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All eyes on PlayStation Vita sales ahead of Western launch

Second week sales figures prompt speculation of a price cut

Sony's PlayStation Vita saw a 78 per cent drop in sales figures in its first two weeks, from 324,859 sold in week one to 72,479 in week two.

This allowed older consoles, the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo 3DS, to actually outsell the new machine in week two, with the 3DS hitting 482,200 sales and the PSP 101,121.

The handheld launched in Japan just before Christmas on December 17 and the figures came from researcher Media Create.

Sony Japan itself has refused to comment on any sales figures.

By comparison the Nintendo 3DS sold 374,764 in its launch weekend in Japan, while the Vita's predecessor, PSPgo, sold 166,074.

It's still early days for the machine in Japan, and the drop in sales could be attributed to both the high price, which is set at 24,000 yen, to the lack of a Monster Hunter launch title, a key franchise for the console in the Japanese market.

Some are now speculating that the sales will force a price cut for the machine.

Elsewhere in the industry developers and publishers have remained sceptical about the console's chances in a market dominated by mobile and tablet devices, with Dr Mike Capps of Epic Games the most recent.

"I'm not sure how well it's going to be accepted in our Western market which is primarily where our games sell," he said in an exclusive interview.

"It's a really cool platform, but I have a phone, and it's really hard to compete with that. So I'm not sure if it will be successful or not."

The Vita will launch in the UK on February 22, priced at round £230.

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Latest comments (19)

"This allowed older consoles, the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo 3DS, to actually outsell the new machine in week two, with the 3DS hitting 482,200 sales and the PSP 101,121. "

Actually, the 3DS outsold it in week#1 as well...

I'm a little surprised by the sales figures, especially given Xmas week - but maybe it does show how critical big-name games are to the success of a handheld/console. The 3DS has been picking up considerably, and now has 3 million sellers (in Japan).

Given that Sony always targetted this price for the PSV, and its relative cheapness (to the original PSP), I doubt there is much scope for a price cut.

The PSV also suffers from one issue that the PSPGo had: because software sales are split between retailer (reported), and digital (not reported), its going to be harder to have "chart success" - which in turn gives a perception that the console isn't doing that well software-wise. If I was Sony, I would publish a matching weekly chart, with sales units - which will allow chart companies to correctly adjust figures (if they want to).
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Nick Parker Consultant 7 years ago
A clash of demographics at this time of the year. First demographic is core gamers as early adopters and second are younger gift receivers at this time of the year for PSPs and 3DS. The early adopters swooped on Vita then gift purchases took over for PSP and 3DS. This difference in purchaser should prevent reporters from comparing the Vita with the 3DS as the two serve different markets despite them being handheld gaming devices. It's too early for a price drop on Vita until a study of the device with a stronger catalogue of titles can be made. I notice these reports are quoting two different Japanese sources, Enterbrain Famitsu for 1st week sales on the 20th Dec and Media Create for 2nd weeks sales today - please keep to one source for consistency.
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Rodney Smith Developer 7 years ago
I think with these figures its going to make a lot of people (including me) wait for the inevitable price drop before buying one.
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Show all comments (19)
Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University7 years ago
Two weeks is far too soon to suggest a price drop. If the machine struggles for a couple of months in Japan and the West, then Sony may be forced to move on price. This is a knee-jerk reaction.
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Andrew Richards CEO, Codeplay7 years ago
It's a great device, and the games are a big step beyond what you get on a smartphone. Not everyone has or wants an iPhone or high-end Android phones, for various reasons. They're not so great for people who talk a lot on the phone due to battery life. The Vita is an amazing entertainment device. It may be that there is a massive market for Vita, just not with the people who have high-end smartphones.
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Simon Lawrence Production Manager, SEGA Europe7 years ago
I've always been an early adopter of handheld. Got the Sega GameGear in its first week, got GBA on day one, DS on day one, PSP in first week. Other than the GG I've been screwed by Ninty or Sony releasing a new improved model within a short time frame. I'll be getting the Vita, but not until it's been out a good few months.

Dedicated console over smartphone every single time.
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Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales7 years ago
To quote from FireFly:

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal"

The haters are saying "Told you it would be a flop" just like they did for the 3DS. But the sooner Sony realise it is games that sell hardware - Nintendo are finally shipping titles that make it worth having a 3DS for example - the better. The stupid price of the memory stick, proprietary only to attempt to prevent piracy so legitimate users are paying a premium yet again, is also a major factor. An already expensive handheld is nearly 50% more than list price to have a useful system as all games are downloaded to the memory card...

