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Sony Boss Talks Vita Sales Targets and Competition with 3DS and Smartphones

SCEJ president does not look at 3DS as a competitor.

Kawano at Sony's pre TGS press conference on Wednesday

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan president Hiroshi Kawano addressed a number of major PlayStation Vita issues in an interview with Reuters Japan following Sony's pre Tokyo Game Show press conference on Wednesday, where the system's release date and launch lineup were first announced.

Sony plans on releasing a Wi-Fi only base version of the system and a pricier model that combines 3G and Wi-Fi. To use the 3G, players in Japan will need to purchase pre-paid usage cards from NTT DoCoMo.

Reuters asked Kawano about Sony's sales targets for the two models. He replied that he believes the 3G model offers new expanded possibilities for games thanks to its ability to connect everywhere. Additionally, the 3G model offers new chances for growth (I believe he's referring to growth of Sony's video game business). Because of these areas, he hopes the 3G model is the main version.

Asked about year-end sales targets for Japan, Kawano would only say that he expects the first 500,000 to sell out quickly. Sony is including a 100 hour pre-paid 3G usage fee with the first 500,000 3G units.

Reuters also asked about Sony's competition from Nintendo's 3DS and smartphones. Regarding 3DS, Kawano said that internally Sony does not believe that 3DS and Vita will be competing directly. The two products are extremely different, he said, with different looks and a different price point. While he expects that there will be people who have just a Vita or people who have just a 3DS, he does not expect people buying a new portable to compare the two.

He also does not regard smartphones as a competitor. With smartphones, gaming is like a bonus on top of the main usage as a smartphone, he feels. Vita, on the other hand, has games as its core value, with communication and social network elements added on top of that. He does not believe that people wanting to buy a game system will purchase a smartphone.

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