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Tretton: "I Feel Better About The Vita Than I Did 4 Months Ago"

On the one hand, there are always a few difficulties when a new piece of hardware hits the market. It can be tough.

On the other hand, the future could be bright. And SCEA president and CEO Jack Tretton believes the PlayStation Vita is on relatively firm footing, and also reminds everyone that the PlayStation 3 had to overcome a pretty shaky start, too.

During a recent GamesIndustry International interview, Tretton said the handheld business is a marathon, not a sprint (we've heard that somewhere before), and the PlayStation Vita doesn't have to shatter sales records right out of the gate to be successful in the long run. And the long run is what matters.

"In this industry, you can't get too high or too low, because it moves very quickly. I think there's an acceptable number - and [the number] we've sold: That's acceptable. If it was triple that, I'd be happier. If it was one-third, I'd be disappointed.

Anything with great rewards is going to come with great challenges. We felt if the tech was there, and the game support was there, then the audience would be there. … I feel much better about it now than I did four months ago."

The Vita had a great launch lineup but has since faded in terms of new software. Then again, everything has faded this summer so perhaps that isn't a good indication of what's in store for Sony's portable later on. But I do recall endless negative headlines pertaining to the PS3 back in 2006 and 2007...wasn't that long ago, was it?

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

8/10/2012 12:22:01 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (30 posts)

Looking Glass
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 12:54:03 PM
Reply

Well on the one hand you could call Tretton biased. But on the other hand he obviously would know more about the situation than most people, specifically what's in the works and what's in store for the Vita. So I think that the Vita might not be in as much trouble as some people might believe.

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gumbi
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 12:58:57 PM
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I think the Vita is great. I've been playing it more than my PS3 this year. Sure it needs some more games, but we're only 6 months or so into it's lifecycle. And there's some really great titles just on the horizon. The Assassins Creed bundle will certainly move some units later this year. There are a LOT of die hard AC fans out there.

Also, I think a $50 price cut, or at least bundling it with a memory card will help make it more affordable to the masses.

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TheAgingHipster
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 1:54:38 PM
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I feel great about the Vita. I feel horrible about the game line-up. Give me more titles.

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Knightzane
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 1:57:12 PM
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My vita's use is skype, FF:T war of the lions, and using it like a camcorder. The quality is insanely good. As for what im looking foward to playing, im really hoping crisis core makes it on the store soon. My favorite psp game. Oh and the silent hill book of memories looks great as well.

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CrusaderForever
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 2:01:29 PM
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I believe him and understand he could just be saying this to make it look like the Vita is fine. But I just have this feeling that Vita is going to be this great story that we'll look back on and remember the trials and tribulations.

Off topic, want to get into Persona. Should I start with Persona 1 or is there another PSP version I should get. I want to play them on the Vita. Thanks

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SmokeyPSD
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 6:37:07 PM

In my opinion you really don't have to worry too much about which Persona entry you begin on, they're very much self encompassing. Start with the one that most appeals to you. All wonderfully done. My first experience was Persona 3 Portable for instance.

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Thinker
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 2:10:50 PM
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While I think the PS Vita is an excellent handheld (I have the First Edition bundle with Little Deviants + Rayman Origins, WipeOut 2048, Escape Plan, Super Stardust HD, & Gravity Rush), I think the following things need to improve for the Vita to do better:

1) Reduce the price of those stupid proprietary memory cards, immediately! It's painful to pay for those, especially if you are planning to buy a lot of games digitally - I should know, I bought the 32 GB card and Rayman Origins with my First Edition bundle at a slight discount of 329.99, after all, at 99.99 USD, to push my Amazon order to a whopping total of 457.93 USD. Needless to say, my wife was none too happy about the whole thing.

2) Try MUCH, MUCH harder to get the HANDHELD-EXCLUSIVE games that gamers care about, e.g. Monster Hunter, to provide an incentive and reason for gamers to buy the handheld. Just ports of console games is not enough. "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" & Gravity Rush and the upcoming "Assassin's Creed: Liberation" & "LBP Vita" also seem like steps in the right direction.

3) For heavens sake, FIRE Sony's marketing department and try and poach some people from Apple's marketing. Sony's marketing and advertising sucks (and no, the Kevin Butler ads don't count, they seem more "nudge-nudge-wink-wink" geared toward existing PS3 console owners rather than people who have not yet bought these). Alternatively, if marketing budget is the problem, make sure that SCEA marketing and advertising are allotted enough budget to do their job properly.

