Consumers take a pass on Playstation VITA

Sony’s powerful mobile gaming machine has trouble competing with smartphones, tablets and an Italian plumber

Two thumbs down

Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Sony’s Vita portable game console has won positive reviews, but so far consumers are taking a pass. Since first going on sale in December, Sony has sold just 2.2 million of the devices. By contrast, Nintendo has sold 19 million units of its competing 3DS since it went on sale in early 2011. Analysts blame a crowded gaming market increasingly dominated by smartphones and tablets, which also allow people to play games. Gamers, meanwhile, complain about a lack of titles for the Vita. Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, who took over at the struggling electronics giant in April, responded to the critics this week when he told Reuters that Vita sales are in line with expectations and that the PlayStation 3 got off to a similarly slow start. But in the wake of last year’s shocking US$5.8-billion loss, Hirai needs to do more than just hold the line with Vita. He needs another Walkman.

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