announced today that its upcoming PlayStation Vita
, the updated handheld slated to replace the PSP
, won't launch in the US or Europe until early 2012. That's a bit surprising considering that electronics sales seasonally slump in the first quarter. The company also stated that it has no plans to sell its television manufacturing business, despite losing money on that market segment for the past eight years straight.
"Televisions are a core business for Sony and it would be unthinkable for us to shrink that business," executive deputy president Hirai said at the company's Tokyo head office. While it's true that TV's remain a high-visibility area for Sony products, the company has struggled to return to profitability in the TV business for years. "They have done an awful lot already, and this was the time when that effort was supposed to come to fruition," said Shiro Mikoshiba, an analyst at Nomura Securities. "It's honestly hard to know what else they could do."
Sony may be launching the Vita after the 2011 holiday season, but the company has stated it has no plans to reduce the Vita's price. Sony currently plans to market two models of Vita, with a WiFi-only system at $249 and a WiFi+3G model priced at $299. The 3G model will include certain unspecified software products to take advantage of the feature (a GPS is one known utility) and will be sold through a partnership with AT&T.
Speaking of the Nintendo 3DS
, the company's CEO, Satoru Iwata, has personally apologized to early adopters of the 3DS over the company's recent decision
to slash the handheld's price. (He also slashed his own salary 50 percent). In a statement
on the company's website, Iwata notes that the company has never cut prices so quickly after launch, but explains the situation as follows:
We decided it was necessary to take this drastic step in order to ensure that large numbers of users will continue to enjoy the 3DS in the future.
If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system.
Those who bought (or purchase) a full-price 3DS before the August 12 price cuts will be rewarded with what Nintendo is calling the 3DS Ambassador program. Ambassadors will be given 10 Virtual Console titles (known games include Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros) and ten Game Boy Advance titles (including Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Mega Microgames, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare Inc, and Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3). At least some of the titles will be limited to Ambassadors and not sold through the general public.