The PlayStation Vita may be a great portable gaming device, but when it comes to sales the handheld wonder has been a tragic flop. Mark Butler explores the reasons behind the disappointing commercial performance of Sony’s impressive platform.
On trying to get non-Sony players involved, they have utterly failed. They are billing the attractiveness of the Vita on spin off exclusive games from the PS3 franchises like Uncharted and Killzone, but as someone who has never owned a Sony console, these just do not interest me. I am sure they are good, but for me they just dont make a compelling case for me to buy a Vita over a DS.
I definitely think that's been part of the problem. Very few Xbox360 players and PC gamers that I now ended up getting a Vita. The initial third party line-up wasn't really strong enough to entice them - and the kind of Sony exclusives on offer, while good games, were spinoffs from series they actually weren't that interested in.
... and maybe most gamers will already have consoles at home, with different but superior versions of Uncharted and Killzone for them. I think a handheld should have a good combination of games specifically designed for the device, as well as 'ports'. Perhaps right now that's still kind of missing!? Also, I'm guessing many gamers now have phones that can play games, so why spend 20-30 bucks on a PSV game when they can buy simular games for iOS or Android for a couple of dollars!?
Surely calling it a dismal failure is a bit much? I still remain optimistic for the handheld; it feels like early days but if Sony don't get their backsides in gear, we will have a repeat of the PSP. Its a shame though, because there is so much potential for the VITA to be great.
@Septic - There's nothing shameful about the PSVita. The only shame goes to people who don't own one.
@Ruby: Really? Shame on people for not buying a Vita? Why a shame? How about shame on Sony for the high price? How about shame on Sony for not bundling a memory card sooner (not that a 4gb card is acceptable anyway) Do you really think Sony will care about those who purchased a Vita if they drop the platform next year?
I am convinced Assasins Creed Liberation will be one of the top selling Vita games. We'll see how your theory will hold up then. If anything, in my opinion, it's simply the lack of those block buster games which is the reason this thing isn't selling. KZ Mercenaries is another hopeful.
I was planning on getting either a WiiU, or Vita for Christmas, but after researching the games, I realize, since I have all the current gen consoles, there's really no reason to get either one. The WiiU seems slightly more tempting, because of Nintendoland, but my friends never come to my house anyway. The Vita has a bunch of spin offs PSN, and Japanese games, not only now, but in the near future. Not only that, but they haven't really created a game that takes advantage of the features particularly that rear touchscreen which no other console has, and would seperate it from everything else. I could think of a game that take's advantage of it, but obviously Sony can't. I've looked at the current games and upcoming games and I'll most likely stick with my current consoles, with a slight slight chance of going for the WiiU.
Wow, you've NEVER owned a Sony console??? I feel sorry for you
I love how in Feb when analysts said the Vita would sell 12 million in FY2012 and generate 2 billion, this was generally viewed as a good thing but those numbers were conditional on the Vita receiving a price cut. No one had an issue with these numbers. After a slow year for everyone, Sony lowers their forecast for the PSP and Vita to 12 million, estimating 10 million Vita's sold by the end of their fiscal year with no price cut in sight and despite being happy with those figures it's viewed by these bloggers as a "commercial" failure. Really? You've seen the software numbers? You've seen the revenue generated by the Vita? So even thought the Vita sales are considered adequate by analysts and Sony, even though it's generally considered a great value at $250 - they're really a failure and the Vita's doomed according to bloggers. And of course, if enough bloggers say the Vita is doomed, it's bound to be true, right? Just like the PSP. Here's a fun exercise. The PSP has sold somewhat similarly to the GameBoy Advance. The PSP sits around 71-72 million after being on the market for 7 years, the GBA hit about 80 million in 8 years. Do a google search for "Why the PSP failed" and "Why the GameBoy Advance failed." Or try "Slow PSP sales" and "Slow Gameboy Advance sales" Huh. Would you look at that. PSP is apparently an abject failure, but not a single article complaining about the failure of the GameBoy Advance. Considering how closely they were matched in sales, you'd think one person would have seen the GBA as selling poorly. I'm certainly not going to claim there's a media bias against Sony, or that Nintendo or Microsoft don't get their share of bad press, but you've got to admit, this is starting to resemble the boy who cried wolf, except instead of "wolf" it's bloggers and games sites crying "Doom" with most things Sony related.
