There’s been quite a hullabaloo over the last few days about Sony’s new Vita TV, the new set top box that serves as a TV-connected mini gaming console, media streamer, and extender for the upcoming PlayStation 4 console. But after some initial optimism that the device would make its way to Western markets anytime soon, it looks like those hopes were dashed — at least for now — by an interview at Tech-On with Sony’s Andrew House:
House: SCE will release the PS Vita TV in Japan Nov 14, 2013, and in other countries after that. The reason why it will be launched in Japan earlier than in other countries is that there is no leading company in Japan’s video streaming market. The company is planning to sell the PS Vita TV in China, South Korea, etc, but not in the US and European market at this point.
Streaming video is pretty much a non-thing in Japan right now, due mostly to the fact that media rights in Japan are a mutant octopus. There are services available, but even the king of rental, Tsutaya, has failed to really reach the sort of penetration that Netflix has here in the States. Sony hopes to use the international reach of its Entertainment division to establish its own service there, and eventually in mainland Asia where people like streaming video as much as they do here. So why not the US and Europe? Because there really isn’t a lot of opportunity to expand the back-end part. To the mass consumer who doesn’t have dreams of streaming their PS4 to other rooms, there are already plenty of streaming video options. Combine that with the fact that Apple is now supporting game controllers in iOS 7, and Vita TV would face the sort of competition here in the West that it simply doesn’t have in Japan.