VITA ENTERS THE RACE, CAN’T SHIFT GEARS
The 3DS broke a sales record, it reached 5 million in sales in Japan. However, it was dead on arrival in March 2011.
With an exaggerated $250 price tag (the same price as the far more powerful Vita, to be released the following year) and a lineup without a true system seller, sales plummeted so much that Nintendo publicly apologized for their system.
They created a new campaign to make the 3DS desirable to gamers, releasing games people wanted to play, securing future exclusive games (such as Monster Hunter), and lowering the price of the system by $80; the end result got the system to sell from a paltry 3 million worldwide in March to 15 million by December of the same year.
This sudden surge by Nintendo did not help the Vita. What was once a far better value than the 3DS now has to fight an uphill battle to win over gamers in Japan. It launched in Japan with only 325 thousand units sold, and falling to 74 thousand the next week. By the 9th week, it was only selling 14 thousand units.
Many have debated what went wrong with the Vita launch. What Nintendo got wrong with their 3DS launch was obvious; people simply did not know the 3DS was not a next-gen successor to the DS, and they had no reason to buy it with such a large price tag and without a game the general audience could get behind (Street Fighter IV and Ghost Recon was not going to do it).
The Vita however, is a slightly different story. It was about to launch at the same price as the 3DS with more powerful hardware, but the last-minute dramatic drop of the 3DS price suddenly made the Vita’s price harder to stomach. Hidden costs such as expensive proprietary memory cards that are required to save data are also damaging the appeal of the system, with a 16 GB card taking you back $60 USD, and a 32 GB one costing $100 USD.
With the Vita now releasing worldwide this week, we have yet to see how it will fare outside Japan. However, it still leaves Sony with a big problem: the Vita is failing in the only market where the PSP was a true success.
Check out our new Vita game reviews:
And our latest Battle Royale, featuring the Vita launch: