Who is Kaz Hirai: The Man Behind the Riiiiiiidge Racerrrrrrr
By becoming president and CEO of Sony (officially happening on April Fools), Kaz Hirai has inherited a struggling empire. No doubt you've heard of the $2+ billion Q3 loss, which seems to be Sir Howard Stringer's final legacy upon the company.
Hirai, an exceptionally bilingual man whose upbringing was steeped in the international, has a history of getting down and dirty in the face of corporate danger. This is the man who helped elevate the Playstation brand to where it is today during his time at Sony Computer Entertainment of America. However, this is also the man who, as the CEO of SCEI (Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.), oversaw the tepid Playstation 3 era.
The Playstation Vita marks the beginning of an era of Playstation product under the wing of Hirai as the boss-man of the entirety of Sony.
“Sony cannot continue walking on the same path,” Hirai, called Kaz by associates, said at the earnings briefing in Tokyo. “Sony needs to find new business areas, such as medical. We also need to select and narrow our business portfolio.” ( source)
To Hirai, narrowing the portfolio doesn't involve bowing out of or half-assing the portable games sector. As someone who literally said, "Holy shit, now what?" in the face of his new responsibilities, he has some balls in my opinion.
You know what the Vita is, but are you familiar with its first killer app? It's not Uncharted.
(The text editor is stuck in Italics and I can't change it, damnit sorry.) I don't need to explain this game as we have a wonderful wiki that does it brilliantly. It is a game from SCE Japan Studio, the in-house Sony dev that brought you Ape Escape, Patapon, and Echochrome among other titles (like ICO AND SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS) and directed by the creator of Silent Hill. It is beautiful, both technically and artistically. The gameplay is novel and solid (39/40 score from Famitsu solid; I know Famitsu is not the most trustworthy reviewer but bear with me). It screams unique. This is not another installment of Big Franchise X. Even if it doesn't rake in money, it will rake in respect. And respect is paramount for a console that's in its early life- especially one that fell flat on its face against the 3DS. The Vita needs an Ico (it also needs a Call of Duty and Monster Hunter but those are coming) and it has one here. TL;DR OPEN-WORLD ACTION ADVENTURE WITH UNIQUE SETTING, GAMEPLAY, AND BEAUTIFUL PRESENTATION. ON VITA. RESPECT.
The $249.99-299.99 Question
If you don't have the money (waiting for a price drop, satisfied with your 3DS), don't care about portable gaming consoles at all (you prefer Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds on your iOS/Android devices), or are a Pussy (waiting for a big lineup of amazing pants-wetting games AND a price drop), please stop reading from here. Sony's ability to get to you will be tested in the coming years.
Will you buy a Vita at or around launch? Are you a bad enough dude to walk into the depths of Hell with Kaz Hirai?
I am and I will. Bring it on, Sony. Give me more games like Gravity Rush instead of irrelevant stuff like WOW PORTABLE KILLZONE, UNCHARTED, AND RESISTANCE and I'll know that I made the right decision.