Wow I learned a lot from your post. The video game industry is quite a ridiculous and odd atmosphere with folks who are wooed easily by whatever they read. It's good to know that there are some people still using their brains these days.
I would be astounded if the Vita ever reaches the kind of sales total that the PSP and the GBA have amassed. It's sitting at just over 2 million as of the end of June. By anyone's estimation, that's a huge commercial disappointment - especially when you consider the much greater comparative sales of the 3DS, and even the PSP, in the same amount of time. This is one case where it really isn't the boy crying wolf. The Vita, sales-wise, has flopped. I really don't see how that's in dispute.
I knew vita would be a flop second I heard about it. You can vote me down all you want, but you know it's true. It has no games, they are banking on old PSone classics to make it sell? really Sony??
Just go to a gamestop, best buy or borrow one from a friend (if they'll let you) and try one then. You'll be compelled.
Memory card prices need to be cut. It has nothing to do with the games cause the Vita got them.
Yes, and this too. First, it needs at least 16GB internal storage, and second there should be a 128GB option for about $50. This is an online platform; I don't like the games on cards. I usually prefer buying them online. Who wants to carry around crap with a mobile platform?
Sony should have put internal storage.
The new version of the Vita will have internal storage. Which will also give Sony a reason to keep the price the same or charge more for different models carrying more or less storage. Future-proof.
My only problem with my Vita is there isn't enough JRPG's.I have a load of PSP JRPGs on it(I just got Final Fantasy 3 yesterday)but some Vita ones with trophies would be cool.I still hope Square Enix upgrades FFType0 for Vita.A Vita Resident Evil,like the 3DS one would be cool too.
Hardware is not next get, software is last gen
It is a handheld, and Uncharted GA looks very good. The new AC on it looks amazing to. I think the main problem is that it is at the same price point as the ps3. What would you prefer? I love the VITA, and hope that it sells more. Lots of Sony products start of slow then sell rapidly. I also love the fact that the games on it are significantly cheaper than on home consoles.
@ SoldierX The article is about the Vita, not the 3DS.
First of all, nice one Grenade. Second of all... People don't realize how supremely magnificent the PSVita hardware is. Never to this day would I have dreamed to play PS1/PS2/PS3 quality games on a FREAKING HANDHELD! Even if you don't own one, you have to atleast praise the Sony PSV development team and engineers to manufacturing an incredible device that's capable of infinity and beyond. Never will you see a handheld device, whether it be your 3DS or phone capable of running a game like Wipeout 2048, Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, or LBP Vita, and having console graphics and button inputs that would truly make an all round gaming console experience. The PSVita does it all, and time will punch the people in the face for not being early adopters. And don't give me the 'no game' argument. There are tons of superb games out now and to be released in the near future for the PSVita. I for one am bombarded with so many games and so little time to play them!
I've sunk a ton of time into MGS2 and am not even close to being done yet. Games I own but have not touched: Gravity Daze (only played a bit) Unit 13 (same as above) Sumioni Games I want but have no time to play: LBP Vita Escape Plan Sound Shapes Games I have pre-ordered but have no time to play: Assassin's Creed III Liberation
I'm getting one within the next couple of months. It should pick up in the holidays and as more (big) games come out for it not to mention a price cut which even 3DS needed a huge one. PS3 and psp (I think) had relatively rocky starts too - Vita should be fine.
yeah, 2.5 million sales in over 3/4 of a year since launching.. That's not a rocky start, that's a disaster for any dev looking to bring their games over to the system. With an install base of 10% of the 3DS, why would a developer not want to put their game on the 3DS where they could get 10X the amount of sales potentially?
My gripe is there is just nothing on the system that I feel I need. I will get one, one day. I am a huge Sony fan, but Uncharted and Little Big Planet just aren't enough yet to make me want the system. A Final Fantasy game (lets face it, they are still good on handhelds), God of War, GTA, Metal Gear and possibly a Resident Evil game that rivals the one on the 3DS would instantly make this system a must have for me.
