After a sterling first few days on sale, the Playstation Vita has seen very poor numbers shifted in the run up to Christmas and shortly afterwards, causing many analysts to predict the failure of Sony’s new handheld just weeks after its release.
It seems that a relatively high price for the console, games and accessories, along with competition from both the iPad/smartphone market and the renewed 3DS may have hit the Vita hard. Early indications seemed to indicate that sales figures were buoyant, and Sony had even ramped up production in order to meet pre-order demand.
After selling 325,000 units in its premiere 48 hours, Sony only managed to sell just over 72,000 in the following week. To put that into context, the 3DS sold 370,000 in its first full week, and 210,000 in its second. Also remember that the 3DS was seen as a sales failure until its price cut later in the year. Even the PSP sold more than the Vita in the week leading up to Christmas, which is a big worry for the future of the machine.
Of course this doom and gloom seems pretty premature considering the Vita has only been launched in one territory so far, but Nintendo have got even more of a head start in the west on an ever shrinking handheld gaming market, and the dual hitters of Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario Land 3D will have ensured that many households had a shiny dual screen machine under their tree this year.
It is certainly way too early to write off the Vita as a serious contender however, and it is still an impressive machine with a great deal of quality titles on the way. Its slow start in its home country is a worry however, and it remains to be seen whether an expensive gaming handheld is a worthy purchase for most people in these more austere times.