

Is very different to:

"It's obviously a very hi-spec machine, and you can do lots of things with it. But I don't really see the combination of software and hardware that really makes a very strong product..."

How did Miyamoto say the Vita "fails" to "impress"? Saying something is not a "strong product" doesn't equal to "failing to impress." He isn't slamming the console in any form as your initial statement implied, GI.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ahmed Sharif on 4th May 2012 7:55pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Josh, I think that's what he's trying to say. That currently Vita is in the same situation the 3DS was in. Nintendo had hoped people would buy the 3DS anyway but they didn't and he's admitting that and what it took to regain sales.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
I was originally expecting Miyamoto to say something bad about the PS Vita, considering he is from a competitor system Nintendo with their 3DS.

Looking into his words more, I think Miyamoto is talking from experience. And he is right in a way, what the PS Vita needs is a game that can sell the system. Or games that can sell the system to many people because not everyone will enjoy the one game.

So in a way, from having respect for Miyamoto, fearing that this article was going to be about bashing SONY's system, I have more respect for Miyamoto now considering he has talked about one of PS Vita's most fatal flaw, and that is the lack of significant software at launch.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Preetpal, when Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet and Monster Hunter come to tablets and and smart phones with buttons and analog sticks, you might be able to call the portable console market dead. Until then, the market will exist.

Why can't you tablet/phone developers ever come to understand that a coexistence in the market is not only possible but a good thing for the market as whole?

It's like you guys have this irrational hatred toward a market segment as though it were evil or something. I thought we all loved video games. But the moment you tablet/phone guys get into the conversation, you break out the holy water, crosses and garlic on portable and home consoles.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
+100 Jimmy. It's annoying to a massive extreme to see these folks keep wishing the worst of fates for devices that frankly, if they didn't exist BEFORE current tech (and its lesser "gameplay" to some extent), almost NONE of these doom-sayers would even have a damned job doing what they do so well.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
If $100 really is your target point, Sony's got you covered: just buy a PSP. (Well, admittedly you need to go used at the moment for that.)

I don't think $250 is an unreasonable price at all. It's 40% more than the 3DS, sure, but it easily has 40% more power and features. And it's still less than half the price of a recent smartphone. So perhaps Sony would do well to have a carrier subsidize it for those willing to buy a contract.

That said, while I have no problem with the price, there are just too many other annoying things about it that they didn't get right. Non-standard memory cards, non-standard USB cables, region locking, inability to play PSOne Classics (for the moment), not having an MP3 player that compares with those on smartphones, and so on and so forth. All that, combined with a recent bad experience getting my PSP repaired, basically sent me in to the Android camp and I bought a smartphone instead of the Vita. Sony's probably out a thousand dollars or more of revenue over the next few years due to that decision.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Vita is very nice but is 3 years too late. Sony have comprehensively missed the boat. The world has moved on. The Cupertino steamroller is taking no prisoners.

Sony could have done the whole App Store thing far better than Apple, they owned a phone company, a gaming company and masses of content. But they just didn't see it. And still they don't.

In our office full of gamers nobody has bought a Vita. On that basis they really have no chance.
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