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Sony's huge opportunity to save the PS Vita, with PlayStation TV.

The PS Vita is a wonderful gaming device, I own the system and the games that are released that I think I would enjoy I purchase. With that said poor sales, and a lack of games have sent the system into a death spiral that seems impossible to recover from. Fans of the Vita often champion the power of the machine and all the potential it has to produce amazing gaming experiences, while a larger more vocal majority are content with saying the Vita is dead and moving on to playing their 3DS or mobile phone games.

If you aren't familiar with why exactly the vita is failing there is a very compelling argument on Extra Credits Youtube channel.  

From my time spent perusing through gaming forums Vita owners usually claim that the reason the Vita isn't selling is because of: 

  1. Lack of advertising from Sony. 
  2. The proprietary memory cards are egregiously overpriced. (I agree with this as well)
  3. The system is overpriced
  4. Sony not being able to retain console exclusivity of Capcom's Monster Hunter series ended the Vita before it began. (The lack of good games argument)
  5. Sony gave up on the Vita, which was substantiated by this article on Sony providing less first party support for the device.

I however believe that Sony can turn the Vita around with the PlayStation TV. Sony is positioning the PS TV, as a budget console/streaming box. Essentially it's a PS Vita that you connect to your television and control with either a Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4 controller. The PS TV will retail for about $99. This device will be an attractive buy for those who aren't willing to shell out between $299 - $399 for one of the big three next gen consoles on the market this holiday season. 

The PlayStation TV launch library for first time buyers will appear to be massive. The Vita suffered from a trickle of games coming in over time always leaving it's owners with the feeling that there are no games to play. Here we are close to 3 years later and the native Vita library has grown considerably not to mention the PlayStation TV will be able to draw games from the PSP library, PS1 classics, as well as from the PlayStation Now streaming service. 

By removing Vita from the PlayStation TV name I think Sony hopes to give the console a fresh start by removing the stigma that the Vita is dead from the new console. When first time consumers search for the Vita and encounter page after page of negativity I'm sure that has a negative impact on sales. A quick Google of PlayStation TV and the consumer isn't greeted with even 1% the amount of sales damaging chatter that the Vita faces. 

If the PlayStation TV sells, and the Vita install base grows it will mitigate some of the risk with game developers which means they may be willing to take a chance on the system bringing more games to the platform and reversing the death spiral. Of course if those memory cards could get another price cut with the introduction of the 64GB that will incentive new buyers, as well as current owners. With the price of memory cards being so high and the push for digital only games Vita owners simply don't have the space, and I think the same will be true for PlayStation TV owners.

Most importantly the PlayStation TV will require some very clever advertising campaigns highlighting that the price point of the system itself is extremely competitively positioned. Many users suggested that Sony bundle the Vita with the PS4 in order to help increase the install base, and after this weeks Gamescom announcement that the PS4 has sold 10 million units that may have worked, or it could have slowed PS4 sales. This was clearly a risk Sony wasn't willing to take. I think that a PS4/PlayStation TV bundle could be a worth while venture. The bundle could be priced at $479 selling the Vita TV at a 20 dollar lose which will be recouped from PS4 owners now having to purchase Vita memory cards (brand new revenue stream) this also enhances the value of PS plus to new buyers who I believe should receive a month free with the bundle. 

The marketing pitch I envision for the bundle is one console for two rooms. I can also see ad campaigns where people are enjoying PS4 gaming without the PS4 anywhere in view with the tag line being where's your PS4? This can also be modified to push the traditional Vita with the answer to where's your PS4? being everywhere.

With Sony continuing forward with the release of  PlayStation TV is proof enough that they haven't abandoned the Vita as a platform. They are approaching the problem at it's core; if you grow the install base then you save the Vita. 

Cheers and Gaming Teddy Bears!
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