48% Of PlayStation Vita Games Sales Are Digital

The PlayStation Vita is a complicated console. Is it successful? Is it in need of rescue. One thing is for sure, it's an interesting experiment. IGN has reported that 48% of game sales on the PlayStation Vita have been digital. An incredible number.

And it's a number that could speak to several things: is it a result of the poor penetration the device has at retail? Is it because it's a future facing console that makes online purchasing easy and accessible? Maybe.

Is it because the PlayStation Vita's best games are all online only? That's a big possibility. Is it because PlayStation Vita owners tend to be early adopters who love new technology? I'd argue that's a major factor.

Speaking personally, I only play digital games on my PlayStation Vita. For me it's an in-case-you-missed-it machine — a great outlet for portable indie games I didn't get the chance to play on the PC. Games like Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Proteus. I've enjoyed playing them on PS Vita. Then there are other great titles available: Sound Shapes, OlliOlli — these are digital only titles. The initial selling point of the Vita was that it would become a portable PlayStation 3 that could play major AAA titles. The reality is, the PlayStation Vita has found its niche in other areas.

Sony Talks PS Vita, Reveals New Statistics [IGN]


    I've been 'buying' the PS+ freebies for Vita so that I will have a decent library should I ever buy the thing but the main thing holding me back is the fact it doesn't come with a memory card, and the memory cards are overpriced.

    So I could pick up the console on the cheap but then won't be able to download anything unless I fork out more money for something the console should have come with in the first place (or it should just use SD cards like every other device)

      That's also a really good point. Does this 48% statistic include all the 'sales' from pressing the buy button on the ps+ titles? Or is it sales value percentage? (brb following link)

      Edit: There's no source information on the linked article, just a quote from a behind closed doors meeting. Well, y'know what they say about statistics. I'm curious what the numbers are that lead to this conclusion.

      Last edited 12/02/14 9:32 am

        people can come up with statistics to prove anything, forfty percent of all people know that.

      Technically the new model has 1gb storage built in, but yeah, the cost of the memory is ludicrous as a result of it being proprietary, and you really need a fair chunk of it to make digital purchasing worthwhile.

      These bundles seem like fairly good value, they both include at least one game and a 16GB card.



      Although, you would need to get one of these as well.


        Not required, you just need a local Figure 8 plug... The power supplies are universal.

      the new ps vita slim bundle coming this spring comes with 8gb memory card and borderlands 2 go get it lol

    All mine are digital, all psn+ freebies. Guacamelee is an excellent game btw.

    I think this is the actual problem with the vita, there are no actual VITA games for it. My entire collection outside persona 4 and celceta are digital and the reason for that is because they are all psp, ps1 or ps+ games.

    I think if they removed those because really they don't count and then removed all non VITA games, this number would be probably be around 15%.

    I don't have a single physical game for my Vita.

    The main factor is that it's a portable device - if I'm going away then I just want to take the vita, I don't want to have to handle a bunch of different games on physical media. Much more convenient to just have them all stored on the memory card. As opposed to my home console, where it isn't really going anywhere so I don't care about having a bunch of games sitting there on the shelf since I don't have to cart them around with me.

      My Vita's in a case for travel. The case has little pockets for up to 8 game cards and I leave cases at home on the shelf. It's not like the PSP's UMDs which were a bit of a pain... That said, I only have Liberation and Uncharted onphysical media. Picked up a 32GB memory card and most of my games are PS+ downloads...

    Yeah I was curious when Sony said at e3 2013 the vita had an attach rate of 9+ games whether that is buffered because of small titles or PS+ freebies I'm not sure.

      For me it's mostly PS+ and also the PS3 cross-buy games - stuff like Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Stealth Inc, Flower, etc. As well as a few I bought specifically for Vita like Persona 4, Tearaway, Everybody's Golf, etc.

        Spelunky and Hotline Miami aren't cross-buy, are they? I was looking at getting these the other day as part of the February sale but they had PSN/Vita versions listed separately and no mention of cross-buy.

          Yes, both of those are cross-buy between Vita and PS3 and I imagine if they get PS4 ports the cross-buy will be extended to that as well.

      My collection is about 12 PSP & PS1, 6-8 smaller PSN downloadables, 12 physical retail games (of which I have subsequently replaced 6 with digital versions thanks to getting them with PS+) and another 5 retail games I picked up digitally, of which 2 were via PS+, and I suspect a couple have been PS+ a while after I paid for them.

      I'd imagine their 9+ figure is including smaller-scale games as there's no reason for them to separate the two. Same for PS+.

    Imagine how much higher that would be if the memory wasn't so expensive.

    When I got the system I was planning to be physical-only for everything and grabbed a 16gb memory card (biggest available at launch here). Given that most full-sized Vita games are 2-3gb, that 16gb was about 4-5 full games and then some space for PSP & PSN stuff as well.

    However as PS Plus has been such a great investment over the last year or so, I've found that almost all the physical games I have that are over about 6 months old, I now own digitally. I'm getting to the point that I'd almost rather buy everything digital except where it's an import-only game. The convenience of being able to just take the system somewhere and most if not all of your library available immediately vastly outweighs the benefit of having a physical copy. However with only a 16gb memory card, the space is way too restrictive to make that viable.

