Should Sony Be Worried About The PlayStation Vita? It Kind Of Already Is...

Despite the fact almost every games writer I've ever spoken with loves the thing, the general public has, so far, not exactly warmed to Sony's latest handheld video games console.

In Japan, sales have been dire. After a strong launch weekend, the Vita now isn't just being outsold by the 3DS, it's being outsold by the handheld it's meant to replace, the PSP. That's...not great.

Still, it sounds familiar, no? Nintendo's 3DS suffered a woeful launch last year, when it was over-priced and lacking in quality software. The company was forced to act and act drastically, slashing the handheld's price in a move that was initially condemned (by the press, of course, not consumers) as Nintendo panicking.

Yet last week Sony almost went one better. The PlayStation Vita isn't even out yet in the West and already its launch offerings are being changed. Two new bundles are being offered by Sony, one an upgrade to existing pre-order customers (that includes 250MB free data and a free PSN game) and the other a brand new deal which throws in both of the above as well as a free 8GB memory card (usually $US45, but which itself has been cut to $US35).

If sweetening the deal just after launch is panicking, what's it called when a company feels compelled to do it before a handheld is even released? A pretty good deal for customers interested in picking one up, for one, but in terms of the big picture it shows Sony might be more than a little concerned the Vita's stalling sales in Japan will carry over to the West next month.

Special Launch Day PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi Bundle Announced [PlayStation]


    I'm getting really sick of the way that the gaming press has thrown the system under the bus because it hasn't sold like an iPad at a hipster convention.

    The PSP is outselling it because it's a fraction of the price and has a huge games library.

      Hipsters have Windows tablets, duh :P

        Hipsters use actual slate.

      I have to agree, it seems like it only just came out yesterday in Japan and already it's being written off by some websites, including this one in particular. It's getting a bit annoying really and hiding constant negative press behind poor first month sales figures is bugging me, it's a marathon not a sprint.

        Especially since said websites didn't doubt anything about the 3DS, which had no games AT ALL at the time, because it was made by Nintendo and we should "Have faith in them".

      It's frustrating, since all the negative press will probably result in lower sales figures (which will likely fuel more negative press and so on...), which could lead to fewer developers embracing the system, limiting the library, etc.
      If the press didn't make such a big deal about the slow start the system would have a better chance to flourish.

      I'm with you there, NegativeZero.

    Interesting. I say price match the 3DS! (AU$194.)

    Umm its fine, it is just a limited time offer to move the early 3G units that SONY makes a profit on since most consumers are after the Wi-Fi version.

    Also why are you comparing Vita sales to PSP in Japan... PSP is on track to pass PS2 in Japan which will make it the second most successful console/handheld in Japan with only the DS ahead of it.

    Have all the big US launch games come out yet? No. I don't want the system, but it hasn't gone the way of the 3DS yet.

    Its all well and good when the US does offers like this - but no good for Australia where the premium is still paid and there arent any decent offers! And dont tell me the Vodafone, sign up for data and we'll give you Wipeout as a free download, offer is any good. Because its not. Its rubbish!

    THe other things with the PSP in Japan, is that there are soooooo many games over there that are available - not available in Aus/Us/ Europe. Their games ilbrary is massive and the PSP is bedded down there. Think about it, if you wanted to play a MMO/RPG with your friends - you going to get a vita? Nope - because the game doesnt exist on it yet AND your firends dont have one!

    Just don't see why people (other than perhaps Sony from a current financial perspective) are worried. As soon as a Vita Monster Hunter is released, sales will surge. I'm not using hyperbole, look at Japan's market sales history, the game is a system seller, hell it's a system seller even if the system is 5 years old and has already had 2 Monster Hunter games released.

    I kinda look at the Vita the same way I look at Google+.
    It looks much better than Facebook and I really want to use it, but none of my friends have it so whats the point?
    Desperately needs Monster Hunter

      I totally agree with the Monster Hunter thing. Perhaps this is also one of the reasons why the PSP is still outselling it in Japan? Just a thought...

