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Sony Executive: Outlook For PlayStation Vita Supply "Good"

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Ahead of the launch of its new handheld videogame system, Sony Corp. (6758.TO) said it is prepared with enough supply of the new PlayStation Vita after pre-orders for the device sold out quickly. Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, the company's PlayStation videogame division, said he is "comfortable" with the Vita supply base and if shortages do arise from strong demand, they will be resolved quickly. The PlayStation Vita is the first all-new videogame system from Sony since the debut of its PlayStation 3 home console in 2006. It will replace the PlayStation Portable as the main handheld gaming platform for the business. The introduction of the Vita comes at a precarious time for the videogame industry. The rise of casual games played on increasingly powerful mobile phones and tablet computers is threatening the need for dedicated handheld game machines. "There is still very strong potential for dedicated game machine," House said at company headquarters in Tokyo. House was promoted to oversee global operations of the PlayStation unit in September after running the European arm of the business. The Vita will debut in Japan on Saturday with 24 game titles available at launch. It will start selling in Hong Kong and Taiwan later this month. The device won't be available in the U.S. or Europe until next year--missing the all-important holiday shopping season this year--when it launches Feb. 22. House said the videogame unit, which became profitable in the past fiscal year after losing money for several years, is still on track to remain in the black. He said Sony will lose money at first on the Vita hardware and how quickly it can start being profitable on the device depends on a number of factors including currency rates. With that in mind, the company is incurring more of its production costs in U.S. dollars. However, the yen's strength against the euro continues to be a headache for the videogame unit, House said. -By Daisuke Wakabayashi, The Wall Street Journal; +81-3-6269-2834; daisuke.wakabayashi@wsj.com

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