Sony: PlayStation 4 has given Vita a shot in the arm

Handheld was always developed as a companion to new console; and no PS3 price-cut yet, says Sony exec

The PlayStation 4 will give the PlayStation Vita a much-needed "shot in the arm" and improve the system's sales and performance in the Sony gaming ecosystem, according to UK MD Fergal Gara.

"I don't think it's unfair to say [the Vita] came into a very complex marketplace that probably wasn't fully envisaged at the time development started"

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry International, Gara admitted the Vita has been a hard-sell so far, revealing that the handheld was designed as companion hardware to the PlayStation 4 much more than the current PlayStation 3.

"I don't think it's unfair to say it came into a very complex marketplace that probably wasn't fully envisaged at the time development started," Gara said of the Vita launch in late 2011.

"It borrows a lot from the mobile and tablet world, especially with touch control. And it borrows a fair amount from the PlayStation of old with the analogue sticks. And it's a very worthy and better successor to PSP. Where it's been difficult has been proving the companion status for PlayStation 3. The fact is it was developed for PS4, much more than PS3.

"The number of things we could demonstrate and prove was limited - there's been some good examples - but now we go into the PS4 era, that companion device will look far more clear. We're optimistic it's got a lot more legs left in it and the PS4 has given it a shot in the arm."

When asked whether Sony released the PlayStation Vita too early to the market, Gara said it was too early to call, but admitted there might be some admission in retrospect.

"That might be a point worth reflecting on in a year or two's time and maybe we'll be answering that as yes. It's a little early to judge, certainly if it takes off now than we'll reflect on it."

One of the Vita's strongest features is the ability to Remote Play PlayStation 4 games via the Vita, streaming the majority of high-end games from the home console to the handheld.

"When you consider something like Watch Dogs will be available for PS Vita via the Remote Play functionality it's very exciting," said Gara. "And the fact the PS4 is coming out at a well-received price point means it's not out of the question to own both."

At least week's E3 event Sony revealed a £349 / $399 price for the PlayStation 4, due in the US and Europe before the end of the year.

"The PlayStation 3 is a system where it hasn't been particularly easy to get the costs down"

But many were also expecting a price cut in the PlayStation 3 as it shifts to become the entry level home console for PlayStation gaming. However, Gara poured cold water on those expectations.

"There's no plans as yet," he said. "The PlayStation 3 is a system where it hasn't been particularly easy to get the costs down.

"We continue to look at opportunities, there may or may not be any more, I genuinely can't answer to that. But it will certainly be a more keenly priced machine in relative to PlayStation 4. It will sit there as a viable entry level machine for years to come. It will be different by territory as to how long its life is. There's still a lot of love for PS3," he added.

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Latest comments (12)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Next: Aviating suids.

The world has moved on from dedicated, high cost, walled garden devices.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development8 years ago
Creative labelling again. I thought there was some actual proof showing up, not just more navel gazing.

PS4 probably will increase the worldwide sales of Vita. By as much as a days worth of new Androids.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up8 years ago
@Bruce Whilst I'm mostly in agreement, I think everything becomes a walled garden at some point Bruce. Its feasible to suggest apple and google could start looking at the app store portfolio from a quality control point of view in future and therefore control content subjectively. At some point its going to be over saturated and it may be the only sensible way to manage it. Either that or you might find you are giving them a bigger cut for better visibility.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 19th June 2013 10:21am

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Caleb Hale Journalist 8 years ago
After people drop $400 for a PS4, plus $100 or so more for a couple games, I'm afraid the $250 Vita is still going to be left behind by the majority of buyers. Even as an off-TV play companion, it's still cheaper just to tell someone to go watch television somewhere else. Now, once this Gaikai potential is fully realized and you can access any of your console games on the Vita from anywhere, that might be a game changer for the device. Of course, to make that happen Sony might have to *GASP* keep track of what games you own on your PlayStation account.
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Lindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic8 years ago
@Bruce Sony have added Playstation Mobile to Vita which like iOS you pay about 60 (or nothing if that promotion is still going on) to get games running on your Vita so the walled garden has become more open already. And who is to say that Sony will not have a similar scheme on PS4, which would be awesome.

@Caleb I agree the price for the Vita is still a bit steep, if Sony had a bundle of Vita and PS4 for 430 or $499 that would be an epic win for consumers and them
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
I didn't see this article as a positive.

I have a feeling that the Vita may become more redundant if only seen as a companion for the PS4. A hand-held console should ideally be successful and useful without being a second screen for your home console.
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Anders Lundberg Analyst 8 years ago
"Where it's been difficult has been proving the companion status for PlayStation 3. The fact is it was developed for PS4, much more than PS3."

So Sony calculated on two years of slow sales awaiting the PS4? I find that really hard to believe, and I don't think that it was the actual plan, but mr.Gara seems to be pointing at it. If so, why didn't Sony release Vita closer to the PS4 with better hardware capabilities and a clearer vision to the consumers? PS4 will surely boost the Vita sales, but mr.Gara is hinting at bad decision making from Sony.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
I think Adam nailed it.

Portable consoles have always stood out on their own merits in terms of their success. Relying on the success of another device to be successful is dubious planning at best. Utterly irresponsible at be kind.

Though I do agree that it may help boost sales some but we're talking a few percentage points at most. If Sony are expecting to double or even triple sales just because of PS4, I have a perpetual motion machine they may be interested in licensing.

Anders, you really are doing your best to damage the poor reputation of analysts. Isn't it code somewhere that you're not allowed to do that?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Oh, of course the Vita was released too early. Just like the 3DS, but at least Nintendo responded to the complaints with a price drop, free content and less playing up the 3D capabilities and later, a larger and better version. Sony has been a it too stubborn to do much other than get more older games out that can run on the thing plus a ton of minis while the software made for it is gradually improving and some nice features are implemented.

That said, it needs to have more functionality out of the gate with PS4 and yes, the PS3 for certain games, there needs to be a price drop for the system and DEFINITELY the memory cards and down the road, some sort of budget redesign that focuses on on board storage so games can be downloaded and played/transferred to the PS4 with or without the "cloud", as this will get those who still aren't connected as much as they (or Sony) would like can buy the damn thing already...

And yep, a PS4/Vita bundle should be a "thing" at retail or online directly from Sony (cut out that middleman, make more of a profit, I guess) in the future...
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Anders Lundberg Analyst 8 years ago
@Jim Don't worry, being short sighted, destroying industries and making bad predictions is what i get paid to do. Commenting here is just a hobby.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Anders Lundberg on 19th June 2013 6:16pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
I agree with Adam and Jim. It's almost as if Sony is now looking at the Vita as an extra accessory(calling it a companion) for the PS4 that they think will make consumers want both. Outside of the Wii Fit mat and Kinect camera most extra accessories don't sell very well and no where near half the install base of the particular system they are for. Yes the PS4 hasn't even launched yet but, as already mentioned, after your $400 console purchase and $100+ game and accessory purchase who's going to want to spend another $250-$300 on a Vita? Not many people.

Shot in the arm? Sure but much like most drugs you inject in your arm the high is fleeting and not very practical for any long term worthwhile effects/results....or so I've heard.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd8 years ago
People totally spend $300 on accessories to $400 machines. No, wait, that's not right. People spend $300 to play GAMES. Holy crap Sony you're not going to sell the Vita as a PS4 controller. Make games for it or discontinue it.
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