    So I've just upgraded to 64gb and now I've got close to 30 games on the system. I feel like if your plan is to go digital-only on the Vita that 32gb is really a minimum and the (currently Asia-only) 64gb is even better. But that's an extra $100-120 on top of the cost of the system, nearly half what the system alone costs. And I think that's been a huge factor in stopping people buying the system.

    I understand why they did it, but I really wish Sony had used SD or something instead of proprietary Vita-only memory.

    I only own two physical Vita games, one is a copy a friend got overseas for cheap, the other is because the game was out on physical a week before the digital release. The rest of my rather large library is digital. What's weird though is I still prefer physical for my 3DS and PS3 though I have decent digital libraries on them as well. The Vita is made for digital distribution.

    Last edited 12/02/14 10:16 am

      The whole no real account system makes me not want to buy content digitally on 3DS.

        For reference, sales on 3DS are about 9% digital.

        @markserrels: I think the most interesting thing in that info leak is actually that 60% of PS4 owners also have a Vita.

    I find that strange- I haven't had a Vita for long, but I would think that the best way to get games on it would be the physical copy, since they take up less space on those insanely overpriced memory cards.

      Yeah, but having to cart those tiny game cards around can be fiddly and annoying. I only own one game physical - Hatsune Miku Project Diva F - and everything else is digital. Vita memory cards are overpriced, but for the privilege of never having to change games, and just having it all sitting there is totally worth it for me.

      Out of interest, my PSP is the same. I only own 3 or 4 physical games, but have 40 or 50 digitally - legit, from PSN - not ISOs or anything. It has a 32gb card, and fits almost every game I want or need on it.

    It's absolutely amazing how easy it is to buy a game in the PSN, despite slightly higher prices it's all about convenience. I have one 'cart' based game, that is LBP which came with the Vita, everything else is digital, mainly because I'm surprised at how good the sales are on the PSV (particularly with PS+). I've also had to buy a 64GB card from Hong Kong.

      My 32gb hasn't been enough for ages - keep having to remove/redownload games to fit what I want. Ordering my 64gb this week! \o/

    Look, I also feel as though the memory cards are expensive, based on the size and price of other similar sized storage media.

    That being said, this is nothing new for Sony and they had a similar model with the PS1, PS2 and the PSP. Look at the previous consoles, the PS1 and PS2, the memory cards for them started at RRP$50+ or so? and I know I ended up with multiple cards for siblings and/or for just more space.

    The PSP (Value Pack) came with a 32MB card, which was basically only good for saves, I mean this was a Portable Media device, so you could put songs of video on it, but you weren't getting much onto a 32MB card back then. Arguably the PSP was a successful device with over 80Mil sold? The highest selling handhold that isn't a Nintendo device, yet at one point a 4GB memory stick back then could have set you back a few hundred dollars.

    Vita at retail is being sold the same as the PSP was, some bundles have come with an entry level card (basically for saves, the system revision has 1GB onboard now) and the user has the OPTION to get a larger card if they so wish. Yes, it did suck that you had to buy one separately, but that was the same with the PS1 & PS2 or pretty much 95% of all consoles, it's an added extra like a second controller.

    Convenience is a thing I know, but even with PS+ you can get buy with an 8GB or 16GB card if you just transfer titles back and forth, it's just not the end of the world if you can't have every title you own on the one card. I roll with a 32GB card, have PS+ and at this moment have 29 digital games and 13 "installed" retail games, I could have more but I also have some other media on the device. The thing is, I jump between only 4-5 games (at most) at a time and once completed I will transfer it back to the PC for storage.

    In the end, I guess I can state that I've probably spent less money on Vita storage than I ever did with any other Sony console/handheld and I don't see that changing until maybe an alternate HDD for my PS4.

      I completely agree with your point about transferring games to the card. I've got a 700gb HD in my PS3, and use that to store all the games. Whenever I finish one of the 4 or 5 games I'm playing on my 16GB card, I replace it with another from the PS3, which takes about two minutes tops to transfer. The interface on the PS3 to Vita transferring is a little clunky, but on the whole it works pretty well, and is no real inconvenience.

    Pretty much all my games are digital, with the exception of Japanese exclusives. If only the vita had a built in way of using multiple regions accounts at once, that's my only gripe with the system.

    It's also really nice not to have to wory about carts now, I'm always taking my 3DS somewhere and feel like playing a game I left at home >_>

    I prefer not buying digital but US PSN sales are so good sometimes that I'd be mad not to.

    For an example: $50 for Batman Blackgate on cart or $20 digital.

    I have a dozen or so physical Vita games, mostly imports that are not available on the Australian PSN. I also have a bunch of downloaded titles. (Irritating sidebar: There have been some games released for PSP that are not compatible with the Vita for some reason.)

    The PS Vita does not allow more than 100 games to be installed. Yes, I found this out by exceeding the limit. (If you exceed 100 games, the extra games beyond 100 are not shown until some games are deleted to reduce the count.) While the Vita allows "folders" to store groups of games this doesn't affect the limit.

    And yes, the memory cards are a pain, in part because they can't be used for anything else. I have a spare 32GB card since upgrading to an imported 64GB card.

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