Sony's Jack Tretton deems Vita sales "acceptable"

Claims free-to-play and social games are "not going to replace the business models that are out there."

Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton has said that he finds sales for the fledgling Vita to be "acceptable."

This year's Q2 sales of the Vita and PSP combined were only 1.4 million, which is down from last year's 1.8 million for just the PSP during the same quarter last year. Sony refused to break down exactly how many of these 1.4 million handheld units were Vitas.

"In this industry, you can't get too high or too low, because it moves very quickly," said Tretton in an interview with GamesIndustry International. "I think there's an acceptable number - and [the number] we've sold: That's acceptable. If it was triple that, I'd be happier. If it was one-third, I'd be disappointed."

Tretton noted that the PS3 also got off to a limp launch and while it may not be the top selling console, it's still doing quite well. Console sales have dropped from 3.2 to 2.8 million between Q2 2011 and Q2 2012, but it's nearing the end of a console cycle, so this isn't hugely surprising.

"Anything with great rewards is going to come with great challenges," Tretton said. "We felt if the tech was there, and the game support was there, then the audience would be there. … I feel much better about it now than I did four months ago."

Despite the Vita's rough launch, Sony expects it to sell 10 million units by the period ending on 31st March 2013. It cited its holiday lineup of PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale, Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified as notable sales boosters.

Elsewhere in the interview Tretton claimed that free-to-play and social games bear no threat to the traditional console model. "[Social and free-to-play] is a business I think a lot of companies are learning is difficult to sustain for the long term. It's an adjunct or it's an add-on, but it's not where gaming is headed. It's an additive diversion. There's a place for social and freemium, but it's not going to replace the business models that are out there."

This unwillingness to embrace free-to-play is just as Red 5 CEO Mark Kern had prophesised when he foresaw the death of the modern console.

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Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation is coming to Vita later this year.

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