Holidays won’t see PlayStation Vita
TOKYO - Sony’s next-generation portable game machine, the PlayStation Vita, won’t be available in the United States or Europe in time for Christmas.
Expectations had been high the machine would be ready worldwide for the year-end shopping season. Sony earlier promised a “phased global rollout’’ starting late this year.
Sony said the PlayStation Vita will go on sale by the end of the year in Japan, and early next year in the United States and Europe.
Koki Shiraishi, electronics analyst for Daiwa Securities Capital Markets, said missing Christmas is a serious setback, especially overseas.
“That’s when you do half your year’s sales,’’ he said. “This is going to prove painful for Sony.’’
Sony’s executive deputy president, Kazuo Hirai, did not characterize the decision as a delay, but said Sony wants to be prepared with solid software offerings timed with the hardware launches.
It was unclear whether the gadget - a touch-interface and motion-sensitive hand-held that outdoes Sony’s PlayStation Portable - would be ready for Christmas even in Japan.
He denied that any price cut for the PlayStation Vita was in the works, brushing off a decision by rival Nintendo Co. last week to slash the price of its 3DS, less than a half year after it went on sale.
The PlayStation Vita will cost $249 in the United States for its Wi-Fi-only version, and $299 for the version that will also have cellphone service.
The 3DS will cost $169.99, down from $249.99, starting Aug. 12.
The Vita delay comes at a difficult time.
Sony, which reported a $199 million loss for the April-June quarter, has suffered supply problems because of the earthquake and tsunami in March.
It was also hit by a massive security breach around the world, affecting more than 100 million online accounts.
Sony’s TV operations have lost money for seven years straight amid price plunges, an oversupply of panels, and intense competition.
Hirai - widely considered a future chief executive of Sony, to succeed Howard Stringer - said the TV business is so crucial that manufacturing must be kept in-house.
Ryosuke Katsura, an analyst for Mizuho Securities Co., said the money-losing TV business was Sony’s biggest problem, and stressed Hirai must turn that around to solidify his candidacy as the next leader.
“He isn’t exactly a shoo-in.’’