Wow, it really is not the best time to be launching a new handheld games console. After suffering early sales woes with the 3DS console, Nintendo were forced to rapidly cut the price of the console at an unprecedented rate. Now it seems Sony may have to follow suit with their brand new Vita console, which has failed to match even the paltry early sales of Nintendo’s latest machine.
Currently available in Japan only, the Vita managed to sell just 72,479 units in its first full week on the market (December 19th through December 25th) after getting off to a decent start with 325,000 sales in its first 48 hours (December 17th and 18th).
However, the 3DS managed 370,000 units in Japan in its first week, and 210,000 units in its second, beating the PlayStation Vita by 45,000 units in its first seven days, and a massive 137,500 units in its second week.
It puts Sony in a very precarious position, considering the 3DS sales are finally beginning to pick up, meaning they too may have to drastically cut the cost of their console.
“The upcoming US launch could be a true debacle for several reasons,” said Forbes‘ Tero Kuittinen.
“Sony has decided to price Vita at $250, higher than the Amazon Kindle Fire. The hottest games like the latest Uncharted are priced at $50, while many other major titles are $40. The pricing seems delusional in light of the Japanese response to the PS Vita.
“The 3DS should have been a surefire blockbuster in its domestic market — the summer softness in Japan may have been an early warning sign of the coming global portable market malaise. The disastrous second week of the PS Vita is the second sign.”
Kuittinen points the blame towards smartphone and tablet gaming, which are quickly becoming the driving forces in portable gaming:
“The true test of the industry is the United States, where consumers are embracing games designed for smartphones and tablets. The possible shrinking of the portable game consumer base would hit the runner-up Sony before Nintendo really gets mauled. The rot sets in first at the periphery.”
Is handheld gaming really starting to rot on dedicated devices? Will you still be picking up a PS Vita? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and via our twitter feed @techdigestnews.
By Gerald Lynch | January 3rd, 2012