President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America Jack Tretton has said that the number of Vitas sold so far has been “acceptable”, despite Kaz Hirai admitting the platform was performing below expectations.
Tretton told GI.biz:
In this industry, you can’t get too high or too low, because it moves very quickly,” says Tretton. “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.
He then added that the PS3 suffered a troubled start, but ended up being a very successful device:
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 success of the Vita and PlayStation as a whole has become increasingly important for Sony, with President Kaz Hirai making the games business one of their three core pillars for a financial turnaround. Tretton commented on the news:
I think it’s the best news I could ever hear. When I joined Sony Computer Entertainment, I’d meet people from other Sony divisions. I’d be at an industry event and they’d read my name badge and say ‘Sony Computer Entertainment? What the hell is that? I work for Sony music.’ Sony Computer Entertainment was very much an offshoot and not an intimately familiar division of Sony. … To go from there, where you’re a science experiment, for lack of a better word, to one of the three major pillars of the corporation is great.
He also commented on the rise of F2P and social games:
I think the opportunity to be in the console business is greater than ever before. [Social and free-to-play] is a business I think a lot of companies are learning is difficult to sustain for the long term. It’s an adjunct or it’s an add-on, but it’s not where gaming is headed. It’s an additive diversion. There’s a place for social and freemium, but it’s not going to replace the business models that are out there.