Sony gears up for PlayStation Vita's Japan launch

Dec 15, 2011 By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA , Associated Press
In this Sept. 15, 2011 file photo, visitors crowd at the booth of Sony Computer Entertainment for a new portable machine, PlayStation Vita, at the Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, east of Tokyo. Sony's long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hits stores in Japan on Saturday Dec. 17 with the company predicting brisk sales even though the launch has missed much of the holiday shopping season. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

Sony's long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hits stores in Japan on Saturday, with the company predicting brisk sales even though the launch has missed much of the holiday shopping season.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. President Andrew House told reporters Thursday that pre-launch orders had exceeded the allocation made for those keenest to get their hands on the device "extremely quickly" in Japan. He declined to reveal numbers.

The PS Vita goes on sale in North America and Europe on Feb. 22.

Enthusiasm for the new machine among gamers could lead to some shortages at first, House said. But he said Sony can handle the expected load.

"I'm pretty confident ... that there will not be major challenges in meeting demand, even though there may be short-term," House said.

For the Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment giant, the Vita is the biggest product launch since the PlayStation 3 console five years ago.

A successful debut would help Sony offset the rest of its struggling business. It projects a loss of more than $1 billion for the fiscal year through March 2012. That would be its fourth straight annual loss.

The next-generation device is a touch-interface and motion-sensitive handheld that Sony hopes will be a strong successor to the . Gamers can connect over cellphone networks and Wi-Fi hotspots, and use GPS location-tracking technology.

The Vita has front and back cameras, a touchscreen in front, a on the back and two knob-like joysticks. It will enable gamers to play against each other using consoles over the Internet-based PlayStation Network, a system that was hit with a massive hacking attack earlier this year.

House touted the Vita's advantages over rival Nintendo Co.'s 3DS, which had a disappointing start despite the company's efforts to market its 3-D technology. Critics complained about a lack of interesting games. Nintendo ended up slashing prices on the 3DS after less than six months.

In contrast, two dozen software titles will accompany the Vita's introduction - the largest number of launch titles in PlayStation history, House said. Games include "Uncharted: Golden Abyss," "LittleBigPlanet," and "Wipeout 2048."

House also questioned whether 3-D actually makes gaming better.

"If you see people out on the blogs saying, 'I turned it off,' then it's not then really acting as a great game enhancer."

The Vita's Wi-Fi only model will cost $249.99 in the U.S. and euros 249.99 in Europe. The Wi-Fi and 3G-enabled Vita will retail for $299.99 and euros 299.99.

Game prices in Japan will range from 2,940 yen ($37.67) to 6,090 yen ($78).

Although the 3DS costs about 40 percent less than the Vita in Japan, House contends that the Sony device offers a "truly unique gaming experience" that will lure hardcore gamers as well as new gamers.

Both Sony and Nintendo are being challenged by the rise of smartphones and tablets, through which casual gamers can play inexpensive and simple games like the mega-hit "Angry Birds."

House, however, said people will pay if it's worth it.

"Clearly, if the experience merits it, I don't think price is necessarily the barrier to entry," he said, citing the $1 billion in sales racked up by the latest "Call of Duty" game by Activision Blizzard in just over two weeks. "The point is being able to give people a sense of value for money."

House, a U.K. national, took over as president and CEO of in September. He has worked at Sony Corp. for more than two decades.

Explore further: Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sony to launch PlayStation Vita in December

Sep 14, 2011

Sony will release its next-generation PlayStation Vita games console in Japan on December 17, it said on Wednesday, as it looks to mount a fresh challenge to rivals including struggling Nintendo.

Sony unveils next-gen portable device 'Vita'

Jun 07, 2011

Sony Corp. on Monday took the wraps off its next generation portable gaming machine, PlayStation Vita, a touch-interface and motion-sensitive handheld that outdoes its workhorse PlayStation Portable and will ...

Sony portable not ready by Christmas in US, Europe

Aug 04, 2011

(AP) -- Sony's next-generation portable game machine, the PlayStation Vita, won't be available in the U.S. or Europe in time for Christmas - a crucial sales period for game console makers.

Nintendo seeks to rev up 3DS with holiday games

Sep 13, 2011

Nintendo is readying an array of video games for the holidays in an aggressive attempt at catch-up for lost time from the sales delay of the 3DS portable machine last year.

Recommended for you

Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

11 hours ago

A Scandinavian team "with an international outlook" and good eye for electronics, software and design aims to reach success with what they characterize as "a softer take" on home security. Their device is ...

Amazon offers Washington Post app on Kindle

Nov 20, 2014

Amazon said Thursday it will offer a free Washington Post app to Kindle users for six months, a move highlighting the digital strategy for the newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos.

Gift Guide: Help your selfie with some add-on gear

Nov 20, 2014

Not all selfies are created equal. Some are blurry, are poorly framed or miss the action entirely because you might be scrubbing your thumb fishing for a virtual shutter button as the moment passes you by.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.