Sony: PS3 still has "a long life" and Vita needs "more attractive software"

All thanks to that Duracell processor.

Here we are almost on the 'eve of PlayStation 4's unveiling and Sony's still banging about PS3 having "a long life" ahead of it.

Perhaps chief financial officer Masaru Kato would tell shareholders and analysts that, although combined PS2 and PS3 sales were lower in the Christmas period of 2012 than they were a year earlier - 6.8 million to 7.4 million, respectively.

"PS3, in its sixth year, I think it still has a long life," commented Kato in the earnings call (transcript by Seeking Alpha). "And here we're not in the stage where we are losing money in the hardware any more.

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...and he just rode off laughing.

"So again, there are discussions about the next platform, I cannot dwell on that at all at the moment. But in any case, we have a lot of business in PS3."

The combined PSP and Vita tally was up year-on-year from 2.4 million to 2.7 million. This is a slightly misleading boost because Vita was only available for two weeks of the comparable quarter in 2011 in Japan, as GamesIndustry International pointed out.

Vita's ongoing struggle to take off has caused Sony to lower its full-year Vita target from 10 million down to 7 million. And Sony knows it's got work to do.

"Now one thing clear for us that in terms of profitability, we have to do a better job in promoting the PlayStation Vita mobile product," remarked Kato. "How do we do that? Well, gaming business software is the name of the game. So as a fundamental measure, we are putting all - a lot of resources, not just first party, but also asking third parties to put out more attractive software.

"That's the basics. The other thing, well, marketing, pricing of the product, etc. I cannot talk about pricing of this platform, but those are the things that we are looking into to improve our profitability in the mobile handheld gaming business."

In other words, more games for Vita and maybe a price cut too.

Totting up lifetime PS3 or Vita sales is a tricky business now Sony pairs PS3 with PS2, and Vita with PSP. By April 2012, 63.9 million PlayStation 3s had been sold worldwide. A further 6.3 million PS2s/PS3s were sold by the end of September, and during the Christmas quarter we now know 6.8 million PS2s/PS3s were sold.

Sony doesn't say much about Vita sales, which in turn says plenty about Vita sales. The only number we really ever heard was 1.8 million worldwide sales as of May 2012. Japan sales are publicly counted. There, Vita has sold - to date - around 1.2 million units.

Game sales for PS2/PS3 and PSP/Vita were notably down year-on-year.

Sony's games division recorded a 15 per cent lower take this Christmas period than last. Revenue was $2.86 billion / 1.82 billion. Operating income was down 86 per cent year-on-year to $49 million / 31.3 million.

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