Wedbush Morgan video game industry analyst Michael Pachter has told Game Informer that the Nintendo 3DS will continue to thrive despite smartphones and tablets, but the PlayStation Vita will “die a slow, painful death”. Pachter reiterated that Nintendo owns the dedicated handheld space and Sony misjudged the size of the market.
On the state of the PlayStation Vita:
The sales are horrible. My model says the Vita sold 4.2 million last year. It’s a pretty small number and I don’t think they are going to build a business selling 4 million a year — and that number could go down. Vita is a little bit too elegant and a little too expensive. I always feel like I’m going to break it. But then it has relatively few games because they are complicated to make and the market is so small. Very few publishers are spending money to make them. You had Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, that cost Ubisoft a lot. It’s a whole new adventure. Sony will spend the money with their internal studios, but you’re just going to see [Vita] die a slow, painful death.
It’s super high-end in the market; it’s too expensive for a casual gamer. I know that phones are subsidized, but you can get a smartphone for free when you renew your contract. You can get an HTC free, or spend $200 on a Vita. It’s too [hard] to pass up the free phone. They are never going to get the casual end of the market.
On whether connectivity with PlayStation 4 could boost Vita sales:
I don’t quite get it. First they were selling it as a controller, which was lame. I would rather just spend $50 on a controller. They were selling it as a controller because…I have to turn off the game on my TV because American Idol is on and I have to continue my session on my Vita? That’s what a DVR is for, you can watch American Idol later. I think most people who have competing concerns about use of the console versus watching TV have their console on a different TV from where their wife is. I agree those are cool features, but it’s limited.
On the future of Vita and Sony in the handheld market:
There is no future and they couldn’t do any better [than Vita]. The market is what it is because of Nintendo. Nintendo built the market and Nintendo has the best name in handhelds. I just think [Sony] misjudged the size of the market and launched it into this s—storm of mobile destroying the casual end of dedicated handhelds. And Nintendo’s not giving up much share on the hardcore side, because they have three games to every one Sony game, and they are good games.