If LBPVita isn't good enough to buy a Vita then I'd suggest you go out and buy a 3DS. So many people are going to look so stupid in two years time. I won't let them forget as I'm sure other Vita owners won't either. Edit: Let me put it this way then: If the huge library of games isn't good enough to warrant a Vita, then stick with you 3DS. I don't think you realise how astonished some Vita owners are at the claims it has no games. It's just unbelievable that the press have managed to convince people of this. It's always the same too. You list about ten different games and unfortunately none of them are the type of games that person wants. You tell them that there's cross play and cross buy and they want exclusives. You tell them about the exclusives and they want 'more' cross play and cross buy to justify their purchase. You tell them that there is a huge library of PSP and PS1 games but suddenly they don't want them, when before it was the lack of them that 'supposedly' put them off buying the Vita. It goes on and on and the truth is that articles like this are published for fans from the other camp. They're not serious journalism. Those people that claim they would buy a Vita 'if...' are just using that as a way of claiming the Vita is lacking.
£200+ to play LBP vita is simply not worth it when I have LBP2 and a PS3. I will never buy a whole system for 1 single game. I will wait until the library is better. And FYI I already own a 3DS. Sure the library isn't anything special on that system either, but it was a birthday gift off my girlfriend so I'm not complaining.
so in 2 years time when what, 5 million people own Vita's the 3DS will have an install base of what, 50 million?
Oh I keep forgetting it's about the race not the games. Graphics don't matter either, eh? Unless of course Nintendo do offer better graphics! Then it's EVERTHING.
@gribblegrunger I totally agree with you. When i read comments and articles like this, I always see the same complaints and whining. Sony may not be good at marketing their games or maybe pricing their consoles for the mass market, but What Sony does better than any other gaming companies is providing exclusive and original IPS to their consoles. Little big planet may not be as popular as Super Mario bros. but most consumers who plays LBP and SOny games are older than 15 of age. Why the 3DS do so well? because its marketed at a younger audience and to people who cant let go of their childhood memories.
I agree 100% it's quite depressing. I don't understand people who say 'I already have LBP 2 on my PS3, so I don't need it on my Vita.' By their logic they shouldn't have even bought LBP 2 in the first place, since LBP 1 was sufficient... the same can go to ANY number of games with sequels. LittleBigPlanet Vita is so much more than LBP 2 and people don't seem to realize it, besides it's not the only game so why would you just waste 200+ on one game alone? Flawed logic.
Its the name. It should of stayed NGP. Vita shells and cheese.
should've been PSP2. Then people will know what the hell it is instead of wondering what a "veetuh" is when you speak to them.
Price. PS Vita (Wifi).... $250 + Memory card = Roughly $300 before you even buy a game. 3DS.... 170 + taxes before you even buy a game. A $100 difference between the two. Remember when the 3DS was $250 and nobody bought it? The Vita is more expensive than that and they are dealing with Nintendo having the pricing edge on them. How hard is it to comprehend this? It's not Sony or the PS brand or any other stupid article that people seem to make up. It's these issues that I listed above.
Plus: 3DS is 100% backwards compatible with DS games. 3DS uses standard SD cards that you can buy CHEAP.
Good point here, even though I love my Vita they shouls have used at least micro SD instead of a net format. The 3DS does a poor job at presenting DS games though, they look horrible and if you use that trick to get them back to original res then the screens are tiny.
Exactly, the 3DS was nearly in a similar situation before the price drop and what's really funny is back then when the 3DS was at $249, the complaint is about the lack of games for the first few months and not the price tag. People have short term memories. But the other problem is Sony really failed to make a proper transition from the PSP to the PSV. Not tech wise but game wise. I mean, in Japan the biggest market of handhelds still strongly supports the PSP because new games are still being made for it and most of those games are not available to the PSV. And some of those PSP games actually have a western market which could be a great opportunity to have them localized and available for the PSV (even if its only by DLC) I mean the PSP is considered dead outside Japan. So why not take the opportunity to port those? It would be less expensive to do so, while we wait for more original IPs and it will expand the PSV library. What I do agree upon however, is the price of the memory card. Sony should bring out bigger versions of it and drop the prices on them and then make the 4GB card free for every PSV purchase. Let them buy the bigger cards as an option. You have to entice the consumer and telling them to buy a memory card on the get go, when its vital part of the device is not exactly helping sell things.
