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PS Vita sales sink to record low as software drought continues in Japan
PS Vita sales sink to record low as software drought continues in Japan
April 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

April 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



PS Vita hardware sales sank to 8,250 units in Japan last week -- a record low for the struggling handheld that's had no blockbuster game releases to help lift it out of this rut.

Sony's new portable has had little success gaining upward momentum in recent months. Its sales are tracking far behind its main rival, Nintendo 3DS (sold 63,796 units last week), which is so far outselling PS Vita six-to-one in Japan this year.

Many have blamed PS Vita's poor sales on a lack of compelling software, as Sony and third-party publishers haven't released any big-seller in Japan for months. It won't receive any major titles until mid-to-late June with Persona 4: The Golden and Metal Gear Solid HD Edition.

And though handheld games for DS, 3DS, and PSP dominate Japan's top 20 software sales chart for retail (taking 15 spots), the list lacks a single PS Vita title -- the chart does not take into account digital sales for PS Vita games via PlayStation Network.

Namco Bandai's 2nd Super Robot Wars Z for PSP was the biggest-selling game for the second week in a row after moving 34,403 copies. It's followed by Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts 3D for 3DS, which dropped off fast and sold 20,977 copies last week after debuting three weeks ago.

Several other Nintendo 3DS games continue to sell well, including Super Mario 3D Land (18,119 copies), Kid Icarus: Uprising (15,228 copies), Mario Kart 7 (12,212 copies), and Capcom's Monster Hunter 3G (15,074 copies).

Two new PSP games from Idea Factory debuted in the top 20 list last week, Atelier Elkrone: Dear for Otomate (8,012 copies) and Armen Noir Portable (3,254 copies). PSP hardware sold 13,166 units -- the seven-year-old portable has so far outsold PS Vita in 2012.

Full software and hardware sales charts for the April 9 to 15 period in Japan, provided by Media Create and translated on the NeoGAF forums, are available here.


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Comments


Alan Rimkeit
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Games, games, games. Nintendo 3DS was in the same place until great games came out. Sony needs to up their game to get more great games on the Vita. But that may be just me. O.o

Joe Zachery
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The 3DS was in a similar state, but no where near as bad. The point is the media painted a picture that the 3DS was a sinking ship. If that was true then the same media should have had a funeral for Vita a month ago. The 3DS was selling hardware, and software better than the Vita during the same amount of time. Also remember the Vita had the luxury of launching in Japan during the holiday season. So while games will help the Vita a price cut is what need to happen. People don't want to buy a gaming handheld for that price.

Alan Rimkeit
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So then Ninty got their games moving faster then Sony did. Give Vita a few must have sellers and it will all be well. But then public opinion of Sony is so anti-Sony these days it is lame. PSP was not a "failure" as most people in the public believe. Sure it did not sell as well as the DS, but a failure it was not. Vita will be the same. Give it time and some devs to really take advantage of the features that Vita offers. I want a touch screen Vita RTS game personally. Or bring a turn based RPG a la the Baldur's Gate EE that is coming soon. Vita will do fine. No Sony video game system has ever failed. That would be Sega's fate.

Amir Sharar
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The 3DS also benefited from an incredible price drop. Games are one thing, but value proposition is another.

From my perspective, Sony went the wrong direction with this product. Now they are stuck with a machine that will require a good amount of AAA software to justify its asking price.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Christian Keichel - Are they still losing money on PSP(which is still selling BTW)? Are they still losing money on PS3? I do not know myself, but I would imagine they are not losing money on either now and have not for quite some time now. That would not make either failures. PS2 is still also selling around the world too. It is their horribly priced TV sector that is dragging them down. Vizio is eating their breakfast, lunch, and dinner on that one. Such a loss for them.

Celso Duran
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The 3DS was in the exactly same place the Vita is now, the difference is that the 3DS had no competition at the time so its situation didn't appear as bad.

