Sony's Worldwide Studios president thinks the Vita will succeed when the company "defines what [it] is."
The PlayStation Vita is stuck in a vicious cycle: Critics are pinning the handheld's abysmal sales performance on its high price and limited selection of games. At the same time, developers are hesitant to invest time and effort into developing games for a platform with such a small install base. Historically, Sony has had no problem attracting third party developers to its platforms, and Sony Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, recently admitted he's surprised by the lack of developer interest in the handheld.
"One thing that was surprising and disappointing to us was the [lower] number of third parties to come out [in support] after launch," he told Gamasutra. "In retrospect, there are so many options for publishers now that we cannot take it for granted that our new platform would be supported by third parties, like [it would've been] many years ago."
Though Sony made a big push to get developers to commit to Vita projects prior to its 2011 launch, few showed an interest in the handheld. The meteoric rise of mobile game platforms, which are often cheaper and more lucrative for developers, is also pulling Studios away from traditional handhelds.
"There are limited resources that third party publishers have, and they have to diversify into new areas constantly; that's a challenge to get the support that we want," added Yoshida.
The problem, according to Yoshida, is that Sony isn't sure what the handheld "is." Sony has focused on the Vita as a mobile device which offers a home console experience, but that line clashes with the company's attempts to dissuade developers from knocking out PS3/PS2 ports.
"As we can expand our install base and articulate what works really well on the platform as compared to others, it will get easier for us to be able get support from third parties," he added.