PS Vita hardware sales have sunk to a new low in Japan -- the handheld's weekly sales dropped below 5,000 units for the first time since launching there 11 months ago.
Sony sold 4,842 of the systems last week in Japan, according to Media Create. Comparing that number to other portables, for every PS Vita sold during that period, Sony moved nearly three more PSPs, and Nintendo pushed almost 20 more 3DSes (Nintendo debuted a new color model and hardware bundle last week).
The handheld has struggled in its first year on the market to sell significant units in any of the major territories. Sony has slashed its forecast for PSP and PS Vita hardware sales this fiscal year twice -- first from 16 million to 12 million, and then to 10 million as of last week.
Sony has acknowledged the problems it's had building up momentum for PS Vita, and previously told Gamasutra that "this back half of the year, the holiday season, is really where Vita will make its mark." The company expects the system will have a considerably larger install base by the end of the year.
But the PS Vita has few noteworthy titles releasing in Japan during the remainder of 2012. Its slate promises Western titles ike Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, but hardly any likely hits designed to appeal to the Japanese market.
Along with blaming PS Vita's perceived lack of must-have games, many have attributed the system's poor performance to its expensive pricing -- the cheapest model costs ¥24,980 in Japan and $250 in the U.S. Sony has said it will not reduce PS Vita's pricing in 2012.
So far, first-year PS Vita hardware sales are tracking behind not only the PSP, GameCube, and PlayStation 3, but also the last console Sega put out before it exited the hardware business, Dreamcast. Sales for the 3DS XL model, which debuted in late July, have exceeded PS Vita's full-year sales by nearly 300,000.