4) If you want to push the 3G model as well, ensure that the data-plan is something much more reasonable than the current 30 USD-per-month model (I think), or even better, include it as part of an existing data-plan.

I may have missed other points, but these are the ones that stuck out immediately. I don't think the Vita itself needs to go down in price currently, it is quite a lot of value for what it offers hardware-wise.

Last edited by Thinker on 8/10/2012 2:16:54 PM

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Qubex
Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 11:36:48 PM

You thought hard, and your points are spot on Thinker... thanks for sharing :)

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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frylock25
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 2:30:21 PM
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at this point i am just glad i picked one up. i have yet to get many games for it. been pretty broke since i picked it up. i cant wait for ac3 on the vita. i plan on getting both games. i hope we do get a lot more AAA games on the vita though.

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pillz81
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 3:37:10 PM

I am in the same boat as you, financially. Gamestop's Gamerstock sale event, I would not have had any new Vita games.

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frylock25
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 3:50:01 PM

i was thinking of getting uncharted during the sale sony is having. if i have enough money. only games i have so far are plants vs zombies, escape plan (which is awesome), tales from space: mutant blob attacks (which has been so much fun to play), and the motorstorm rc game. a few psp titles and some demos.

sometimes when i do the dishes i put the vita in a cabinet above the sink and pair it with a headset. then i watch netflix while i do the dishes.

Last edited by frylock25 on 8/10/2012 3:50:51 PM

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telly
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 2:35:33 PM
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The hardware is outstanding, but they NEED to get games out on it, great ones, on a consistent basis. It looks like they have some heavy hitters coming this fall, so that's good.

What they really need to do is deliver on the promises they had before launch. Supposedly Vita would be able to play scaled own versions of PS3 games -- so where's THAT feature? Do they not realize that would make Vita an immediate, necessary purchase for the vast majority of PS3 owners? And how could PS1 classics compatibility not be available out of the gate? Some really frustrating aspects to Vita, but if they can get those straightened out very quickly, and keep the games coming in, I think they it can be a pretty successful little handheld.

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telly
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 2:36:25 PM

Another thing that drives me nuts -- how can PSN downloadable games like Journey and Flower not work on Vita? That sort of cross platform usability would make Vita irresistable.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 3:12:04 PM

Flower was specifically engineered for SPU's on the Cell. They're doing nearly all of the work in that game.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 8/10/2012 3:13:36 PM

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Hynad
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 5:09:49 PM

Still, flower doesn't do anything that CAN'T be ported one way or an other for the Vita.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 6:14:13 PM

You sure about that, Hynad? I'm not qualified to know for certain, are you? But based off of Thatgamecompany's past comments, and going off of only that, they stated it very clear, without the SPU's Flower could not be done on similarly powered hardware, like the Xbox 360.

Here's a snippet detailing the sort of work they placed into Flower.

"First, we divide the world into 256x512 cells. Each cell has 16 bytes of grass data for things like color, height, etc. Our artists specify most of the data, but we procedurally generate some stuff, too, like an ambient wind force based on Perlin noise. We don't store any data per grass blade, instead generating all the blade-specific attributes, such as position and orientation, based on seeded random numbers.

Shading is done per-vertex on the SPUs, so the vertex and fragment programs are just pass-throughs, lightening the load on the PS3's notoriously underachieving graphics card.

We frustum cull grass on a cell basis and calculate density per cell according to a highly voodooed version of 1 / (dist to camera). One trick is to draw the grass that is farther away, and therefore less dense, thicker. Grass in the distance is still screen space thinner than grass up close, but just not as much as it should be given realistic perspective. In practice, people don't notice that the thickness isn't exactly right, so we get away with less grass to cover the same amount of terrain.

For high detail wind effects (such as the wake left by the petal swarm, or the little disturbances caused by flowers growing), again, we pretty much just rely on the power of the SPUs. We have a "RippleBarn" containing 128 ripples. A ripple is a ring which has a thickness and a strength. Ripples push the grass they touch. We cull ripples on a grass cell basis, so not every single grass element is testing against all 128 ripples, but there are still a ridiculous number of tests going on, and the SPUs just eat right through them. "

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Gordo
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 4:18:36 PM
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I think the Vita lineup for the first six months has been fine.

