With this year’s E3 a matter of hours away, it seems like now might be a good time to take another look back at how the PS Vita has been selling in Japan up to this point. Why now?
We know that the PS Vita will be a significant, if not the most significant, part of Sony’s E3 presentation. Additionally, in Japan the PS Vita is widely expected to get a boost in June from the release of the white PS Vita and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Before those influences combine to affect the handheld console’s sales this does seem like the perfect moment to take stock. Our last examination of the numbers was triggered by the widespread headlines around the web calling attention to the fact that the PS Vita had suffered its worst ever week for unit sales in Japan.
In our own look at those same numbers we attempted to show that if you looked behind that factually correct headline you could see that the PS Vita’s numbers were down simply because the whole Japanese video games market was down. Proportionally the PS Vita was more or less holding onto its roughly 7% share of the weekly unit sales.
We have had seven more weeks of sales since then so has the situation changed? Here’s the unit sales for the five consoles that sell more than a couple of thousand units each week in Japan.
(Sales of the PS2, 360, DSi and DSi LL are not included in the figures used for this article to keep the dataset smaller. Their combined weekly sales are typically significantly less than the Wii records by itself so their absence makes a negligible difference.)
The magnitude of the 3DS’ holiday sales squeezes the other consoles together too much in the lower part of the graph so as we have done previously here are the same numbers with the y-axis capped at one hundred thousand units.
You can see that aside from a sales bump for all the consoles at the start of May, thanks to Japan’s annual ‘Golden Week’ holiday, overall numbers are still trending downwards. As it squabbles with the Wii at the bottom of the graph, is the PS Vita maintaining its market share though?
The answer is yes. Throughout March, April and May the PS Vita’s average share of the market has been 7.2%. It may have hit new weekly lows, falling to 6,340 unit sales in the week ending 13th May but that is just indicative of a falling market. Naturally, it would be much better for the PS Vita and Sony if its market share were growing.
Lastly, just for fun, here is the comparison of 3DS and PS Vita sales normalised to their respective launches, so it shows launch week sales for the 3DS against launch week sales for the PS Vita and so on for each handheld’s sales following their launches.
To show you something the y-axis is again capped, to fifty thousand this time. Look at the end of that graph. See how in it’s 24th week on sale the PS Vita has sold more units than the 3DS did in its own 24th week!
The reason of course is that 3DS sales fell off a cliff during that period of its sales following Nintendo’s announcement of a price cut. A few more weeks on the graph and you would see the big up-tick in the 3DS’ fortunes. Still a win is a win and the PS Vita needs all the good news it can get.
We will come back to these numbers in another month or so to have a look at what impact that white PS Vita, a re-release of Metal Gear Solid games and whatever Sony’s held back for E3 have on the PS Vita’s fortunes.