“What PS Vita will do best is gaming. PSP confused customers” says Sony boss

Sony PS Vita Jim Ryan

With PS Vita’s February 22nd launch date drawing ever nearer, we caught up with SCEE’s president and CEO Jim Ryan to discuss the gaming heart of the new handheld, the mistakes Sony made with the PSP, and how PS Vita will be stronger as a result.

Jim Ryan isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to the PSP. It’s been a successful platform in many ways, but it’s clear Sony’s aspirations for the PS Vita are much higher:

“I think with PSP we tried to position it as a rather broad multimedia device. We talked a lot in the early days of PSP about its video playback functionality its use as a music device and a host of other multimedia functionality that it had.”

But that broad multimedia appeal didn’t match the audience’s expectations, Ryan reflects:

“I think this time we’ve realised that perhaps ended up confusing consumers, and they weren’t quite sure what the device was really all about. So this time the Vita does all of that stuff that we talked about on PSP, and it does it a lot better.”

PS Vita will still have multimedia functionality, but there’s a much tighter focus this time. The big hint is those dual thumbsticks:

“We’ve been a lot more single minded and much more focused in our positioning of Vita. We’re saying that this is primarily a gaming device. It has been developed from the ground up as a gaming device. What it does best is play games.”

That strong sentiment’s bolstered by some big-name launch titles like Uncharted Golden Abyss and Resistance: Burning Skies, whose ancestors proved enticing PS3 launch titles. But there’s more to take from the PSP era than confusing multimedia features, says Ryan:

“The other thing would be that we learned that what consumers didn’t really appreciate was, in many cases, getting ports of PS2 and then PS3 games for their PSP.

They said if that’s what you’re going to do, I’ll just play the game on PS2 or PS3. We’re helped here by the nature of the interfaces that are available on the Vita. What we learned is that the gaming experiences need to be unique and differentiated for gamers to be able to get into them.”

These are positive noises for avid gamers, though those that welcomed the extra functionality of the PSP shouldn’t be left wanting from PS Vita. To find out why you should be excited about February 22nd 2012, read up on everything you need to know about PS Vita here.