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Sony still planning release of Vita TV in US, despite slow sales in Japan

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Sony is still planning on delivering the Vita TV to the US and Europe, albeit taking a "different road" in the west, said Sony's Andrew House in an interview posted today with Eurogamer.

The Vita TV launched in Japan to modest success, selling over 42,000 units in it's first month. The decision to launch Vita TV in the Japanese market first and alone was a puzzling decision to some, as streaming services and devices have such a large significance in the west. House said of the move,

This may sound slightly counter-intuitive, but we wanted to launch in Japan first because I feel there really hasn't been a critical driver or device that's driven the adoption of streaming content overall.

House continued to reason the Sony move for Vita TV in Japan saying, "We felt there was therefore an opportunity to leverage the strengths of PlayStation Vita, which as you know is quite strong in Japan in terms of game line-up, but combine that with the features of a media streaming box, and offer something packaged newly for the Japanese consumer and possibly be at the forefront of creating a new market via that device."

House also commented that the already strong foothold of streaming services such as Netflix, and Hulu, as well as gaming streaming options like OnLive and Gaikai, create a much more matured audience and users have a greater understanding of what these services can offer in the US and Europe. West stated,

So we see strong market potential elsewhere in the world, but it will be a different road to market for the US and Europe than has been the case in Japan.

While the VitaTV provides a great value add for Sony households, some bizarre design choices make the purchase a bit more questionable. For instance, if you purchase the VitaTV on it's own, you must also have a DualShock 3 controller, and the VitaTV only comes with 1GB of memory, forcing users to purchase the expensive and proprietary Vita memory cards.

Another issue noted in the article by Eurogamer, is the lack of title support, such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, don't work because of Vita TV's lack of touch controls. Which begs the question if Sony will be able to utilize the fantastically redesigned DualShock 4 for the touch portion of some games.

A key player in the streaming arena, Sony's own Gaikai, will launch in 2014, and may explain some of the delay with bringing VitaTV to the west sooner than expected. While another reason may also be that Sony wants to pipe in DualShock 4 or title support for more games before launching to the high expectations of the west.

The release of VitaTV poses a phenomenal add for users with multiple televisions or rooms in their setup, as the basic functionality allows users to play their great new PS4 on any VitaTV over the home network. House closed his commentary on the VitaTV stating,

But eventually, the end game is to have this available on a multitude of network connected devices, essentially delivering a console quality gaming experience on devices which are not innately capable of doing that.

Eurogamer also posted that VitaTV interest was much greater than anticipated for Sony following the announcement the hardware was only coming to Japan at launch. This may have prompted Sony to consider the territory expansion sooner than originally anticipated, but no doubt the game giant was planning bringing the device to the US before long.

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