Sony’s PS Vita could be heading to tablets

Sony has confirmed it’s at least theoretically possible that the PS Vita system could come to smartphones and tablets. That note comes as the company admits it needs to establish Vita as a long-lasting brand rather than a one-off gadget.

Speaking in preparation for the US launch of the portable console, Sony’s chief executive Kazuo Hirai told AV Watch that “We’ve made it in a way that’s expandable, so that it’s possible to apply to smartphones and tablets on top of achieving the high responsiveness we need for gaming devices–it is possible.” However, he noted that this was simply a case of being prepared and that there’s no such transfer underway at the moment.

There is of course already a phone running Playstation games, namely the Sony Ericcson Xperia Play, which runs on the Android platform. That could leave Sony to decide whether to continue down the Android route, or to work on creating new devices that run the dedicated software that powers the Vita. As the console already includes a web browser and various social networking apps, the software could well be enough to produce a smartphone or tablet aimed at gamers.

If the company did go ahead with such a move, it would put to the test its argument that its recent buyout of Ericsson’s part in a joint smartphone project would remove unnecessary bureaucracy and make it easier to produce and market new devices.

Meanwhile Hirai has argued that the Vita may be more successful in the United States than in Japan, where it launched late last year (with a few serious teething troubles.) His logic is that the US market is more interested in the type of games that make best use of the Vita format (specifically high-quality graphics and dual-stick control), naming Call of Duty and NFL Madden as examples. He argued that Sony intentionally worked on getting games with worldwide popularity onto the Vita, even though many of these weren’t particularly appealing to the specific Japanese market.

Hirai also told Venturebeat that the company had intentionally allowed a much wider range of prices for games on the Vita, with physical releases (on a memory card) going from $30 to $50, and download-only titles dropping as low as $5.

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