Sony: PlayStation Vita Was Not Designed to Compete Against Smartphones, Tablets

Sony Admits Weak Sides of PlayStation Vita, Will Focus on Core Gamers

by Anton Shilov
01/14/2014 | 11:10 PM

Sony’s PlayStation Vita is a rather powerful feature-rich game consoles that can be used not only for gaming. Unfortunately, two years after its release, it still cannot boast with massive sales numbers. The reason for that is clear: the device faces competition from smartphones and tablets that gain additional performance and better games every year. Sony admits: its latest portable device was simply not designed to compete against mobile gadgets.


Sony PS Vita game consoles features a lot of exclusive game-oriented elements, including a set of PSP buttons, six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), multi touchpad located on the back side of the system and some other, which are not available on any competing devices. Theoretically, such controls leave all smartphones and tablets in the dust and allow game developers to create unique games for the platform. Unfortunately for Sony, Vita’s 5” multi-touch display with 960x544 resolution is not as good as displays found on modern smartphones and tablets. Besides, the hardware inside Sony’s PS Vita – a system-on-chip with four ARM Cortex-A9 cores, PowerVR SGX543MP4+ graphics engine (accompanied by 128MB of memory) and a memory controller – is at least a generation behind leading-edge mobile devices today. As a consequence, halo games for Apple’s iPhone or iPad just look better than titles developed for the PS Vita.

While Sony can continue adding features to PlayStation Vita, e.g., recently PS Vita became a second-screen controller for the PlayStation 4 and gained cross-platform capabilities, it is obvious that it is very hard for the console to compete against mainstream devices. Sony admits that the market of pocket video games has changed dramatically in the recent years.

“In all honesty, higher sales would have been what we had hoped for. The market Vita entered was more complicated than it was when the console was originally thought about and designed. Games on tablets and phones have changed the marketplace and people cannot carry too many things around at one time. The truth is that the number of people that want the core experience [that Vita offers] is not as big as the number that simply want any sort of game available on the move and, because the likes of a tablet and smart phone are so multifunctional in their use, they will always be very appealing,” said Fergal Gara, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment UK, in an interview with VG247 web-site.

In general, games designed for PlayStation Vita are of better quality compared to titles developed for smartphones and tablets. Problem is that for the mass market it is not that obvious. Therefore, for Sony it is crucial to make PS Vita a valuable game console for core games, specifically those, who already own PlayStation 4.

“I think we have done a good job on the PlayStation brand and it seems to have gone down well that PlayStation is rejuvenating itself and we’re re-doubling efforts to engage gamers. Whilst PS4 is the spearhead of our campaign, we’ve worked hard to show the right level of humility and focus and that we’re absolutely targeted at gamers and we have done our damndest to do a good job for them. We’ve talked the talk and we’ve walked the walk for gamers, and that is really coming through – that must be generating more love for PlayStation and that includes people exploring more of our products, including PS Vita,” said Mr. Gara.