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PS Vita Sales Nosedive As 3DS Sees Record Week
PS Vita Sales Nosedive As 3DS Sees Record Week
December 28, 2011 | By Eric Caoili, Frank Cifaldi

While 3DSes continue to fly off the shelves in Japan, Sony's newly-launched PS Vita saw its sales decline dramatically in its second week on shelves.

In all, the company sold just 72,479 units during the crucial Christmas week ending December 25, a historically low number for a console's second week on shelves and a nearly 78 percent drop from the units sold in its debut.

Supply constraints do not appear to be at issue here, as the system's life-to-date sales of around 397,338 units falls well below its initial shipment of 500,000 units.

It should be noted that the Vita is available in two models, a WiFi-only version (¥24,980/$320) and a more expensive model that adds 3G connectivity for a higher price tag (¥29,980/$385) and a monthly connectivity charge. Sony's shipment estimates do not break down the unit's numbers by SKU, nor does Media Create's sales data, so it is unknown if consumer demand for one model versus the other may be contributing to its overall sales.

At 72,479, the system was outsold by not only Nintendo's 3DS, but by the Vita's predecessor, PSP, as well as by Wii and PlayStation 3.

When 3DS launched in Japan in late February for around the same price as PS Vita's WiFi model, it sold 374,764 systems during its launch weekend. By comparison second-week sales dropped by less than 45 percent to 209,623.

Nintendo's portable, which has outsold all other consoles every week since its 40 percent price cut in August, pushed 482,200 units last week -- less than the 510,000 initially reported by Famitsu publisher Enterbrain but still a record high for the system.

That brings the number of 3DSes purchased since its launch to more than 4 million. Its sales have jumped in recent weeks thanks in part to a particularly strong software slate for the holiday that includes Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and Capcom's Monster Hunter 3G.

PSP was the second top-selling console last week despite having only one title that sold significantly last week (Bandai Namco Games' Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable). The PS Vita predecessor moved 101,121 units, up week-over-week from 64,468.

Below are the full sales rankings provided by Media Create and translated by NeoGAF for the week ending December 25, 2011 (The second chart lumps together sales of all models in a given line of hardware.).

LWTWPlatformWeekly SalesLast Week

LWTWPlatformWeekly SalesLast Week
56Dsi XL/LL8,4705,600
78Xbox 3604,2453,584
910DS Lite3232

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E McNeill
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Wow. Ouch. I wonder if there's any chance of a 3DS-like price drop.

John Polson
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Roll out a new Monster Hunter or something on the Vita, and BAM! I'm not surprised that most of the software that would make for a great US/EU launch did not make for a great Japanese launch.

I'm very much over touchscreen games with virtual controls, so I look forward to the Vita's blend of inputs.

Price could be a factor. A $250 handheld with 30-99$ SD card purchase seems a little suicidal, when there is so much tech for under $200.

Fiore Iantosca
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Your last paragraph is the obvious reason why the Vita won't do well, IMO.

Payton Gauldin
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After almost 2 years of gaming on an iPhone, I completely agree with you. I can't stand virtual controls and I'm looking forward to the Vita also. Touch has it's place but not for platformers, FPS, and anything else that's not Angry Birds/Slingo/Bejeweled.

I'm intrigued by the Vita's blend of physical controls and a touch interface. Plus a whole lot more.

Luis Guimaraes
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Touch does have it's place in platformers, FPS, and anything else. If it's been well implemented so far, is a whole new story.

Russell Carroll
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"The DS FPS games that used touch were painful on my hands. "

I agree with this point as well and think it spells doom for the Kid Icarus reboot unless Nintendo decides to make it use the optional circle pad.

I'd also add that the Stylus controlled DS Zelda's were hampered greatly by the stylus control.

Touch is great for some things, don't get me wrong, but not for a lot of the types of games I enjoy :). Which is why every time I see an analyst say "Mario on the iPhone would be a killer" I scoff and say, yeah, it would kill off the Mario franchise! Mario + touch screen does not equal platforming bliss.

Laina Lain
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Vita got outsold by PSP too. I don't even know how they could come back from that.

Marvel Sutantio
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For those who have PSP UMDs (old PSP users), they have to use the UMD Passport to get a password so they can download the game they already own on the PS Vita for a small fee (100-1000+ yen). A safe, almost piracy-free procedure, albeit a complicated one at that.

PSP games on the Vita are only available through download from PSN, and they are still worth pretty much the same as when they were released. If you go to a bargain bin or second hand stores, you can get those games a LOT cheaper. The PSP itself is a lot cheaper and has thousands of games available. Making the choice between PSP & Vita pretty clear for some people.

Harry Fields
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It's all about the price... period.

