PS Vita’s Worst Week Hits Japan – Should We Be Worried?

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.

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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

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35 Comments

  1. Bless Greg and his love of graphs :)

  2. I love graphs

    • I used to love graphs… before i started working with them.

      Now they make me physically sick. I only got down here because i closed my eyes & scrolled!

      • making graphs is a whole different beast :P

  3. price drop should fix, E3 announcement of price drop & we onto something.

    I just need games for my vita right now its lacking in games

    • Agreed.

    • Wow you finished all those 30 games already :)

      But yes just like 3DS after the initial games it dropped off for ages so hopefully Resistance and Gravity Rush fill the void.

  4. Looks grim for Sony, a combination of bad publicity with impending job losses, still not being able to post a profit across the board, PSN down week in week out.
    Even the PSP which isnt supported anymore is selling better than the all singing all dancing Vita.
    Personally i think the games industry needs some new players, i remember a lul back in the old days of the back end of the 16 bit era, playstaion came along and shook the whole industry up with a £500 machine, and that was way back in the early 90’s!
    Sony may become the new Sega….

    • The PSP is still well supported in Japan which is a significant contributing factor to its ongoing popularity. The new Super Robot Wars title from Namco topped the latest software charts selling 265k copies for example.

      • Fantastic sales i will agree, but Mario 3DS smashed that by around 80k in 4 days. If Super Robot Wars also tops 5 million units I would eat my hat. Maybe they should have made a Vita version instead?

      • The number of software sales aren’t the issue. The fact that the PSP is still supported is. That’s the correction to your original statement.

  5. I personally don’t think the Vita is overpriced, proven by me as I write this to you on my brand spanking new one. What it needs is some new big hitter games like a Monster Hunter game, some JRPGs and that would do it. The current lineup of games is very western-centered, as was the early launch titles.

    • on the contrary, i want more “western” titles, as i felt the japanese centered PSP games were woeful.

      sadly, there’s hardly any games at all yet and my Vita’s gathering dust!

      • I’d like more western games aswell, but this is how I belive the Vita can gain popularity in Japan. To be fair I can’t understand how yours can be gathering dust with all it’s features and games if you look at minis and psp titles aswell. All consoles have a “dry” period after launch, it will pick up, don’t worry. :-)

    • two words, REMOTE PLAY

  6. Haven’t touched my Vita in the last 2-3 weeks. I just don’t have the time to sit down and play these days. I’m even struggling to find some time to play on my PS3. I hope this changes when June comes around. Three weeks of vacation in the States which means the Vita will get some exclusive play time while the PS3 collects dust back in Germany.
    I do hope the sales pick up at some point or else we probably won’t see that many game releases in the future.

    • This is actually pretty funny if you replace all instances of ‘Vita’ with ‘Penis’.

      Or is that just my mind of a 10 year old??

  7. Vita is in desperate need of a price drop over here, it’s pretty much dead. No-one is talking about it any more, not even people on twitter, where for the first couple of weeks, my feed was full of Vita praise. And that’s for people that I consider to be ‘hardcore gamers’, none of my friends IRL have a Vita, barely any of them have even heard of it.

    • Buzz has gone… the people drawn in by the big budget games have bought one & everyone else doesn’t see anything to bring them to the platform.

      In the East, Sony’s sole strategy appears to be little more than waiting & hoping for the Monster Hunter effect, should it ever be released for it.
      In the West it’s all about levering existing franchises, but if ever declining sales on the home consoles are anything to go about, fewer & fewer people care about these as time goes on.

      I think an August price-cut so it’s got a chance of bedding into the market in Sept so it can hit the ground running in Oct-Dec is a must. Problem is that it drops even further off the radar whilst we wait for that time of year to come around.

      • if you look at the Japan chart the PSP is on fire it has its last games coming then they will be Vita games the chart will change.

      • pretty much nailed it there CC, noone i speak to is considering a Vita purchase, there seems to be a lack of the high level marketing needed to create such a buzz – take Kinect for example, i know its not as good as its portrayed, heck even my mother knows it isnt that good but the constant high quality adverts for it look great and create that magical buzz for its audience.
        I think E3 is critical for the Vita, it MUST get hype there or she`ll be in deep trouble come the end of the year.

      • Good point

        Kinect is a great concept that it doesn’t live up to (on console at least) but has created great buzz and sales seem to be phenomenal.

        Vita essentially does live up to its great concept & isn’t breaking sales records any time soon.

        The difference? Buzz

      • Sony’s marketing department has always been their achilles heel, Kevin Butler was their best campaign, but their Vita advertising has been pitiful. As you say, it’s all about the buzz.

  8. I would like some games….. please….

    I have uncharted, Escape plan, Motorstorm and Hustlekings. Nothing else (even fifa and wipeout) have taken my fancy and my machine is getting neglected! If they would hurry up and sort out the PS1 compatibility I would be a little bit more happy.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what E3 reveals for the Vita

    • Some PSN price drops would be nice. Open up the backwards/crossplay catalogue a bit more.

      If they take take a bit on the chin with software, the hardware sales would gain momentum IMO.

      They’ve already made their money on older software titles so why not give out some goodies?

      Give me a GTA PSP title for a fiver, I’m in.

      Flow, Flower, Limbo, EchoChrome,Locoroco, Papaton all could be easily discounted or FOC. If they made the discounts Ps+ exclusive that could ramp up the + subscriptions too…..

  9. The Vita needs a huge injection of smaller titles plus a price that makes it more palatable. When it comes down to it, it’s an expensive console and is hard to justify compared to the likes of an iPhone (or the like) as they’re often paid for monthly.

  10. Even a dead cat bounces, so there’s still hope.

    Although maybe more of an impact in Western markets I personally think it’s missing buzz, something a vibrant PSSuite development community making a range of games & even a few apps would bring to the table.

    Yes they’d be compatible with other Sony devices too, but it’s about buzz & as the premier device the Vita would be the primary beneficiary, but Sony being Sony… they dropped the ball and are slow to pick it up.

    • To me, Sony has always operated with this air of “we don’t really pay much attention to what goes on in the real world” and I’m concerned that the Vita is going to suffer with the same logic (or lack thereof). I know their hands are tied but still… come on Sony! Sell a kidney and subsidise it! :-)

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