updated 07:55 am EST, Thu December 15, 2011
PS Vita Japan launch already spoken for
Sony on Thursday said that it had sold out of the PlayStation Vita in Japanese pre-orders. Not due to go on sale until Saturday, the handheld game system triggered lines that saw its initial batch spoken for. It did have a significant amount of time to sell stock, having started pre-orders on October 15.
The run may be a sign of a return to health for Sony's mobile gaming prospects, both once the Vita launches fully in Japan and once it arrives in the US in mid-February. Sony had already been struggling for years to compete with the PSP against the Nintendo DS line but took an even deeper hit after iOS and later Android cut into gaming revenue as their much less expensive games, and much more frequent hardware update cycles gave them the upper hand.
In launching the Vita, Sony is hoping to at least temporarily stay ahead of the curve in mobile gaming. It has one of the first shipping quad-core mobile processors and is nearly as powerful as a PlayStation 3. A five-inch OLED touchscreen, and the option of 3G also help it serve as a mobile communicator where the PSP's roles elsewhere were limited.
At $250 for a Wi-Fi version, it may still face trouble for costing more than an iPod touch without the same app ecosystem or even similar built-in space. Sony is counting on the console-level quality of the games, such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Wipeout 2048, to get users buying in.