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Tretton: Vita Japanese Performance A Matter of "Perception"

The PlayStation Vita sold over a half million units in three days in Japan. But for some, that's just not enough.

On the flip side, Sony has never backed off on their stance that such a performance is encouraging. In speaking to IGN, SCEA president Jack Tretton spoke at length about their new hardware launch and what to expect in the future.

He also addressed the sales performance of the handheld in Japan, and called the analysis of those sales a "perception" issue. Said Tretton:

"Quite frankly, it scares me if people think that the Japanese launch is struggling. The fact is they sold 500,000 units in three weeks... I would be pleased if we did 500,000 units in the first three weeks here in the United States. I think that's a real healthy number for a new platform launch."

Furthermore, for Sony, it isn't entirely about the raw sales numbers; it's about "mass market penetration," which means they want to go after the core gamers and...well, just about everyone else. As Tretton said, the "young, old, male, female, casual and core." And as for life cycle, he says it's the same as the PlayStation 3:

"Our definition of success is a 10-year product lifecycle, relevant on a worldwide basis with a very dedicated, happy consumer base that is loyal to the brand."

He added that high sales numbers aren't necessarily a recipe for success if you're losing money on every unit sold. For right now, the Vita is readily available at stores nationwide; there doesn't appear to be any shortage, and there are plenty of games to try. As for North American and European sales...we'll just have to wait and see.

Tags: vita, playstation vita, sony, jack tretton, vita sales

2/22/2012 12:21:23 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (21 posts)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 1:05:06 PM

Mine just showed up at my house but I'm stuck at work right now. I'm just itching to play it.

You know I think I'm coming down with something. lol

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 1:17:38 PM

That's why I had mine delivered to my office. t'was an unproductive afternoon ;)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 1:51:15 PM

If the Nintendo DS was beating out the 3DS almost every single week right after the 3DS launch alarms would have been raised for the 3DS as well. That's what's been happening on the Vita side. The weekly sales figures of the Vita when compared to the competition are what is generating the negative headlines regarding sales. It's not about perception but rather the cold, hard numbers. I don't think any comaparisons to the NA market are valid. Japan's handheld market is huge. 483,000 3DS consoles were sold there in a single week! They love their handhelds a lot more than NA ever will.

Anyways, if that sales pattern for the Vita holds in Japan for another 3 months I think there is reason for concern.

Just this past summer the PSP and 3DS were going back and forth as the best selling system in Japan. I thought the Vita would be way more competitive than it has been. Once again, I underestimated Nintendo. I kind of thought the 3DS was in trouble and it was for awhile. I just am amazed how quickly Nintendo turned it around.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 2/22/2012 1:55:37 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 3:19:11 PM

I hate to do this because you never learn, and you exist only to criticize sales numbers, but somebody has to educate you. This is getting ridiculous., no, never mind. I'm far too busy. Maybe someone else can do it.

But quick, be sure to tell everyone how unbiased you are, after yet another rant as to how some Sony platform sucks on the sales charts.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 12:46:15 AM

If Vita sales were described as good. I'd be happy to say that. Sluggish is the exact term being used for weekly Vita sales in Japan. I'm not making that up. I'm sure you have seen the same info that everbody else has. Good first two days then the rest not so good. Below what analysts were predicting so that's another thing that has generated negative articles. There is quote I found in Forbses that said the Vita was forecast to sell 200,000 units in its second full week after a very good first 2 days and when it missed that forecast badly by selling 80,000 alarms were raised. That's when you started to see the negative headlines by the way. It happened when the 3DS missed sales forecasts as well. Maybe not to the same degree but it did happen.

As far as education goes. I can't tell you how many boring sales charts and sales related articles I've went through dating all the way back to PS1 era. I even have a sales chart that has all the major systems charted and graphed by region thanks to the pressers the console makers release before E3. Never thought to look there but I stumbled accross one such set of charts last summer. I thought about making it my avatar here but it's so hard to read when it's so tiny plus I would only be able to post one region at a time. It's a great set of charts and graphs that go all the way back to the PS1 era, The only 2 systems that are missing on the graphs are the 3DS and Vita. They even have the Dreamcast on them! Great charts that have the first 5 years of each system plotted on a graph against each other. Can't wait until it's updated.

A lot of things to take away from that chart too. One is how dominant tht PS2 was. Other things are interesting too. The Wii is off the charts on that graph during its first few years. Even better than the PS2 during its first few years. The PSP was not as bad I thought it was going to be in NA either. Its sales are pretty darn close to the original Xbox during the first 4 years at least. Hardly a failure of any kind here in NA which is what I've heard some people claim.

The Japanese handheld chart is very interesting too. In 2010 the PSP outsold the DS by about half a million consoles. That was the first time Nintendo had ever been beaten in any region in the handheld sector by the way. I didn't know that but I have ran accross sales related articles that confirm that did happen.

