December 21, 2011
Sony Vita Plagued With Glitches
The Sony Corporation issued a public apology on Tuesday, Dec. 20 to customers who have purchased their new handheld videogame console, the Playstation Vita. Just days after its release, Sony´s Japanese division has already received a deluge of complaints concerning the new unit´s malfunctioning software and hardware.
After selling some 321,000 units in the first two days after its release, game-enthusiasts quickly began to lodge reports about faulty touch screens and frequent software crashes. While a few glitches are nothing unusual for a brand new system, gaming experts and bloggers say that the large volume of complaints about Sony´s Vita registered over social media like Twitter and YouTube is a bit troubling.
Yet given the sheer amount of technology crammed into the mini console, it´s not surprising that users are running into a few snags. The Vita comes equipped with a gyroscope, an electronic compass and an accelerometer tucked away beneath its 5-inch OLED touch screen, as well as a pair of front- and rear-mounted cameras.
Concerned that the mounting negative Internet web-gossip could prove damaging to the unit´s sales figures, Sony issued an apologetic official statement via its Playstation website.
“Currently, our information center regarding PlayStation Vita as well as our usual customer service center are receiving many enquiries. We apologize if your phone isn´t connecting immediately,” it read.
Sony went on to state that a number of the reported issues can be fixed with basic patches that can be done by the user without sending the unit back to the manufacturer. The company has also promised that a list of the most common problems and quick solutions is forthcoming.
Industry insiders who have followed the development of the mini gaming console say that Sony isn´t the first company to run into post-release problems like this. As Christopher Dring of the gaming magazine MCV explained, Microsoft had similar problems with the early version of its Xbox 360. Yet he says Microsoft managed to overcome these complications to eventually make Xbox the best-selling game console in the world.
While the Japanese publisher Enterbrain reports that 321,400 Vitas were sold in two days, Sony has not yet formally discovered its sales figures. If Enterbrain´s numbers are right however, it would put the Sony´s sales figures for the mini-console some 50,000 units behind the record set by Nintendo´s 3DS in February of this year.
Still, industry experts say that if Sony can manage to quickly overcome these initial glitches, then the Vita stands a good chance of overtaking the 3DS in terms of total sales volume. They´ve noted that the weather was particularly bad in Japan over the weekend, keeping many would-be shoppers from hitting the stores. Moreover, sales for the 3DS, though initially strong, quickly fell off after a few weeks on the market.
Part of Sony´s strategy for boosting long-term sales has been the release of 24 games alongside the device--a large number of options considering that most new consoles only have a handful of compatible games when they first hit the shelves. And by the time the console goes international in February, Sony says gamers will already have 33 titles to choose from. What´s more, customers in the US, England, Canada and Latin America will also get to choose between two different versions of the mini console, one with wi-fi and one with wi-fi and 3G capabilities.
“We are incredibly pleased with the success of the Japanese launch of PlayStation Vita in which all pre-orders were immediately sold out and that enthusiasm has continued since launch with sales well on track,” said David Wilson, chief of Sony´s PR division in the UK David Wilson.
“We are confident we will continue to accelerate the momentum as we approach the European launch on February 22nd.”
While the international release will not come in time for Christmas, Sony says that the staggered release of the Playstation Vita is giving them the opportunity to iron-out all the bugs, which will allow them to roll-out a problem-free product to European and American markets.
“I don´t think Sony would like to describe Japan as a test-run, but it does give them an opportunity to fix problems with the consoles,” explained Dring, a fact that he believes will be “reassuring” to potential customers in the rest of world.
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