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Sony says 3DS' impressive sales are a positive for Vita

Sony Computer Entertainment's President and CEO, Andrew House, has seen rival Nintendo's 3DS' sales figures take off in recent weeks... and is pleased about it. Never mind the fact that Vita sales have dropped off week-on-week again in Japan, or that 3DS is currently outselling Sony's new handheld at a ratio of more than 5:1 in the territory. He's pleased because it shows that people still want dedicated handheld gaming units - and that means potential.

We see his point. With smartphones taking off and dedicated handheld machines no longer offering vastly superior experiences to top-end handsets and tablet PCs, there had been fears that this generation of handhelds would be the one where consumers said 'no, I don't need that'. But with around a quarter of a million people buying a 3DS in Japan alone last week and another 100,000 this week, that doesn't look likely.

Andrew House told the US PlayStation blog: "The sales of the 3DS, having the advantage of releasing a little bit ahead of us, have been exceedingly good. I think that shows that there is, in general, a lot of demand for a gaming-primary portable device.

"But our device in contrast has just so much more to offer. What I think we've done is point to a market that really has started out with potentially casual games on other devices, but now wants a deeper, better or more premier gaming experience," he said.

Above: There are lots of 3DS consoles being sold around the world. Can Vita steal its user base?

So he's venturing that despite Vita's comparatively weak sales since its launch in the East, there is still a market for it in general - all Sony needs to do is to excite that market with a more sophisticated experience. It's a bold plan and one that had better work pretty soon if Sony is to snatch back market share from Nintendo, which is in danger of running away with it in the handheld console wars for the (counts on fingers) fourth generation in a row.

The optimist in us say it's a good thing too, and that Vita just needs an equivalent set of killer apps to 3DS' Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 and it'll be doing just fine.

The cynic? Strong sales of 3DS are disastrous for Sony as it suggests the house of Mario has beaten down Vita even quicker than last time. Hopefully Sony's beautiful new machine (that we think is ace) will fare better when it's released in the US and UK in just over a month's time. After all, this chart of Vita sales figures since launch doesn't look very healthy to us:

Above: It's got turn upwards again soon - there isn't much lower it can go

Source: CVG

13 comments

  • therawski - January 19, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    I think the vita will have better sales in america because we want a dual analog stick, fps line up of games to play online on the go, I sure do, but until they release a battlefield or call of duty I'm not going to be interested, we learned our mistake with 3ds, that thing sat dead for months until 3d land came out. The vita has a seperate battery from my phone, real games are not played with the kinect or just a touch screen. Modern shooters have shown there is a need for quickmatches, but I imagine more popular in America. The hardware is there, but the target audience needs a title to play, otherwise we will have more launch day failure stories, doubtfully another ambassador program.
  • shawksta - January 19, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    Thats not entirely true, The DS proved "Real" games can use Touch and slides to make them better, but however it really depends on the concept, you cant just slap Motion/touch to anything and make it work, it doesnt work like that. You have to build it from the ground up. I do agree that Psvita has more better chance outside Japan.
  • An_Awesome_Guy - January 19, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    "I think that shows that there is, in general, a lot of demand for a gaming-primary portable device." Yes, there is demand for a gaming-primary portable device. That device is the 3DS. Not the Vita. It may seem a bit pessimistic but to be honest I think that Sony should start to think about cutting their losses with this one.
  • db1331 - January 19, 2012 7:05 a.m.

    I'm going to wait for some good titles and a price cut before I jump on board.
  • Y2Ken - January 19, 2012 4:53 a.m.

    Have to agree, it's reassuring to see that people are still interested in dedicated handheld gaming devices. I'm not going to worry too much about the dropoff as I would expect all the people who wanted it week one to get it then; I'll be more interested to see how it performs when the next wave of games comes. @Heytom I know it isn't a new title but a remake, but hearing about the Persona 4 plans for Vita are almost enough to push me into buying one alone. That said, perhaps the Japanese market won't feel that way.
  • shawksta - January 19, 2012 4:34 a.m.

    Im just happy Handhelds are taking a strong stand against Phones and tablets, and i agree with sony, its a good thing and its encouraging that they just need to be patient.
  • Heytom - January 19, 2012 4:10 a.m.

    No Japanese games = No Japanese sales. And most of Vita's launch titles are ports that have been available for ages on other consoles. They need JRPGs to boost Vita's sales. NEW JRPGs. Not just ports.
  • MasterBhater - January 19, 2012 4:33 a.m.

    I hate how people are STILL saying most of the Vita's launch games are ports. They have 4 PORTS! FOUR! The rest are real, exclusive titles. Just because a game says "Uncharted" on it does not make it a port! Or Wipeout, or Little Big Planet, Gravity Daze or ModNation Racers! These are all brand new games.
  • Heytom - January 19, 2012 5:30 a.m.

    You're right, I didn't explain myself well. Most of the games available NOW, of a genre that could sell well in Japan, are ports. BlazBlue Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Disgaea 3 Uncharted, LBP, Wipeout... these are all real exclusive titles which i look forward to buy. But they won't sell well in Japan, and surely they won't make the Japanese people buy a 25k¥ gaming console when they have the 3ds and they can play both old DS AND new 3DS titles. PSV is not backwards compatible, except for downloaded games.
  • Arlips - January 19, 2012 7:46 a.m.

    Wow, didn't know until now that the Vita isn't backwards compatible. That's pretty shameful when BC for a new system is pretty much standard. No wonder no one's making the jump yet. No incentive to leave the old handheld whatsoever. PSP is the first major system to come out sans any type of backward compatibility since the Gamecube, which is understandable since it went from carts to discs. There's no excusing Sony in 2012 for not including at least backwards compatibility for downloadable PSP games (ala PSP Go) which are medium independent.
  • sjneow - January 19, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    PSvita is BC with downloadabe PSP game
  • Cyberninja - January 19, 2012 4:06 a.m.

    have my 3ds and am still waiting for some of the games i want to play to release like Kingdom hearts and Kid Icarus, so i feel if they announce more games, the system will start selling seeing as at the moment we have more or less nothing to look forward to on Vita after launch day/window, a square rpg would help sales at this point, exspecially if its not a remake like X
  • Arlips - January 19, 2012 8 a.m.

    Square isn't the RPG behemoth it was in the 90s and early 2000s, especially in Japan. Their RPGs cater more towards American tastes now rather than keeping with what's popular in traditional JRPGs (which are still the most popular genre in Japan). Monster Hunter would move Vitas out the door in Japan. Unfortunately for Sony, Capcom has already chosen the 3DS as the home of the next MH game. 3DS looks to be the successor to the PSP as Japan's next JRPG system of choice.

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