I'm pretty well educated when it comes to sales history of the major systems. I've always been fascinated by that kind of thing for some reason. For the record I don't see any failures by Sony on those charts yet. The PS2 was spectacular from the get go. Only the Wii beats it out narrowly in its first year then starts to pull way from the PS2 in the middle of year 2. Nothing needs to said there except PS2 towers over the rest of its competition during its gen. The PS1 was great and easily won its gen too. The PS3 is not nearly as popular as Sony's 2 other home consoles when compared to its competition, but it still found success later on. It just stuggles in NA for some reason and had a very rocky start. The PSP did good too. Especially in Japan. It's a success. I don't think many would really disagree with any of those assessments.

The Vita is too soon to call. Need more data over a period of time. At least 6 months for each region but I think its fair to describe Vita sales in Japan as sluggish as of late. It's still very early though.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 2/23/2012 12:51:35 AM

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 10:10:49 AM

I'm just wondering if you even enjoy gaming Excelsior1. You worry so much about numbers and what charts say that it makes me think you can't even enjoy playing a game because you have to break it down into charts.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 12:05:19 PM

hehe. Yes, I still love gaming. I love a good set of sales charts as well when it comes to gaming. It's true I have spent a lot of time breaking down console sales charts.

I don't know exactly why but I started taking an interest in console sales last gen for some reason. The parts of Sony's last gen E3 presentations when they got up on stage and said they controlled 70% of the console market and had charts to back it up litterally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up because I was thrilled for Sony. That's when I first started following that kind of stuff closely.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 2:41:31 PM

Hey Jack,
As a closing in on 60 year old, I'm glad to say I did my senior citizen's I got my Vita this morning, along with a charging/docking cradle & four games.

And with lots more games & accessories to follow.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 2/22/2012 2:42:10 PM

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 3:52:38 PM


You are near 60!!! Absolutely awesome! I am nearing 42 and want to game as along as I am able. You sir, made my day! ;)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 5:43:54 PM

We're proud to have you with us Biker.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 6:09:35 PM

Like Johnny will keep on walking... So Biker will keep on rid'n...



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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 7:44:56 PM

HA, thanks guys.

When it's my turn to either meet & greet at Heaven or Hell's gate, there had better be plenty of free Harley's, and gaming consoles/handhelds at either one.

And oh yes, depending on which place I wind up, either some sweet gorgeous innocent doe-eyed women....or some very hot hot ladies with game(s)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 3:32:33 PM

I couldn't be less hyped for the Vita, I had a go on one the other day, I have been told by various people that for Uncharted you didn't have to use all the touch screen nonsense, first thing that happens when I have a go on it... I cannot use the d-pad to select new game on the menu... *sigh*

But really, there are no titles announced for the Vita that make me want to run out and buy one, I imagine it will take a Final Fantasy or Metal Gear to really convince me. All the other little features mean zip to me, I just like to play games... using buttons. It took me until Portable Ops was relase to give into a PSP, while that game was terrible, I dont regret it as having a portable PS1 has been bliss, but I just dont see what this console has to offer me at the moment.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 5:51:08 PM

I picked up my vita today at about ten, I would have been there earlier, but had a doctor's appointment. I picked up Uncharted, Wipeout 2048, And Dungeon Hunter Alliance at Target, then headed up to Gamestop and picked up the masterpiece in my hands right now. That's right, Im posting from the browser, wich isnt as bad as i thought it would be.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 7:34:30 PM

I wish I had the extra cash to keep going back & forth buying all those B2-G1F deals till I've got every one of the Vita games(so far).

Then I could honestly say that I've finally got 1 whole collection completed out of all my numerous gaming collections, LOL

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 11:54:30 PM

@ Biker I know this is off topic but what is your collection at currently? How many consoles? And how many games?

Only reason I want to know is you are what I want to use as a bench mark. The job I am about to start is really good and will allow me to purchase quite a few games a week. I am at around 600 games now and 9 consoles, by the end of the year I figure I'll be around 1500 games and hopefully a lot more consoles. There is just something peaceful about collecting gamings history and I have a lot fun hunting many of the games down as I pretty much refuse to buy online.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 11:59:02 PM

So long as Sony sticks with its 10 year lifecycle then the sales numbers don't mean much. They have time on their side and can make up for poor numbers early on by doing price drops down the road, along with improving what the handheld can do. I don't think they have much to worry about, especially not from the mobile phone/tablet market as some analysts would like us to believe.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 5:11:58 AM

my god, its being out sold by the freaking PSP for crying out loud!
thats not a bad thing?
sorry bub, but you cant sell me a outhouse and tell me its a mansion.
sadly wont stop him from trying though.
sigh, why does $ony have to treat their fans like idiots?
i mean seriously, its quite obvious their concerned about the sales there!
handhelds always sell best in JP, thats just the culture over there!
so to see it doing so poorly, if that does not send alarm bells ringing then you need to change your batteries!
theres a reason why so many japanese retailers are offering cash back offers now.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 10:13:12 AM

once again....

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Saturday, January 05, 2013 @ 9:42:33 PM

this a win loose situation for both the consumers & companies..... this not necessary at all. after a game been sold the company of the product recieved its benifit. its bad enough this generation got comfortable with putting out unfinished games & taxing a full price tag or having dlc thats originally in the game.

dont let numbers be a reason u destroy a craft.

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Saturday, January 05, 2013 @ 9:50:13 PM

lol wrong post damn ps3 browser directs me into other post after login.

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