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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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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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