AUG. 4, 2011 • Some financial analysts in Japan have reversed their early endorsements of the ¥24,980 launch price for the PlayStation Vita ($249 in the U.S.) after the recent Nintendo 3DS price cut. “The environment for portable game players has become much more difficult because of smartphones,” Koki Shiraishi, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., told the Bloomberg News service. Shiraishi estimates shipments of the PS Vita will be about half of the PlayStation Portable sold during the product’s first two years. Kazuharu Miura, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo warned that he might have to cut his estimates if strong PS Vita titles aren’t on hand at launch.
Impact: In the games business, a platform’s viability has always been directly tied a combination of quality and quantity of content. This rung true in the DS/PSP era and it seems to be ringing true again in the 3DS and upcoming PSVita era. A major criticism of the 3DS is that it isn’t as significant a leap from the DS the as the DS was from the GBA. Especially since the software lineup at launch wasn’t impressive – lacking a big first party title. For Sony, this should underline the need for a strong first- party launch lineup to shore up demand. Currently one of the most anticipated games is Uncharted: Golden Abyss, an original title from the highly successful PS3 brand. In the long run it will take a steady diet of high quality content from first-party brands like God of War, SOCOM and LittleBigPlanet – mixed in with new releases from big third-party brands like Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty and Metal Gear – to really unlock the full sales potential for HD portable gaming with dual analog sticks.