As PS Vita hits 1.2 million sales, Sony’s UK VP outlines what they need to succeed
Within a week of the PS Vita’s launch in America and Europe Sony have announced sales have hit 1.2 million units “worldwide as of February 26, 2012″. You can probably add a couple more on since then. I recently spoke to Sony Computer Entertainment’s new VP and MD of UK and Ireland, Fergal Gara, to find out more about what the console must achieve in order to succeed.
“We’re in this for the long game so I expect a strong start,” explains Gara, “but I expect, and we need, we want, a strong year.” So while the initial numbers are encouraging it’s what comes later that’s really going to count. “The strength of titles post-launch and the way we communicate all those wider benefits – particularly gaming benefits – through the year are at least as important.”
Sony have admitted it made mistakes with PSP in the past. When we spoke to Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida at the original PS Vita launch last year he told us, “One of the things we didn’t do too well was to support PSP. Right after PSP came out we moved on to working on the PS3 launch titles”.
Sony Computer Entertainment's VP and MD of UK and Ireland, Fergal Gara
It’s a mistake Gara is sure Sony won’t be repeating, stating, “Right through to Christmas we’ve got a fairly clear road map that’s starting to really take shape, and lots of the titles are known about already. There’s great strength and depth, and great variety.” He reiterates, “We’re in it for the long game.”
When we asked Gara about the core things he wanted to see from PS Vita in three months time he had this to say: “Well, things I will look to are obviously the sales, the breadth of retail support that we have – not just for the launch – but that is secured for the medium term. I think the support we’ve got from day one is vital. The fact that we’ve got big launch titles and more importantly we’ve got some huge franchises coming to the platform later in the year.”
When speaking of these huge franchises and the studios involved Gara says it “shows they’re on board” admitting, ”I still think we’ve got a job to show the sales potential in the device for them, and I think that will create the added momentum”. He’s under no illusion what studios want to see however: “They want a profitable platform to publish for, it’s our job to help make that happen. They’ve lent their support when it most mattered on day one, so I see that continuing to gather pace.”
One final factor for the new console’s success is ensuring gamers know what the PS Vita is capable of. “We want to see how we communicate at retail, and through our marketing channels, how a PlayStation 3 and a PlayStation Vita work very well together.” As he puts it the two consoles are, “Better together”.