In spite of an underwhelming launch in Japan, Sony is buoyed by the success of competing handheld, the Nintendo 3DS.

Speaking with MCV, Sony’s Ryan Nelson said that the success of the Nintendo 3DS proved there was still a market for dedicated handheld gaming devices.

“One of the encouraging things about 3DS's sales performance at Christmas is that it is confounding the naysayers who say that there is no room in the market for a dedicated handheld gaming device,” he said. “And to that extent we were encouraged by how 3DS did over the last month.”

Ryan believes that 3DS and smartphone sales won’t stop consumers from buying a PlayStation Vita as well.

“There are two distinct markets. The quality, the immersiveness, the richness of the experience that we believe we are going to offer on Vita, way exceeds anything that we believe to be available on any smartphone.”

Addressing the Vita’s very poor performance at retail in Japan, Ryan added, “One of the things we have learnt over a long period of time, is that whether it is PS1, PS2, PSP or PS3, it is dangerous to the point of impossible to take any experience from the Japanese market and try and extrapolate it, and propose upon what will happen in Europe or North America.

“Not withstanding the fact that it is just way too early to make any conclusions. The markets are now just so different, I actually think they are diverging to a greater extent than they were different in the past - if that's even possible.

“It is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions of the Japanese launch in the context of what will happen in Europe. We are more focused on our stakeholder reaction, whether that is specialist press or the reaction from retail. The key task of allocating the supply that we have to the considerable demand, and just ensuring everything is in place for February 22nd.”