“It’s not like we’re telling people to stop announcing new games,” the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan said when the magazine asked about the paucity of games for the new handheld platform, which it launched in December 2011. Sony has sold 1.8 million units of Vita worldwide since launch. Rival Nintendo has sold 17.3 million units of its Nintendo 3DS.
“Rather, we’ve been continuously asking creators, ‘Please make games for the Vita,’ and many publishers respond by saying, ‘Here is something I’d like to try’ as the Vita inspires creativity,” Kawano said.
Kawano cited Sega’s Samurai & Dragons a free-to-play RPG available as a download on the Vita store with a packaged version containing bonus items in Japanese stores this week, as an example.
“Because creators have a lot of enthusiasm for the Vita,” Kawano said, “we [at Sony] must create an upswing in the market and prepare an environment where they feel comfortable making games.”
Kawano acknowledged that Sony has “a lot of things that need doing,” but insisted that he is confident in the Vita.
When asked to analyze the current situation of the Vita, Kawano said “the real battle begins now.” He spoke of a “mountain” facing the company next month, referring to the collection of software titles coming out soon which includes the latest Gundam robot combat game, a remake of Persona 4 and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Kawano also praised Soul Sacrifice, a title created by Keiji Inafune due this winter, adding that “there are many other prominent games on the way, but I can’t discuss them now.”
Famitsu pointed out that the PSP continues to sell very well in Japan and asked if Kawano hopes PSP owners will hurry up and switch to the Vita or if he wants to keep pushing for both devices. He said he is pushing for both consoles, noting that “our main user base for the PSP is older elementary school and middle school students.”
Sony is actively promoting the PSP to younger customers, he said. “Right now, they are playing the PSP, and eventually they will buy a Vita.”