In the week preceding Christmas, sales for the PlayStation Vita dropped while the 3DS saw a large increase. As mentioned in an earlier article, the Vita’s launch was mediocre at best. Media Create has revealed initial sales of 324,859 units for the Vita, indicating a failure to surpass the 3DS in launch sales. This is important because, as noted by both Mohammed Al Saadoon and myself, the 3DS launch has widely been considered a failure. Unfortunately for Sony, the PS Vita saw meager sales of 72,479 units. In comparison, the 3DS sold an impressive 482,200 units in the same week, a value 31% higher than the week before.
Also important to note is the software rankings for each system. The 3DS had Mario Kart 7, Super Mario Land 3D, and Monster Hunter Tri G all within the first four spots of the top ten. However, the Vita titles had fallen from the top ten after only a week, with the best-selling Vita title, Everybody’s Golf 6, placing thirty-seventh.
Analysis: Things are looking grim for the Vita. Christmas is hands-down a great time of year to release hardware. This allows hardware to present itself as “the next big thing” and therefore promising as a great potential gift. The low sales indicate either that only hardcore Sony fans bought the system, that all of the gift buyers bought it at release, or some combination of the two. In any case, it’s evident that the Vita has missed its chance to capitalize on this. This is further put into perspective by the sales numbers of the PSP, which managed to outnumber the Vita’s by about 25,000 units, selling a total of 101,121 units during that week.
The 3DS has appeared to recover from its weak market position and now seems to doing rather well. The system sold nearly 500,000 units right before Christmas and has already exceeded 4 million units worldwide. For a system that was at one time considered a failure by analysts, this is a great achievement. Over all, this isn’t too bad for the handheld. When you compare it to the original DS, you can see that the original had only sold about 2.65 million more units in the same span of time.
In conclusion, I expect the 3DS to begin gaining speed with its sales and the Vita to have a stronger North American launch. Hopefully, Sony will realize its mistakes by the time the portable makes its way to US shores. Nintendo had to own up to this before they experienced good sales and Sony would do well to realize this. The variety of hidden costs the Vita entails is becoming a detriment to its sales as well, and I’m sure the firmware issues did not help this matter.