How will the PlayStation Vita fare, and will it be a boon for Sony? Those are questions Strategy Analytics addressed, and their in-depth report has been issued.
The firm expects Sony's new portable to sell 12.4 million units worldwide this year, with the caveat that the unit will receive a price drop. Total hardware sales could reach $2.2 billion assuming a $180 average retail price, which would represent a revenue increase of over $1.2 billion/year. However, as there's only a small margin on the Vita, the actual profit will be lower.
Senior Analyst Jia Wu says the true value of the Vita is the "drive for content revenue growth and its strategic position in Sony's entertainment ecosystem." He also said the Store would play a "vital role" in software sales, videos and other content, and overall, the Vita will cause Sony's 2012 portable software revenue to grow by $800 million. He also added:
"Crucially the cross-platform availability of content will also boost Sony’s position in competition with giants Apple, Samsung and Microsoft. Sony can leverage its console gaming business, which Apple and Samsung do not have, to build its online content cloud. Despite the popularity of Xbox 360, Microsoft lacks a serious portable console and mobile gaming device. So with PlayStation Vita, Sony further strengthens its brand, device competition and future content reach – even if the console hardware itself will not generate much profit."
The report further mentions smartphones and tablets and says they're "good enough for many casual gamers" and therefore, Sony needs to achieve the "Holy Grail of inventing innovative gameplay whilst at the same time investing heavily in exclusive content."
Lastly, the price: the prediction is that Sony will mirror Nintendo in the latter's handling of the 3DS. After launching at $249 and experiencing low sales, Nintendo slashed the price of their new unit to $169, which resulted in a boost. Therefore, Strategy Analytics expects Sony to cut the price of the Vita in North America and Europe this year.