Following the release of the most recent set of Japanese retail sales estimates from Media Create various sites have been running stories with head lines along the line of Lowest Weekly Sales Yet for PS Vita! There is no denying the PS Vita has recorded its lowest weekly sales yet but is that anything to worry about?
For roughly the last three months, once the holidays were out of the way, the sales pattern in Japan has settled down with the PS Vita normally occupying fourth spot in the chart behind the 3DS, PS3 and PSP respectively. There is the odd hiccup with the PS Vita beating out the PSP or the Wii overtaking the PS Vita for a week as popular software titles create a corresponding bump in hardware sales but the situation is pretty stable.
The vertical grid lines denote the months so the graph shows the end of December then January, February, March and the start of April. The 360, PS2 and the two DSi variants are not included as between them they normally only record around three to four thousand sales each week and just clutter the graph.
The 3DS’ high sales during the holidays squash the normal monthly sales marking them hard to read so here are the same numbers with the vertical scale changed to show only the first 100,000 sales.
On there it does become apparent that the green line showing the PS Vita’s weekly sales has dropped to a new low. What is also apparent however is that all the other lines dipped at the same time too.
Already it looks like the PS Vita might not have had a bad week it is simply that Japan bought fewer consoles across the board. With the exception of the 3DS all the consoles had their worst week for the period we are looking at.
The next question is whether the PS Vita recorded a poor week of sales in relation to the other consoles. In other words did its proportion of the total sales fall. Let’s have a look.
The red line on that graph is the combined weekly sales for the five consoles in the previous two graphs. You can see that that combined number is the worst yet this year. The key thing though is that the PS Vita has maintained its share (7.3% if you’re interested) of the combined number.
While the PS Vita is not growing its share of the hardware market neither is it falling in any dramatic fashion. The larger dips in its weekly share correspond to peaks in sales for either the PS3 or 3DS.
While on the subject of the 3DS it’s always fun to compare sales.
If Sony are to be concerned about any aspect of the PS Vita’s sales its that on the whole the from-launch sales curves for it and the 3DS look very similar. Before anyone gets too excited though remember that the 3DS had a February launch compared to the PS Vita’s December one. February, March and April are quiet months for console and game sales and on that graph the 3DS is already into June so it is comparing sales at different times of the year and we would expect sales to be starting to pick up.
That peak at the end of the 3DS’ line makes an important point though. That’s the week that Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D launched in Japan. Software is undoubtedly the key to hardware sales once the initial excitement about a shiny new toy with blue LEDs has worn off. The PS Vita had a spectacular launch line-up of titles but it desperately needs a second wave of system-selling games.
I for one think it unlikely that Sony will panic over PS Vita sales like Nintendo did when the 3DS failed to perform at retail last summer. I doubt we will see a price drop announced before gamescom 2012 in mid-august where I suspect Sony will announce price drops for both PS Vita and PS3.
My biggest concern for the PS Vita is that if Sony does intend to release the successor to the PS3 (and as an aside I would be very surprised if they call it the PS4) that Sony’s developer studios will be switching focus to that new platform already much the same as happened with the PSP releasing the year before the PS3.
The PS Vita also needs memory cards with higher capacities and soon. Where are the 32GB cards for Europe? Why are there no 64GB cards anywhere? As our cards fill up and we start having to juggle their contents every time we want to download something new we are all going to be less inclined to make all those impulse purchases aren’t we?
Source: Media Create