        Monster Hunter literally defines 'system seller' in Japan. My only criticism is of Capcom lately. They seem to not care too much about their customers, particularly outside of Japan. Still waiting for MHP3rd. I'll be surprised if we get Monster Hunter 3G either.

        Monster Hunter 3 and 4 also being released on the 3DS this time will make thinngs difficult for Sony. Will people put the cash up to play it on a nicer screen?
        I think Sony should be worried. They need an exclusive!

    I hope the price is dropped a few months after launch.

    GAME has Ridge Racer free with the console on launch. The console isn't locked to the Vodafone network like the AT&T crap they are pulling in the states. 3G hardly seems worth it when you can turn most smart phones into wifi hotspots with internet sharing

    3DS, Vita, whatever... It's going to be fine. I hate Sony Corp. due to their handling of several problems like the root-kit disaster or the PSN hack but some of their products are really good.

    Also, [email protected]# you so called gaming journalists, write interesting stuff about gaming (like Mark) and stop pulling out rotten teeth of dead horses mouths, it's kinda awkward what you produce.

    It's like people want the Vita to fail or something. The amount of negative press surrounding it's sales on Kotaku is phenomenal. It's not even out anywhere besides Japan yet. There will be a completely different customer/demographic when it's released in the West. I mean sure it's fair to speculate as to how it will do, but c'mon.

    I for one am excited as hell, being a day one PSP owner who still uses it to this day. Specification and software wise, this thing looks utterly incredible. I think there may be a bit of tall poppy syndrome here. Then again, many people I ask consider the PSP a flop (despite 70+ million sales) so I don't know - maybe people are just bitter and twisted.

    Dont give a shit. I just want one!

    I'm pretty sure the PS2 was out selling the PS3 early on as well...

    The Vita's selling like crap because it has no unique system-sellers. Some of the games are indeed good or at least interesting, but it has nothing that isn't already on the PS3, or has a different title of the same series on the PS3 or another console.

    What's probably going to kill it, or at least cripple its sales, is that this trend isn't going to be broken by any of the upcoming titles; They're all either merely interesting, or already out/going to be out on the PS3. Some of the better ones being multiplayer-focused like Rayman Origins, Dragon's Crown or Blazblue.

    And when you can get a PS3, several games and maaaybe a second controller for the price of a Vita, at least in Australia, what interest would you have in getting one?

    Before anyone brings up the 3DS sales again, what saved it (aside from the price drop) was that good and unique games did indeed eventually get released and more are coming within the next year. Bravely Default Flying Fairy, Kid Icarus, Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion 2, the list goes on.

    The Vita will flop hard here in Australia imo. The device itself costs at least $350 which is enough of a hard sell, but then you gotta pay another $50 or so for a memory card just so you can use the damn thing. So that's $400 ($500 if you get the 3G model- which no-one will because not only does 3G here suck, but 4G is now being rolled out) spent and that's not even taking the $50-$70 games into account.

    If the 3DS did bad enough at $350, what makes Sony think they'll do any better at charging even more for the Vita? Did they not learn anything from Nintendo's pricing mistake?

    While the games do look good, I'll give it that, I simply cannot justify spending $400 for one while the 3DS is $200, I don't think alot of other would be able to either.

      Sad.....but true

      Agreed. The cost is just too damn high (queue meme picture) for a system that has no real library of games yet. The only reason i'd ever buy one is to fire up the 25 odd games I had for my PSP before the damn thing broke and I never got fixed. Hrm maybe I should since I sure won't be buying a Vita.

      Agree 100% with this post - Price is a BIG factor these days (esp in Australia where people have wised up on the gouging that occurs) the VITA will have a hard time until Sony chooses to compete with the 3DS on price and even then it'll have a hard time because by the next Xmas season you'll either see parents will start upgrading their kids to the new 3DS or there'll be a 3DS Lite

    Sony doesn't need to sweeten the deal. They just need to change the damn thing's name.

    I'm desperately waiting for the PSVita launch in Singapore this end of February

    The vita should be 300 not 350. But we have come to expect that. I hope we get the free card here. Because I have ordered the 32GB one from the states.

