Bloomberg News

Sony Says New Vita Portable Player Sold Out in Pre-Ordering

December 15, 2011

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., the world’s second- largest video-game console maker, said it sold out the new PlayStation Vita portable player in pre-ordering in Japan.

“There were lines to make reservations for the machine at retailers,” Andrew House, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, told reporters in Tokyo today. He declined to provide the number of orders.

Sony will introduce the Vita on Dec. 17 in Japan as the successor to its PSP handheld model, which went on sale in 2004. The company started taking advance orders on Oct. 15 for the Vita, which has a 5-inch display using OLED, or organic light- emitting diode, technology and touch pads.

Japan’s largest electronics exporter is relying on games to bolster earnings as its main Bravia television business faces an eighth straight year of losses. In August, the Tokyo-based company cut the price of the PlayStation 3 game console, released in 2006, to revive sales.

Sony and Nintendo Co., the world’s biggest maker of video- game machines, are facing increased competition from Apple Inc. as gamers flock to the Cupertino, California-based company’s iPhone and iPad to play titles such as Rovio Mobile Oy’s “Angry Birds.”

Sony fell 1.5 percent to 1,345 yen at the close of Tokyo trading. The stock has declined 54 percent this year, the sixth- biggest drop on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

The Vita is priced from 24,980 yen ($320) for the Wi-Fi model and 29,980 yen for the 3G model, which can be connected using NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s mobile-phone network, Sony said in September. The company plans to introduce the portable player in the U.S. in February, priced from $249.

Sony vs. Nintendo

The Vita is pricier than Nintendo’s competing model. The Kyoto, Japan-based company cut the price of the 3DS, its 3-D handheld player, by 40 percent to 15,000 yen in August. A lack of popular titles forced Nintendo to reduce the price less than six months after it was introduced.

Sony signaled in August that the company won’t engage in a price war with Nintendo.

House became head of Sony’s video-game division in September. He was previously head of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

--Editors: Terje Langeland, Lena Lee

To contact the reporter on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net


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