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Timothy Barton
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I agree with Harry on this one. I think it is a great handheld, and very powerful, but sheesh. These days you can buy a laptop for that money.

Joseph Garrahan
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The vita seems a bit outdated without a 3D screen, I hope it sells better, to keep nintendo on their toes...

john stark
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Looking at how few 3DS users really use 3D on their 3DS and how few games essentially utilize 3D to enhance gameplay experience I dont think thats a (big) point.

The PSVs price is too high, especially adding the cost for a inevitable memory card (even the smallest). Its around 300 bucks without games for the Wi-Fi version.

3DS costs the half and offers a small but decent catalogue of games. I think thats where the consumers handheld itch is taken care of.

Joseph Garrahan
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oh yeah, 3DS' main selling point doesn't matter....riiiiight. Anyways, recent games make it difficult to play without 3d due to perpective tricks. Check out mario and pushmo.

The vita will have cool games eventually and thats when competition will heat up.

Patrick Davis
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Do you have any proof to back this up John? Just because a few very outspoken people yell that they don't use the 3D on the 3DS doesn't mean everyone doesn't.

Rey Samonte
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If I'm not mistaken, it wasn't too long ago that Nintendo mentioned that the 3D feature of the 3DS will not be the main focus point? I believe Iwata stated that perhaps they should focus on the other features of the 3DS?

So if the "other" features are to be focused on instead of 3D, that doesn't say a whole lot for 3D imo.

john stark
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@Joseph Garrahan : Right now I see 3D rather as a major marketing point for Nintendo to mark out the 3DSs difference from old DS and competitors like Vita or Cell Phones/Tablets than a major selling point that drives customers towards the 3DS.

Firsthand I see fellow gamers, friends and collegues, children in my neighbourhood and so on and most of them dont use 3D, for several reasons. Some complain about battery life cut down, others feel strained and most just dont see the need or benefit to turn on 3D. Also statements like the one Ray Semonte has citied further down or the general customer/gamer echo in forums around the world make me doubt the actual importance of the 3D feature once the 3DS arrives in customers hands.

I personally love the 3D effect and always turn it on. And I 100% agree with you that Mario 3D Land utilizes 3D in a great way. Pushmo I havent checked out yet but I surely will and I do not doubt that there will be many more great games to make 3D an integral gameplay enhancement.

I dont think 3DS fares better than the PSV in the moment because of the PSVs lack of 3D, I bet its the PSVs hight price tag and the 3DS very strong software lineup and its low price. Nontheless I will buy a Vita too : )

B Reg
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It's all about the games, and I have the feeling Sony is more focussed on the western market with Uncharted being the only mayor franchise for the Vita at the moment. A single Monster Hunter or Final Fantasy game could easily bring the Vita back to the frontline.

Joe McGinn
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That's not the case Bauke ... the Vita is in fact specifically designed for the Japanese market. There was a massive internal battle in Sony over whether the Vita should be a phone (basically all of Sony outside of Japan felt they needed this to compete with iPhone) and the Japanese faction that felt it should be a dedicated game console. Japan won. So the sales numbers being poor so soon in Japan must be a bitter disappointment for Sony. How the Vita does in Japan is Sony's best-case scenario.

Eric Geer
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Do we need to go through the motions again? The Vita won't sell well until the must have software has hit the shelves.....and right now it's just not there. When it is...expect it to sell.

Eric Geer
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Army Corps of Hell, Escape Plan, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Little Deviants, ModNation Racers: Road Trip, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and wipEout 2048

FIFA Soccer, Lumines Electronic Symphony, Touch My Katamari, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Michael Jackson: The Experience, Plants vs. Zombies, and Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition.

None of these games seem to be "must buys" for a broad range of people---They all seem very specific the stereotypical gamer types.

I would say that once Little Big Planet and Modnation racer hits--there will be more interest across the board and large increase in sales. And as much as I say this, Call of Duty that has been announced it will be a game that sells the system(at least in the US) People will love to have CoD on the run.

Fiore Iantosca
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CoD will NOT sell the PSV.

Christian said it best, it's a MP home console game

Casey Williams
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I'm surprised no one has said anything positive about the 3DS' 3D yet. I absolutely love it. I've only had the thing for a few days, but I don't see the novelty wearing off any time soon. I loved the Viewmaster as a kid, as well as holograms and stereopticons, so despite low expectations I knew I'd be getting one eventually. For me it just works. Nano Assault felt like a truly new experience, and Street Fighter IV looked like you could reach in and pluck your fighter out of it at times. I put a couple hours into Ben 10 Galactic Racing (a game I didn't expect to ever play) and just when I'd start taking the 3D for granted I would hit a jump or descend a hill and have to marvel at the effectiveness of the otherwise unremarkable graphics.