The PS Vita continues to struggle while the 3DS breaks sales records. It’s an almost Phoenix Wright style “turnabout” for Nintendo’s suddenly popular handheld, but Sony still has a few tidbits to be happy about.
As I mentioned, Vita sales declined for the second week in a row, and Sony’s cutting edge handheld only managed to sell 42,000 units this week, making the brand new system the fourth best selling system for the week. In terms of monthly sales, the Vita managed a more respectable 402,000 units sold during December thanks to it’s healthy launch day sales, but that still put it far behind the year-old 3DS, which managed to almost triple the Vita’s sales for the month of December. It’s worth noting that Sony reportedly shipped half-a-million Vita’s in anticipation for a high demand for the system (which never materialized,) so many stores in Japan still have yet to sell-out of their launch day units of the system.
But while the Vita is floundering, Sony can at least take solace in healthy sales for their two older systems: both the PS3 and the Vita’s supposedly outdated predecessor, the PSP, managed to 67,000 and 62,000 units each respectively, earning the PS3 the second best-selling spot for the week, followed by the PSP in third. The PSP’s continued success can be attributed to its strong line-up of Japanese RPG’s and multiplayer, Monster Hunter-style games, something which the Vita doesn’t yet have.
Nintendo, meanwhile, seemingly has nothing to worry about in Japan: the 3DS managed to sell 1,492,000 units in December alone, breaking a previous Japanese sales record for hardware that had remained unbroken since 1997. Nintendo has been quick to boast that the system has sold over 8 million units worldwide, and is selling faster than even the original DS. The sudden popularity of the system since it’s tepid launch has proved many naysayers wrong, who pronounced the system dead-on-arrival when it launched last year, and it’s a turn around that Sony will likely try to emulate with the Vita as the year progresses.
In terms of software, the same games continue to dominate the top 5: Mario Kart 7 was once again the best selling game for this period, and Japan’s infatuation with Monster Hunter continued as Monster Hunter 3G captured the second spot. The PS3 version of the latest Dynasty Warriors game, Musuo Orochi 2 captured the 3rd spot, proving that yes, there are some people out there who haven’t gotten tired of Dynasty Warriors yet. Super Mario 3D Land came in fourth, while the PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 rounded out the top 5.
While plenty of Wii, PS3, 3DS, and PSP games managed an appearance on the top 20 best selling games of the week, no Vita games managed to make the list, which leads me to my final point: Just like the 3DS, which didn’t pick up steam until this Fall when the “real” games for it started coming out, the Vita won’t sell until it gets some quality games. Uncharted is nice, but it’s never been a system-seller; if the Vita is going to be successful, it’s going to need a game of Call of Duty caliber in the West and something as big as Monster Hunter in Japan. Rumors are circulating in Japan that the PS Vita will get a Monster Hunter port at some point, despite Capcom’s announcement that Monster Hunter 4 is being developed specifically for the 3DS, and for Sony’s sake, let’s hope those rumors are true.