Sony: Don’t mistake Vita caution for lack of optimism

Is it an outrageous statement to say that vast swathes of the games industry have already written Vita off?

After a terrible start Vita sales have stabilised and it has certainly grown into a great platform with an increasingly impressive range of software. But can it ever hope to be more than a niche gaming device?

Sony perhaps thinks not, having reduced its sales forecast for the machine several times and last week predicting that it would sell just 5m Vita and PSP units in the upcoming fiscal year.

But Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s senior business development manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad has told Gamasutra that even the most dedicated analysts in the world can’t always foresee that next surprise hit that can reverse a platform’s fortunes.

"Sometimes things can happen and they can dramatically change the evolution in terms of sales of a platform," he stated. "But what you can never do is say ‘We’re definitely counting for this kind of increase’. So you can put plans into motion and say ‘We’re trying this approach, that approach’ and if something comes off, it’s going to be fantastic.

"I had no idea there was going to be the amount of press attention that there was around Thomas Was Alone. If I’d put something like that in the original plan that I put together for engaging with the development community, I would have been laughed out of the office.

"It’s really funny, because I’ve spoken to a few people about it today internally, and they’ve all accepted it as ‘Yeah, of course that was going to happen’. So in hindsight it’s easy to say that this event and that event is what caused a change in course dramatically, but to say that in advance is usually not appropriate or sensible.

Looking back at the performance of different consoles over the course of history, sometimes you’ve had slow starts which have been suddenly sprung into life by a number of activities. What you don’t say ahead of time is, ‘Oh this will and that will happen, and suddenly we’ll have a massive spike in sales’. It’s not the sort of thing that companies do."

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