PS Vita Still Struggling After Six Months, But The Solution Is Obvious

The Playstation Vita hit stores in Japan on December 17, 2011. Since then, sales performances for the powerful little handheld have been… "Not meeting expectations" would be a mild way of stating it.

This week, Weekly Famitsu covered the past 6 months of the Vita's fight in the game market. As of July 7, the Vita has sold a total of 790,633 units. Compared to the 3DS that leads the console pack with 6,472,484 units sold, that's pretty abysmal, considering the Vita came out only eight months after the 3DS.

Launch week was the most fruitful for the Vita, marking up over 300,000 units sold, but the numbers dropped dramatically over the following week, settling at just over 10,000 units a week after five weeks out in the market. Since then, the Vita has managed to maintain a fairly steady pace of roughly 10,000 units a week. The only major spikes in sales have been recent with the release of Persona 4: The Golden (over 30,000 units sold that week) and the Crystal White model Vita (over 20,000 units sold that week).

Software-wise, the Vita has yet to have a million seller in Japan. The top-selling game for the PS Vita has been Persona 4: The Golden with 188,782 copies sold (No info as to whether this number contains online sales as well). While the number one game, Persona 4: The Golden is a recent release (June 14th), the number two game at 118,985 copies sold is Everybody's Golf 6 which was released last year and on launch day (December 17th)… That should be something of a troubling fact to Sony.

At present, sales for the Vita are fairly stable. Last week had the Vita selling 11,544 units. Compared to the majority of other consoles, that's relatively good in terms of numbers. The only consoles to outsell the Vita were the PS3, with 14,297 units, and (of course) the 3DS with 51,930 units. Unfortunately, when you look at the fact that the PSP, a 7 year-old console, sold 10,627 units, reality kind of sinks in heavily.

User feedback from Vita owners on the whole has been positive. In a questionnaire to users, nearly 70% of responders said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the Vita (790 valid responses) showing that the Vita itself is on the whole, a very solid system. The graphics are gorgeous, the system and controls are solid (after a few initial hiccups), and a great deal of advancements and improvements can be seen from lessons learned in the past. Overall, the console holds a great deal of potential. But potential doesn't sell a game console. The Sega Dreamcast was considered ahead of its time in many aspects, but it only enjoyed a shelf-life of less than 4 years… When asked what they would like to see for the Vita in the future, over 70 per cent of users responded that they want a larger software lineup, showing, what is quite obviously, the Vita's greatest weakness.

Long story short: Put out stronger games, Sony.

Note: SCEJ Marketing & Online Service Senior Vice President, Katsumi Oikawa has stated in an interview that for this year's Tokyo Game Show, Sony "will be focusing more on the PS Vita." Hopefully, we'll see the Vita pick up steam in the days to come.


    It needs a strong 150+ hour RPG... I remember buying a PSP for Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, by the time I was done I'd clocked 350+ hours on one save, soloing the entire game. C'mon Sony, go brown-nose Capcom a bit, or develop a better Monster Hunter-esque game.

    No... The 3DS has a terrible lineup. Apart from OoT, I haven't bought a single game for it because they're all quite terrible and 3DS controls make it impossible to play any game where you need to control the camera well.

    What they DO need to do, is drop the price. I've been aching for a Vita and I can't wait to sell my 3DS, but I can't get a Vita. Because it's too expensive, especially when considering the memory stick prices.

      Agreed I came to this article thinking the solution it was going to offer was a price drop. That is easier than bringing new titles to the system when you consider a quality title can take upto 2 years to get right. It might be worthwhile doing a bunch of PSP HD ports, there is a huge library of great games. Porting them and enhancing them would be much faster than creating new IP from scratch.

      Plus one for this - I'm a bit of a nintendo hand held fan boy but the hardware on the Vita is light years ahead of the 3DS. Already the quality of games is great and it's only going to get better. If only the price were a little more accessible.

      Nothing to do with prise - 3DS has Monster Hunter titles out and new ones yet to be release being hyped.

        Yep. Don't get why Capcom chose to lower the quality of the MH series (3DS means no online modes, which is much worse than the drop in graphics quality) by releasing it on 3DS, but it has doomed the Vita sadly. Which is odd, considering early tech demos showed off MHP3 on the Vita..

          Actually only MH3 on the 3DS launched with no online etc as it was a quick and dirty port, they have already confirmed 4 will have full online functionality..

      Kid Icarus: Uprising
      Super Mario 3DS Land
      Mario Kart 7
      Cave Story 3D
      Star Fox
      MGS Snake Eater
      Plus the promise of so many great games to look forward to and a big catalogue of retro games. I look at the Vita library and the only things I want to play are Uncharted, FIFA and Persona 3 on the PSN with nothing announced yet that's gotten me excited.