    The PS3 was written off as a failure also cause it was overpriced, didn't sell as great as the Wii or 360 and the library wasn't as great (and third party games seemed to perform & sell better than the 360).

    Well now look at it. Sure they're in third place - but sometimes it's not about the sales, for a business it's also mainly about the profit. Sony as a whole may not be doing the best right now, but the PS3 itself is by no means a failure in the long run and that is what's important... the long-term effect which is what Sony said all along about it's product and I don't see the Vita being any different, especially considering it's only the second handheld in 7 years.

    You don't see that many launches that go absolutely perfect anyway. The 360 wasn't that great. Consumers are afraid - they need reason to spend their money, not waste it. My reasoning for a 360 was Halo 3, even though I was looking forward to the 360 before its launch. I was afraid of investing so much money. Give it time, like the 3DS, and the Vita will pick up speed.

      You've hit AND missed the point there - you wanted a 360 because of Halo 3. The Vita has no similar killer release on the table. The PS3 itself had Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance, Uncharted and Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction released within the first year of it's launch, most of those having been announced prior to it actually being released.

        "The PS3 itself had Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance, Uncharted and Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction released within the first year of it’s launch"

        Because the Vita doesn't already have Uncharted and Resistance?


          While those are indeed great games, they have an average length of about, what, 8 hours apiece with no real immediate replayability? What will you play after them? And more importantly; will they garner enough interest on their own merits to shift consoles?

            What's your definition of "replay value" that any other single player game this generation doesn't have? Uncharted on Vita is already rated at 10hrs long which I have beaten in 8.5hrs and have only unlocked 11% trophies on hard difficulty. Then there is a whole plethora of treasures to unlock, photos to be taken and enemy card drops to be obtained. And this is only a launch title to boot.

            Unique games to shift consoles? Funny you should mention the 3DS on above posts as being a console with games that entice and yet half of those you mentioned are console sequels. What so Vita's Gravity Rush and Escape Plan, which are just launch titles, not counted?

    Give it time.

    The PS3 was the same.

    Sony's recent products have all been slow-burn.

    I am considering buying it for Final Fantasy X. If Final Fantasy X-2 gets released for Vita as well then I'm sold.

    Meh. I was never interested in the PSP and am even less interested in the Vita. I have a 3DS for my portable gaming, and a PC for my home gaming. Why would I want a machine that does portable versions of home console games?

    The problem with the Vita I feel is that it doesn't really have an audience. Sure, plunkett, it's easy for you to say that your gaming press friends love the thing when you are given it for free, but the hardcore gamer isn't going to slap down up to $450 on a thing that plays the same games that his PS3 has had for years, and has the same functionality as the smart phone sitting in his pocket.

    Meanwhile, soccer mum shopping for little jimmy and casual gamer who wandered into the electronics section of big W see this monster sitting on the shelf, and will simply buy a 3DS for half the price with a copy of Nintendogs.

    It's way too expensive for what it does, and I'd expect to see the price dropped to AT LEAST $250 if they ever want to move any units. It's niche is too small, that only the most die-hard of fans will want it, and even many of them will remain satisfied with their PS3

    I blame poor marketing. Walking through my local CBD, there isn't a single "PS VITA IS COMING" banner anywhere. Do many people even know what one is?

    Sony have invested too much in this thing to let it fail. If they're scared about the sales figures, they'll react - which is what they're doing with this game bundle. Personally, if it's not doing brilliantly yet, then that's fine because it means they'll sweeten the deal more and more.
    And it's got a pretty impressive games library on the way - and also, I don't remember the last time a console launched with four games I absolutely must have.
    And with Sony's biggest franchises and best 1st party studios on the job, I reckon it's only a matter of time before sales pick up.
    There's definitely a market for this thing, people just have to be motivated to buy it. $350 may be expensive, but for what it is, I think it's absolutely reasonable. I'm not perturbed whatsoever by slow sales figures, as there'll definitely be at least one more sold when it launches in less than a month.

    honestly. they needed to market the shit out of it which they didnt.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now