Sony doesn't have any cool exclusives anymore
I bet you fall down a lot when you walk. Sony exclusives are up there with the best.
3DS needed a price cut. Vita does as well, too much competition these days, from phones to tablets. Has to be in the right price range. But the tech itself is awesome. And it has some very good games, and many coming. If i were SONY i'd advertise the hell out of Assassins creed liberation.
Agreed, If they would just announce an official price cut of any amount it would raise interest, even though I see them selling £50 (that's $80 equivalent) cheaper than they did in February but people just don't know about it.
I still miss those "Vita's sales will crush 3DS'" comments from before Vita was released...
It's because of the software.Nintendo is already known in the handheld market and games like Mario are loved by the casual/hardcore crowd..PSV needs exclusives and not ports of PS3 games that must already own.
coz sony is sinkin? (is just a question)
Sony has abandoned the PS Vita
The Vita is a nightmare for Sony. The reasons in these comments alone are enough to worry. Some things mentioned: - Smartphones - price - competition - name / brand - no games - SD cards / prices for SD Cards - no value And it is the combination of all those. That is the point.
It seems to me that Sony still hasn't learned how to treat their customers or how to create a pleasant user experience. It's a no-brainer that all PSP and PSOne content should be playable on Vita but it isnt. There's no excuse for that. All PS2 classics should work too. Remote Play should be a functional option for every single game and feature that the PS3 offers but that will never happen for reasons I simply cannot understand. Some inevitable performance issues would be acceptable. Inability to use it at all is not. Cross-buy should have been a mandated policy in regard to all cross-platform software from day one, even if at a slightly higher cost, like universal apps on the app store. The cross-controller feature should be usable as a basic controller and/or microphone in all cases, even where the screen doesn't necessarily add anything to the experience. Because, why not? People want flexibility with storage capacity and pricing, as well as 3G service where applicable. That is not the case and is simply anti-consumer. These are all obvious and basic things that Sony just cannot get its head around and continue to contribute to their rapid decline.
Maybe you should work for all the game companies and write the codes for the games and work out the legistics since its so easy....
The decisions are easy. If Sony can't make it happen with all their resources, they're in the wrong game. The world of technology has changed and past them by. They either need to shape up or ship the hell out. They're running out of excuses and delusional customers to accept them.
Koehler - How easy is it? Seriously, do you know how to implement all these things? Do you, or do any of us know exactly how easy it is to do these things? Its easy for someone to say " they should add this or that" but unless you know how TO ACTUALLY make it WORK.. I mean, how many people said that the 360 should have had a browser from day one.. or even a year later. But it took almost 7 years for it to come out. Who know exactly how hard it actually is to add something some would consider "easy".
You seem like you know how to fix Sony so why dont you work for them. You must think its easy to run a company.
I love that Vita gets ripped for "PORTS" and 3DS gets praised for having rehashed games like the millionth version of MARIO, ZELDA, WARIO, MARIO CART....same ol' nintendo go to games. And people eat it up..
it's because the thing doesn't have a market, casuals are playing their phones because they already have them and don't have to buy piece of hardware, kids are playing on their parents old phones or DS because nintendo makes a product just for them. where is the market for a high end portable?
I see the disagrees but no comments. I take that as I'm right but you don't like it? I personally think the PSV is a beautiful piece of hardware and the games are actually really really good this early in it's life cycle. But who is the target audience? People who play on the go are Kids (the majority of whose parents clearly prefer Nintendo or free/cheap- ie old phones), preteens/teens (who clearly prefer phones), and Sony fans or more hardcore gamers (a large portion of which tend to be older- like myself, and by default play their games at home). Even in Japan, with it's highly mobile culture, the thing isn't selling worth a damb. It literally was made for this group of people in mind and yet continues to sell poorly there. So again, where is the mass market for this product?