Still think the haters will be right in this case. This is IMHO going to be a failure as the PSP was, with not just Anonymous out to break Sony, because I think that this console will probably get hacked rather quickly. Not condoning it, but the high price tag and protectionism is excuse enough to motivate the pirates.
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Ahmet Iscitürk Freelance journalist 7 years ago
I own several smartphones and tablets and that's why I don't need a new gaming handheld - at least that's what I thought two weeks ago. After spending a lot of time with my japanese PS Vita and Uncharted, I learn once more that there is a huge difference between mobile gaming and mobile gaming. Vita is a core gamers dream come true and I hope Sony and all the third parties will treat it that way.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
and that is not any week, that is the week when all the people who got money for Christmas cash it in. So either there is something terribly wrong with supply, or the Vita is an unmitigated disaster without an audience.
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Robert Hlozek President, Power Level Marketing7 years ago
Sony has a new problem on their hands too - articles like these labeling the Vita a bomb before its even released. They're showing up on Forbes, CNN, and plenty of other mainstream news sites. Sure it's getting praised on some gaming sites, but handhelds live and die by reaching out beyond the core gamers into the casual audience. Sony needs some serious spin very soon, otherwise it's going to have a very sad launch in the West.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard7 years ago
@Mike Reddy: Just so we're clear, we're calling the PSP, that has sales to date of around 70million units a failure? So I suppose that with sales not yet reaching the 60 million mark both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are failures too? If the PS Vita "fails" as much as the PSP, I'm sure Sony won't mind too much.
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Has anyone asked about the actual supply?
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
@Christopher Garratty
Look no further than the Vita lineup of your company and compare it to the iOS lineup. The lack of EA titles is not a vote of confidence.
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@Joshua: It was confirmed by several sources that hardware is available at most gaming stores in Japan. Its not a supply issue - they shipped 500k for launch, and have probably shipped more since then. But yes, its definitely too early for any "flop" statements.

The PSP actually took ages to take off in Japan - and it wasn't until Monster Hunter, that it had a real smash hit - and grew from there. But I also wonder if the PSV is going to be fighting the PSP... if people are more or less happy with the PSP, with a huge software library and cheap software...
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Private Industry 7 years ago
Its Christmas time, but we talk here about the Japanese market and christmas isnt such a big deal over there.

I dont think the Vita is expensive, what does apple charge for the iPhone or iPad with hardware thats less powerful?

Its too early to call it a flop and demand a price cut, unlike the 3DS at launch its not overpriced. The Vita launch lineup is strong, but its more geared towards the western market with Uncharted and so on.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard7 years ago
@Klaus: Firstly, you want me to compare the line-up of an operating system that works across a variety of devices that has been out for about four and a half years and has an install base of millions with that for a single device that has not even been released world wide yet? That is beyond silly.

Secondly, I have never considered EA to be a big player in the handheld console space. Nevertheless, launching a fully fledged FIFA game shows that EA has a willingness to support the platform with a flagship title.

Thirdly, I was only responding to Mike's assertion that the PSP itself was a failure, it clearly wasn't by any sensible measure beyond comparing it to the DS and saying anything less is a fail. I'm not sure why your comments were directed at me.

I'm not calling the Vita a success, it's way too early to call the Vita anything. Personally, I'm excited for it, I'll be getting one on day one, even though I know it'll drop in price eventually and I'll have a limited line up of titles to begin with. The same thing has happened with every console ever.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Werner, the week prior to Christmas is still Japan's largest shopping week by far. Golden Week isn't even is big nor is Coming of Age Day.
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Doug Paras7 years ago
The Vita with a 32gb Memory card will run somebody roughly $400, thats approximatly $230 more then the Current 3DS price and thats no game included.
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Tony Johns7 years ago
I would love the Vita and the 3DS to both succeed and survive in the market for the next 5 years.

Because without the handheld market, the only things left are the mobile phones and tablet devices that don't have traditional control buttons to make fighting games enjoyable and it will be even more harder to play Japanese RPGs without buttons.

So I really do hope that the handheld market survives for those who have not experienced the enjoyable handheld games yet.
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