Russell Carroll
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The 3DS wasn't in exactly the same place though.
I hope for the Vita to do well, b/c I think it's a better gaming eco-system if there is 'gaming' hardware in consumer's hands.

That said when the 3DS was doing 'horrible,' it is noteworthy that it was still selling > 24K units each week (with many weeks in the 40K range), about 3x of the Vita 'horrible.' (notably the 3DS bottomed out at 16K units the 2 weeks before the price effect went into place)

The 'games' didn't come for many months (Zelda in June might be the first one, but probably you look to Mario, Mario Kart + MH3 which were Nov + Dec titles), and the price cut was still many months away (August!).

Point is, the 3DS had a rough launch, the Vita launch has, without question, been much rougher.

Cordero W
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Unfortunately, a lot of upcoming hit games for the Vita are mostly ports. Devs don't seem to be flocking to it in fear of failure, much like the Wii was at the start of its time. The downside is that this is a handheld console competing against the 3ds and the mobile market. And most users of the Wii love mobile devices, so they're likely not going to grab the same mainstream crowd like Nintendo did to make up for the lack of 3rd party support.

I simply believe this is the effects of longterm deterioration of reputation coming into effect, which explains why Nintendo has always been strict with keeping their image to the public as "family friendly", "nice", and "nearly perfect" as possible. Don't take this as me being pro-Nintendo. It's just good business on their part from their track record thus far.

Kyle Redd
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While Nintendo's strict adherence to a "safe" image may indeed have been sound practice in the past, it's not doing anything but dragging them into the gutter now.

How many parents have you heard say they don't want their kids to have an iPhone or iPad because they don't think it's family-friendly enough?

Jason Chen
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Sony needs to get 3rd party support asap on vita software development

thay thay
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If you are a 3rd party developer, which would you support: a multiplatform (360, PS3, PC, wii-u) market that will reach a potential audience of over 100 million or a single portable system that is not selling well? Thus I don't see many 3rd parties supporting it, unless its a port that is not optimized for portable gaming.

Eric Geer
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I will buy a Vita when there is a game that requires me to have a Vita---there is nothing out there right now--so I'm gonna pass. Also that price...eeek. Even if you buy the cheap model, a decent size memory card and a game you are looking at about $350-450(depending on memory card size).

Where they went wrong was with the high cost, no games, and no on-board memory.(Or including memory card with the hardware)

Kenneth Bruton
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Despite the lack of games on the PSVITA, the real killer is lack of innovation on the games themselves. The 3DS has the 3D gimmick going in its behalf, the Vita is just getting ports mostly. It really does need to be a gamechanger to thrive and survive.

A W
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You may find this interesting. My PS3 is broken and I have to ship it back to a Sony department to get it fixed (I think the motor for the Blu Ray player clucked after 5 years of play.) The rep on the phone reminded me that the Vita was out and ask if I wanted an e-mail about it that advertised its specs. I felt sorry for the guy so I told him to go on ahead and send me the info on it. I didn't have it in my heart to tell the guy that at this moment I'm not in the market for a new handheld gaming device.

I just think its getting a little desperate for Sony if they have their reps doing that to sell hardware to players of their system. I mean I'm already on the mailing list so why not just send it to me anyway. Nintendo did when the 3DS came out. Gamestop and Best Buy did it for the 3DS and I'm sure they did it for the Vista too. I think things may pick up when they get the right kinds of games. For me right now it not the right kind of economy.

Montana Payne
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I don't think the problem is entirely Sony's hardware model, it's more their software model. Ironically, their anti-piracy measures end up hurting platform sales... Why would anyone deliberately jump on board the Sony ship when iOS and PC are less effort and potentially more lucrative right out of the gate? Impatient investors add even more pressure for developers to produce.

I wanted a Vita ever since the mention of the NGP, but I have yet to get one mainly because I hate their Software/OS.

"We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that (developers) want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is, what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?"
--Kaz Hirai, CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment

k s
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That kind of attitude is not going to win them friends.


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