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Sony Puts Faith in Video Game Consoles
Financial Times | February 20, 2012 | 07:18 PM EST

The Vita Hill Social Club, which opened recently on the corner of Gough and Union, in the quiet Cow Hollow district of San Francisco, has the air of an exclusive gentlemen’s club, with its green leather chesterfield sofas, potted ferns and bar.

In a way, that is what it is. The “pop-up” club has been set up by Sony , as part of the promotional campaign for its new PlayStation Vita handheld video game console. Like the Vita itself, it caters to an elite group of gamers: those who still cherish buttons, pads and joysticks on their handheld gaming devices.

In a world full of iPhones and iPads, carrying a separate gadget just for games can seem anachronistic. Sales of game hardware, packaged software and accessories fell 21 percent year on year in the U.S. in December, driven in part by a consumer shift from specialized devices to smartphones and tablets. The latter feature touchscreen and motion-based play, and cheaper games — in addition to the ability to make phone calls or browse the web.

Although the Vita has been well-reviewed since its launch in Japan at the end of last year — it went on sale in the U.S. and Europe last week — some experts think it could be the last device of its kind.

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