Sony Can't Keep Up With Playstation Vita Demand

Posted: Jul 4 2014, 2:17am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 4 2014, 2:21am CDT, in News | Gaming

Sony Can't Keep Up With Playstation Vita Demand

Earlier this week, the Playstation Vita mysteriously dissapeared. Neither Amazon, nor Walmart, nor Gamestop were selling new consoles directly, and it some to ask the basic question: what’s going on? Barring true insanity on the part of Sony, it appeared to be good news for the perpetually troubled handheld. After the launch of both the Vita slim and the Borderlands 2 bundle, demand has begun to outstrip supply.

“We’re seeing healthy consumer demand for PS Vita globally, particularly in markets like Japan,” a representative told Polygon. “The U.S. launch of the slimmer and lighter PS Vita has generated strong interest among gamers, and we’re working to replenish supply here to ensure continued momentum leading into the holidays.”

It should be noted, of course, that without sales figures, it remains very difficult to tell if the Vita is succeeding in any significant way. Sony is selling more of them than they are making, sure, but I would bet that the company has dramatically constrained production as a result of the handheld device’s long struggle with sales. So Sony is selling more than they are making, but they’re likely not making very many.

And yet! The fact that the company is selling enough, at the very least, more Vitas than it used to, is a positive sign. The Vita may not really have had a niche in the PS3 era, but it has a role to play in the PS4 ecosystem, both for its remote play capabilities and the looming notion of Playstation Now. I wouldn’t be surprised if sales continued to accelerate as more people buy PS4s, and those that already have them start to feel the itch to spend some more money on their videogaming experience.

There’s an identity crisis at the heart of the Vita’s struggles. It was initially pitched as a machine that plays AAA titles on the go, but it never quite resonated with the market for that purpose — most people had no problem just playing them at home. Indie games, however, have found an excellent home on the little handheld — by and large, they’re more suited for portable play, and the more expensive model’s OLED screen really shines when used with the sort of simple graphics that small developers favor. Going forward, Sony is pitching the Vita as a part of a broader Playstation ecosystem as much as it’s own console, and we’ll see how that develops as the PS4 matures.

Sony’s facing uptown problems as it struggled to keep up with demand for both the Vita and the PS4, but it also needs to get some of these production questions in order. Overall, it’s good news for Playstation gamers.

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