Friday, November 2, 2012

What will get Sony to 10 million Vita or PSP sales?

Sony has lowered its hardware estimate for the current year to 10 million handhelds. With just over three million sold in the first half of the year, it has to ship 7 million units to hit that twice-lowered number. How on earth can it do it? (Random guesswork follows, cunning plan stuff after):

We know the Japanese figures are currently 15,000 PSPs and 5,000 Vitas a week. So, 20,000 over 26 weeks is just over half a million. But, the Vita spikes when a big game arrives, lets add those in (Fate Stay/Night, AKB1/149, Atelier, Soul Sacrifice and oh, that's it!) and add another 80,000 hardware sales for them. So, that's 600,000 units for Japan as a baseline.

Let's assume the major western markets are tracking that number, add some for scale, plus a few more as interest in Black Ops, Assassin's Creed and Need for Speed Most Wanted helps the cause. 800,000 * 2 (plus a few for the rest of the world) = 2 million. So, there'a just over 2.5 million sold assuming current sales remain flat with a few bumps (remember, this is just a bit of fun, no analysts were used in the making of these numbers). Which leaves another 4.5 million to find.

Sony isn't cutting the price yet, and I've covered why I think so before. Which leaves only one reason Sony thinks that it can sell an extra five million units by the end of the financial year (unless it is wrong - again - and repeatedly so.)

Actually, that's a side issue, why not lower its estimate to just 6 million which it can't fail to hit? (can it?) I guess companies hate admitting failure and that would send a bad message to the market. By drip-feed reducing these estimates it is just lowering the shock. Personally, I'd expect another reduction next quarter.

Anyway, on to the main reasons why Sony thinks it might hit that magic 10 million:
  1. It knows that Capcom's Monster Hunter deal with Nintendo will expire soon. It was announced at TGS back in 2011, and the games are out or launching soon (on Wii U), so perhaps Capcom's MH team will switch focus back to Sony shortly? If Sony knows that but can't say anything it may be quietly confident. (And there's that note Capcom had last year, along the lines of "all titles are multi-format going forward.")
  2. Sony canned its promised Autumn PlayStation Heaven event. The only reason it would do that is if the games it wanted to show weren't ready. And we have Yoshida saying Sony has more unannounced titles. Draw those two converging lines into the future and Sony has a few more hits up its sleeve. What they are, who can say? But presumably one of them has the potential to be a monster hit and system seller (and the first event showed off a few third party titles, as well as Sony's own). 

So, there's hope in the near future if both or either of those proves to be correct. But, it has to happen soon. Sony can't keep building the Vita forever, with no one buying them. It can slow down output, shove them in warehouses, but eventually, it will have to cancel parts orders, stop production or worse. And in the fast moving world of gadgets, once stopped these things rarely start again. If Vita isn't shifting by the end of Spring 2013, you can officially stick a fork in the plucky little handheld.

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