Currently I have:

Physical:
Uncharted
Gravity Rush
Everybodys Golf
Lumines
MGS HD

Downloads:
Escape Plan
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Sid Meiers Pirates
Dragons Lair
Flow
Final Fantasy Tactics
GTA Vice City Stories
Pure Chess
Mutant Blob
Velocity

Quality hardware and quality games (both new and old). I've filled my 8gb card and need another. I have more games to play than time to play them.

If you can't find something from the 30 physical games and 150 downloadable titles you must be pretty picky!


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Hynad
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 5:03:10 PM
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The Vita is a really great handheld. Just like the PS3, it's getting a rather slow start, but the form factor is great and the games are going to get better and better as time goes by (PSP, anyone?).

I'm confident it'll get its share of system sellers quite soon.

(I can't wait for S-E to release an enhanced version of FF Type 0 for it! xD)

Last edited by Hynad on 8/10/2012 5:04:03 PM

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SmokeyPSD
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 6:41:41 PM
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I only just picked up a Vita but I'm not understanding the criticism of no games, it's a young system and there's a higher quality rather than quantity ratio, that's all. For me I rather like the feeling of not having an insurmountable amount of quality games I want to buy right out of the gate.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 7:39:10 PM

this sort of whining and complaining is the norm of every console life cycle I can think of. Right now in about 6 months time the Vita already has 11, 80+ rated games for people to play, according to Metacritc. I'm sure with AC Liberation, LBP, TEkken vs SF and more we'll see that number go up past 15 pretty easily before the year's end. And even then, we're still not at a year one point for Vita. We haven't even started thinking about big Sony IP's like GoW, something Infamous etc. making their expected showings for Vita. Not to mention CoD which will no doubt be compelling by many. People just need to chill.

I stopped by a nearby shop today. It's $30 for an 8GB Sony Vita memory card. Is that really the price people are complaining about? Heck, most memory cards I ever bought top that easily. PS2 mem cards were like $35 bucks.. and the dollar was worth more then.

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DazeOfWar
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 8:46:06 PM
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I love my Vita. It's a great piece of hardware and worth every penny in my mind. I do think they should lower the price though since it's not selling to well. More adopters just guarantees more games being developed for it.

My collection right now consists of:
(All digital)

32gb card
SSD
Gravity Rush
Sound Shapes
Pinball Arcade
Motorstorm RC
MGS HD
Unit 13
Escape Plan
Hustle Kings
PvZ
Pure Chess
FFT: War of the Lions
Patapon
Persona 3
FFIV
Pulzar
Table Top Tanks
Mutant Blobs Attack

Sound Shapes is a must for any Vita owner. The game is fantastic and very addicting. I also can't wait to get Zen Pinball 2 next month. I already own all the other tables from Zen Pinball and Marvel so it'll be great to play them on the Vita for free.

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Dancemachine55
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 10:16:41 PM
Reply

Once it gets that PS1 classics support that I've always wanted, I think I'll be asking for one for Christmas.

PS1 and PSP support, along with PS3 quality Vita titles on the horizon? YES PLEASE!!

Price and PS1 classic support is the only reason I'm holding back on buying one right now. When PS1 support is released AND there's a great bundle deal or a nice little price drop ($50 - $100) THEN I'll be more inclined to pick one up.

So far, my PC, PS3 and 3DS are getting a lot of love. Steam sales are the best!!!

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bluedarrk
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 10:20:12 PM
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I will get a vita soon, most likely around Christmas time. But it's $250 that's how much the ps3 is now, it needs to either drop $50 or be bundled with some games or memory cards. I love the line up of games I just need want more in the package if I drop $250.

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Excelsior1
Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 12:51:45 AM
Reply

Saw this headline last Thursday on CVG

Playstation dev boss Yoshida to hold talks with studios to foster support for its next gen portable. Sony WorldWide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has admitted for the first time that the PlayStation Business has an uphill battle convincing publishers to commit to Sony's next gen portable.

In an interview with Playstation the Official Mag Yoshida said:"we have had a far more difficult time convincing publishers to commit to the Vita than we had anticipated but that's our job-we will continue to try to foster publisher support."

Other things to note is Sony has revised its estimated sales forecast of16 million portable games sold in down to 12 million. Sony has also started combining Vita and PSP sales under one category of portable systems sold making it more difficult to track Vita sales independently.

