The scheduled delay is right on time!

So the Playstation Vita launch has been delayed.. well what a surprise!

Oh, wait. No it’s not actually a surprise is it? Why is it that it seems any significant product launch is now subject to some kind of delay? The 3DS launch was delayed until after the Christmas holidays. Games are delayed, put back and re-scheduled almost on a daily basis now. Are these people really so bad at planning??

Of course they’re aren’t. After all the Vita is still being launched in Japan at the end of 2011, it’s only the EU and N-American markets which are being hit by the delay. The reasons could be manifold but the stated excuses are that Sony want to have a good selection of titles ready at launch in the western markets and this is driving an early-2012 rather than late-2011 product launch.

My opinion? Sony were hoping that the 3DS would have prepared a fertile mobile gaming environment into which they could scatter the Vita seedlings with a good return. The reality of poor 3DS sales and the resulting price cuts slashes have put a crimp into Sony’s plans. A Christmas launch of the Vita at the full prices against the expected 3DS cut-price bundles would be an invitation to perceived failure, even if the numbers are good. If they’re short of Nintendo’s, the Vita will be the loser and I don’t think that losing in any measure is something Sony can afford at the moment.

Vita for Christmas? Not this year.

It’s such a shame that the former King of the game-space has fallen so far and so quickly. PSN cancellations, PS3 trade-ins, SOE studio closures and continuing questions over the security of their online platforms continue to dog Sony and they really need to get the Vita launch right to start restoring some investor and consumer confidence. It’s just a shame that in trying to do the right thing they’ve chosen to annoy the gamers who are expecting a Vita-shaped package under the tree at Christmas.

Is this the last delay we’ll see this year? No, of course it won’t be. The industry seems to be struggling to fit its title and platform development into the schedules which are dictated by the consumer spend periods. Christmas (or “the holiday period”) is obviously the major one of these and this is more and more important as gaming becomes more and more mainstream and, as a result, more and more money is being spent on production. But some houses manage to get it right, they set our expectations early in the game and although we may grumble at the time, we look forward to the release in the reasonable expectation that the sums have been done properly—Mass Effect 3 springs to mind for me on this one.

Making a big splash at the trade shows and promising a delivery date, only to renege on that promise a matter of weeks later doesn’t just seem like bad planning, it almost smacks of mismanagement. So here’s my request:

“To Sony, Microsoft, EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Capcom, Nintendo and all of the other major names upon whom we rely for our gaming fun times. Try a little honesty with us, the folks who save our pennies to buy your products. We’ll actually like you a lot more for it in the long run. If you deceive us we tend to get very bitter, very quickly.”





3 responses to “The scheduled delay is right on time!”

  1. Paul R avatar
    Paul R

    The Vita was always scheduled for 2012. There was a random rumour (no doubt due to slow news weeks for sites ) that it might hit here in 2011, but since any release details have mentioned by Sony the date has always been 2012 for outside Japan

  2. John avatar

    The point is that the expectation was that the “Phased global roll-out” starting late this year would have meant the platform hitting the US and UK markets in time for Christmas. Yes, I’ll grant that no specific dates were ever given, but the markets expect that certain dates are critical. Look at what Koki Shiraishi, an analyst for one of the Capital markets in Tokyo, said ” That’s when you do your half year sales, this is going to prove painful for Sony.” Expectation is all in marketing, that Sony either failed to properly set, or failed to meet expectations is the definitive point. Perception is truth in this particular game…

  3. Paul R avatar
    Paul R

    It did puzzle me until I looked at Sony’s other launches that follow a remarkably similar release schedule. Possibly because when PS3 launched PS2 was selling, and right now PSP is still out selling 3ds two to one and DS on a weekly basis. Software is always 3 PSP games in the top 10 etc. I dont understand Sony, probably never will, but they have always seemed to favour slow and steady over the year rather than gangbusters over one, short period.
    On the plus side by the time its released it wont have a truly embarrassing launch window lineup like the 3DS. We shall see but I will be importing a Vita anyway.

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