updated 11:25 pm EST, Sun February 5, 2012
PS Vita on smooth track according to Sony
Sony in its results call Friday was confident that the PlayStation Vita was selling well so far. Having moved slightly more than 535,000 units in its first three weeks, according to Media Create data, company CFO Masaru Kato didn't see "any problems" with results so far. The comment came even after shipments had dipped to just over 18,000 in January and had been mostly steady since.
The company was trying promos both for hardware and software to keep demand up, Kato added. Performance was still much better than for the seven-year-old PSP, which had long since been trailing off even in its home country.
The relatively high minimum asking price for a Vita has been a major factor in a quick drop-off in sales after its December launch weekend in Japan. Some, however, have attributed the slightly disappointing sales to the absence of specific games. The Monster Hunter series, a blockbuster hit in Japan, didn't have a Vita edition ready for launch where Nintendo's 3DS was getting a variant at about the same time.
Its US launch will have a better time with games, where most of the 25 initial titles are recognizable and appeal directly to the Western audience. However, both Japan and the US are facing the rapid rises of smartphone and iPod gaming, the two of which may be dampening initial performance. Apple's iOS, and to a lesser extent Google's Android, have been cutting into handheld gaming revenue, both through hardware sales as well as the sheer volume of cheap but widely accessible games.
Nintendo was forced to cut the 3DS to $169 just a few months into its existence, a very rare drop for a company that prefers to keep prices static, after the original $249 price tag kept many either opting for cheaper DSi systems or skipping Nintendo entirely. Sony's console is much more powerful but, at the same $249, it may draw unfavorable comparisons from those looking either at absolute price or the long-term value versus a much more universal device. [via IndustryGamers]