For me, the most surprising thing about the Vita's sales has been how low Vita sales have been in Sony's own backyard in Japan. Sony's handhelds have enjoyed a lot of success in Japan in the past. Did you know the PSP was the best selling handheld in Japan in 2010? That's the first time Nintendo had ever been beaten in the handheld sector in any region. Last summer the PSP and 3DS were duking out on the weekly sales charts coming out of Japan with the PSP coming out on top several times.

Based on all the reasons mentioned above I thought the Vita was going to be far more competitive than it has been especially in Japan. The marathon/sprint analogy is fine and dandy but it's tough to spin getting outsold by your nearest competitior 8:1 a good thing.

Speaking of that nearest competitor....The 3DS kind of faltered right after launch as well. There were gripes about it being overpriced and the system lacking AAA games. 3DS sales were sluggish. It was bad enough Nintendo was forced to slash the unit's price at great expense to themselves. The price cut and the arrival of system selling games righted the ship for Nintendo so I see no reason why it couldn't work for Sony. A price cut and some killer games should be able to do wonders for the Vita.

The real question is why do some publishers have cold feet when it comes to commiting to the Vita. I imagine the relatively low install base is playing a role there but that should have been anticipated. I am very curious as to exactly what Yohsida is hearing that makes him feel it's been a lot harder getting developer support than anticipated. I do give Yoshida credit for admitting to a problem a taking steps to correct it. Hopefully, these talks are fruitful. The consensus seems to be the the Vita needs some system defining/selling games.

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 2:54:38 AM

Yes it would have been incredibly interesting to hear *why* the cold feet. Hopefully some journalist somewhere will take the rounds with the various developers and distributors and find out! :)

I almost take for granted that it is simply because the potential income on this platform can't even reach the ankle of the main mobile platforms (ios and android). But we don't know if that is the whole story. It may be more to it than that. And if so, then it might be something that Sony can do something about!

Cause while Sony simply can't beat two million new activations a DAY on the mobile platforms, they *can* do something about eventual issues or problems with the development tools, operating system, profit margins and third party agreements, distribution deals and so forth.

Personally I believe the by far overshadowing reason here is sheer market potential. Pure math.
But there may be other reasons too, and if so, then Sony may have more tools behind the scene to work on than we may ever be aware of.

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Qubex
Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 11:40:09 PM

It may have to do with a very tiny fact that hundreds of millions of people carry pretty powerful smart phones in their pockets today; and every day I go and look at the Android or iOS games section I am amazed at what is coming out.

My personal opinion is that I think, going forward, Sony will struggle even more in the mobile space. Tretton is trying to be brave... but we will see; there may be enough hardcore portable gamer around to keep Vita full of vitality...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 8/11/2012 11:40:56 PM

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___________
Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 5:30:06 AM
Reply

sure jack, the numbers are so good in fact thats exactly why you refuse to release them!
*rolls eyes*
gotta love this guy!
no one is as good as spinning a out house into the taj mahal!

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Gamer46
Sunday, August 12, 2012 @ 3:19:20 AM
Reply

This is the same kind of talk that was coming from the suits at Sony when the PS3 was struggling out of the gate and that situation did turn around. The game market is a different place now than it was in the early days of PS3 and obviously the handheld space is much different than the home market but the sentiment is still correct. As long as Sony stays in it for the long haul (history suggests it will) and can provide solid games on a fairly consistent basis, the Vita can be a very strong platform for the company just like all the PS systems before it.

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Qubex
Sunday, August 12, 2012 @ 8:18:53 PM

Vita may get renewed wind when the Ps4 is released. You will have your typical holiday sales bursts that come along, but it will be interesting to see what overall sales trajectories are going forward...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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PHOENIXZERO
Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 3:34:52 PM
Reply

*To the VR Troopers tune* PR, PR Spinning!


Vita is awesome, had mine since launch but the Vita was hurt by the memory card pricing fiasco that turned off a ton of people along with Nintendo's bungling of the 3DS last year that resulted in a huge price cut that probably scared off a good number of early adopters.

Of course the Vita needs a lot more compelling software as well. Unfortunately I don't think they have that yet, Gravity Rush is the game that made me want a Vita yet almost two months since its release I still haven't finished it. IDK if AC:Liberation or the Vita CoD are really the software to do it either. I know what won't, watered down console ports or cross play where you're required to buy two copies of the same game at full price or just a slight discount. The way it's been done for a number of PSN games though is something that should continue and expanded where budget allows.

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