What I've learned this gen of gaming is people are cheap, misinformed and crybabies. I'm almost embarrassed by the gamers of this gen. I love my nintendo dsi and felt no need to go with the 3ds. to me much like 3d televisions its just a gimmick. As far as the ps vita....its dope! So happy i shelled out the money for it a month after launch. I will say after the launch wave of games there was a large dry spell until gravity rush was released. Now with ps1 classics, LBP Vita, and some seriously awesome games coming out i can honestly say that I definitely play my vita a lot more now. My point is I don't understand this fanboy BS! I'm 30 and as someone who grew up with mario and zelda on NES I also grew up with FF7 and RE on playstation. I don't understand the insanity of the fanboy issue its like you crazies are political extremeists or something hahaha. Either way very entertaining "discussions" on N4G lol. BTW the picture of the sad kid is hilarious.
But they are just to put in blunt terms ...Moot! PSVIta has no place in the market? Really.? Is that where were going now with that talking point against the PSVIta viability in the market, that's a new one..lol Listen up chuckle heads there is a reason Sony made the PlayStation Mobile platform there is a reason why Sony made the PSVIta with off the shelf Arm cortex Soc chipset , it's because Sony is not freaking blind, Sony sell over 7.4 million xperia smartphones per sales quarter. Which is also why Sony has HTC , sharp , Fujitsu, Asus Tek, WikiPad and Nvidia on board with Samsung being courted to boot. Sony knows it's not just about the PSVIta in the market by itself, or that Nintendo and Sony are no longer the only handheld game player in the mobile game market anymore, that's why on Oct 3rd 2012 there will be 30 new games for the PSVIta will have access to. No unique software, hanging out the PSVita to dry, no software support yea, yea heard it now many times over and over again, what else you got...lol
I think we'll have to wait and see how it does during the holidays.
Didnt they say the same thing about the psp? Vita is awesome. It's not needed but damn cool to own. I play it more then my 3DS that's for sure. Plus the best is yet to come.
The Vita's only issue is price and negative hype. So many haters, media included want it to fail. Lot's of cheap/ignorant people out there. For some reason $250 is too much for an advanced piece of tech, yet the same idiots will go out and shell out $600 for an Ipad 2 which has inferior specs. Once the price hit's $199 or $179 it should do way better. Also the memory cards need to come way down in price.
I don't think both will come down in price, pick your poison, either you want the Vita to go down in price or you want the memory cards to go down in price. More realistically I see the memory cards dropping in price pretty soon, the Vita itself not so much, but Sony would never drop the prices down at the same time although I'm not saying it wouldn't be welcomed...
1.) It's too expensive 2.) Support was wishy washy at best 3.) Poor battery life 4.) Nobody much wanted it or its features 5.) DS won. 3DS got the DS people to upgrade. 6.) iPhone and Android divided up most of the rest of the potential customers.
Fact is, marketing & price are killing the Vita. Then you add in factors that add to the problem like 2 different models as well as the NEED for more overkill expense in exclusive memory cards & Sony have done a helluva lot wrong, even though the machine is a beast & very innovative compared to 3DS & smartphones. The only other contributing factor is I-Pad & Android tablets. But to pinpoint this down to the most glaring, obvious, you only need look at PS3 & the terrible marketing through television, etc, that it has & still receives from launch day, even up to current day. PSVita's horrible marketing is worse than PS3's, so word of mouth is all that can really sell Vita's, but with a price tag more worthy of a new home console, it's an uphill battle. Sony may have thrown in a 4gig memory stick to sweeten the pot recently, & I bought one a week ago due to the $299 pricetag (Australian)....but as I knew, 4gig is crap & 1 game from PSN can take up that entire card, so I had to go out & spend an additional $65 on 16gig (I went to store with no less than 32gig in mind, until I found a $130 pricetag). So here lies the problems. Price & marketing, added with the confusion caused to lamens in 2 different SKU's, the need for additional memory that is far from cheap. None of these problems are insurmountable......but they are if Sony won't budge on them. Price has to be dropped, or 32gigs with 3G model or 16gigs with WiFi ony would be a great start, then just market the damn thing. There is already some awesome games available on the thing, with a huge back catalogue of minis, PSone, as well as remakes like MGS2,3 & Peacewalker, & some truly AAA Vita specific titles like Wipeout2048, Escape Plan, Resistance:BS, Gravity Rush, etc, etc. So lack of games isn't the factor.
N4G is a community of gamers posting and discussing the latest game news. It’s part of NewsBoiler, a network of social news sites covering today’s pop culture.