news\ Oct 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

Over half a year later, the PS Vita's future still looks bleak

PS Vita

Sony's newest handheld is still troubled, seven months after launch.

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida recently told Gamasutra, "One thing that was surprising and disappointing to us was the [lower] number of third parties to come out [in support] after launch."

The company took for granted the kind of instantaneous support that would have occurred "many years ago," as now "there are so many options for publishers," he said, like mobile and social games.

"As we can expand our install base and articulate what works really well on the platform as compared to others, it will get easier for us to be able get support from third parties," he said.

But that sounds like a steep goal — many platforms now work well with various types of games and are appealing for different reasons. The bigger games still go to consoles, but now it's easier for developers to self-publish or even seek funding independently through sites like Kickstarter. The old handheld world feels stuck somewhere in the middle.

Sony is focused on a plan, however. "We are trying to bring more indie, small content applications to PS Vita through the PS Mobile program," Yoshida told Polygon previously. "We are targeting those new small app developers to bring their games to PS Vita as well as the Playstation Certified Android devices."

But acquiring a steady stream of games is only one problem. At $270-350, depending on how much you invest in the device and memory cards alone (not counting games), the PlayStation Vita is a pricey piece of hardware. And like the 3DS, it's not overly appealing in terms of software — but after a slow launch with its handheld, Nintendo wisely slashed the cost.

But Sony is refusing to compromise, at least not in time for the holiday season. We could see a drop next year, according to vice president and managing director Fergal Gara at the Eurogamer Expo, but that may only be in the U.K.

Sales numbers are difficult to pin down, but Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, predicted earlier this year that the Vita would sell 4.3 million worldwide — 1.5 million in the U.S., 1.5 million in Japan, and 1.3 million in Europe. As of February 26, the Vita sold 1.2 million units globally. At the end of June, it had achieved 2.2 million.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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