        All of those 3DS games have very little depth to them, where you pretty much do the same thing all the time. And when you look at it that way, Nintendo hasn't really changed since the early nineties or even earlier, whereas other games for real consoles have focused on innovation and being engaging. Nintendo games have roughly the same appeal as flash games, but slightly "flashier" if you will. You know that kind of mindless arcade feel, that keeps you playing a game, even though it has poor relative quality to normal standards.
        The exception to this is Snake Eater. But vita has the metal gear collection out which features three games, with much better quality than the 3DS, one game counterpart (and for pretty much the same price). Especially with the absence of the second stick which made me want to launch my 3DS out my window.
        I used to love Nintendo, but then I got sick of the crap they were trying to sell me, while I was getting better quality games from other consoles like mass effect and infamous. I need things like gravity rush and golden abyss and the mgs collection on my handheld. Not another remake of Mariokart.

        Oh wait, it's not a remake, it's in 3D now. Wait... No, it's the same.

    "Long story short: Put out stronger games, Sony."

    Each to their own, personally I'm quite happy with the titles that have been available from launch til now.

      True. What we need is more games not stronger games. We are getting 1 game per 2-3 months lately. Of course sales is bad

      Cant say im quite happy with the launch titles.we have a selection of barely 30 actual vita games, most of which dont really appeal to me. I've resorted to buying psp games just so i have something to play...

      Yes, but that's here, not Japan. They had a big rush of games right at launch (many of which are still pending here), Gravity Rush was released about a month later, and then there was basically nothing until Persona 4 hit. Sony's managed things a bit better outside Japan but now they've hit the same issue: there's simply nothing interesting on the horizon. People don't just buy systems for the games that are on it, they buy it looking toward what will come out later as well, and Sony's done really poorly with that.

        Sales haven't been spectacular in any market, so the argument posed in the article can be attributed to any market. I agree the Western market has done it better and but again, as a stated prior, it's basically down to everyone's specific tastes.

        A snapshot of some of the bigger games still to come out this year... LittleBigPlanet, Assassin's Creed Liberation, Call Of Duty, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, PlayStation All Stars, Oddworld HD Updates (Munch & Stranger), Spyhunter, Zone Of The Enders HD

        From PSN... Dokuro, Jet Set Radio, Kickbeat, Retro City Rampage, Sine Mora, Snapshot, Sound Shapes, When Vikings Attack

        Personally I could easily pick up over half of these and that doesn't include some of the more common games over multiplatform (the FIFA's, Madden's, Need For Speed, etc...)

        There is still the Vita Bioshock title, Soul Sacrifice and a few others that are likely to pop up next year also, it's had a slow start, but there are plenty of quality titles available now and to come that have been announced.

        Gamescom is here next month for the West and alot are expecting full Call Of Duty details and then then following month will be TGS for the East and all they really need to announce is a real Final Fantasy game, Monster Hunter, Gran Turismo and throw in a Demon Souls game and the handheld will travel along nicely.

    More Continuous play games, that way I can start on the PS3 and continue on the Vita (or vice versa)

    I know there is remote play, but 3G and WiFi is not good enough here to make it viable, being able to play your PS3 games anywhere would be a huge selling point for people with PS3s already

    Or stop supporting the PSP completely. They just released (or will just release soon) a new version of the PSP and they're still releasing games for the PSP. I know that Sony likes to support dying consoles - the PS2 is a great example - but kill the PSP and let the Vita live properly. That and release every game for the PSP and get onto the PSOne support ASAP. I know that people would want to play NEW games, but if you provide them a whole back catalogue of every PSP game and every PSOne game, then that's a whole market of games that will keep people busy til they release a proper system seller.

    "As of July 7, the Vita has sold a total of 790,633 units."
    "Software-wise, the Vita has yet to have a million seller in Japan."

    Obviously it hasn't had a million seller. That would require at least 209,367 people to buy two copies of the same game.

      209,367 people could buy a game without a vita in solidarity. :D

    I think they need to survey people who have tried the Vita but not purchased. I can only speak for myself personally but the experience of holding the device was pretty horrible for me. It's an uncomfortable form factor. Also the system menus were confusing. The games on demo were also kind of confusing, so in that aspect I guess that supports the argument about games. But really I think in general it's just not a great form factor for me. The clam shell makes the 3ds great because I can have the screen pointing a different direction to my hands.

    Ha ha so true ax0r...

    I loved sony in the days of PS1.. PS2 was ok but I didnt end up getting half as many titles, PS3 has had a great amount of titles probably too much infact I havn't come close to finishing all my current titles. But Handheld consoles have been the worlds biggest flop in the past 5 years, GBA was the best title wise games these days on handhelds have annoyingly bad 3D graphics OR annoyingly bad gameplay trying to make Console games for handhelds is stupid. And thats why Pokemon ruled.

    Time for a price drop Sony, It's better to get it done with now to boost the numbers up then have devs walk away uninterested.

    They need to release a larger memory card and make the memory card cheaper, so they can push thier PSN/Digital Service, and People can use thier Vita as is intended to be, a multimedia gaming Device.

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