Vita sales 'on the low end' of expectations but the long term defines success, CEO says

PlayStation Vita sales may not be as brisk as Sony would like, but the company is focusing on the handheld's long term prospects, the Wall Street Journal quotes Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai as saying at a reception after Sony's CES keynote.

"I would say it's on the low end of what we expected," Hirai said.

Hirai compared Vita sales to those of the PlayStation 3's early days, saying that products need 5 to 10 years to determine their success. "Long term is what is important," he said.

Sony's PlayStation Vita handheld sold 1.8 million units in the U.S., Japan, Asia and Europe between its Feb. 2012 release and the end of the fiscal year in March. Sales were generally sluggish over the next few months. Japanese sales reached a low in mid-November when the Vita's predecessor, Sony's PlayStation Portable, outsold it. A week later, the Vita sold three times as many units as it had the previous week. Hirai told the Wall Street Journal that Holiday sales for the Vita were "pretty much" in line with the company's expectations.

Commenting on the competition in an interview with IT World, Hirai said he "wasn't as surprised as you might think" to hear of Nvidia's entry into the handheld market with Project Shield.

"Customers are used to playing video games on not just consoles anymore, but a variety of devices," he said.

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