Every week, Sony’s sexy new handheld, the PlayStation Vita sells fewer and fewer units. It’s a damned shame, because it really is one of the most beautiful, feature-packed handhelds I’ve ever rubbed all over my naked body had the pleasure of playing on.
In a recent investor call, Sony Overlord (that is his official title, right?) Kaz Hirai revealed that as of the end of March this year, the device had sold under 2 million units globally. While I have no doubt the figure’s now well over 2 million, it has to be said that that’s pretty poor for a device that’s been available in some territories since December last year.
“The last year, we sold (or is it shipped, hmm?) 1.8 million units for US, Japan, Asia and Europe. And as a starting phase, I think it was a good start,” he said in the investor call, transcribed by Eurogamer.
In the same call, Sony reported that it expects 16 million combined PSP and Vita sales for the financial year ending March 2013, with 10 million of those coming from the Vita. With the way sales are going, I just don’t see that happening. with current monthly global sales of around 600 00 units a month, they’ll fall well short of that target.
So why isn’t the Vita doing as well as it rightly should? Echoing statements from Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, Hirai believes it’s all about the software.
“A game platform, like Vita – the software is the key to success, how good the software is. We have to reinforce the software area in order to improve the business, that is the basic line,” said Hirai.”And vis a vis Vita, at this moment, there is no decline or lack of motivation as a portable platform. And also, in order to connect with the Network, this is a very important product indeed for us, and therefore we still have a very high motivation to develop this further. There is no change,” he continued.
“And services and software must be strengthened. In other words, the collaborative approach is very important, so is third-party. And from first party studios, the titles will be presented one after the other, so please look at them and give your evaluation based on them.”
Like the 3DS, I think the Vita would benefit from a price cut. People just don’t have the money to spend – and let’s face it, the Vita does cost a lot of money – on a handheld that, right now, doesn’t really have any bona fide system sellers. For reference, the 3DS sold 3.62 million units by the end of March 31 2011, and the thing had only been out in the US for 4 days by then.