Sales of Sony’s PlayStation Vita have dropped off significantly since its launch in Japan, a sign the company may have to make some changes to assure the console’s success.
After selling more than 300,000 units in its first two days of release, the Sony moved just over 70,000 Vitas in the week ending December 25. Sales were likely to fall after the initial wave of demand, but the drop off was much steeper than Sony anticipated, specifically in the week leading up to Christmas.
Dedicated portable gaming systems appear to be in a transition period as consumers play games more often on their smartphones. The iPhone and Android devices offer thousands of games users can download with the push of a button, and the numbers indicate people are flocking to the mobile app store to get their gaming fix.
Sony said the Vita is a device aimed at hardcore gamers, which the company expected would give it an advantage over smartphones that offer more basic games like “Angry Birds” and “Cut the Rope.” However, Sony may have overestimated the size of the hardcore gaming audience, as well as how much it is willing to pay for a device that is a dedicated gaming system.
Nintendo experienced similar issues when it launched the Nintendo 3DS early last year. The system debuted at a price point of $250, and after strong initial demand, sales stalled, forcing Nintendo to slash the cost of the system to $170. The performance of the 3DS, aided by the release of some big games, has been much better since, which may lead Sony to consider a similar strategy.
Sales of the Vita have been underwhelming and a price drop could be a quick fix, but Sony is unlikely to make any moves just yet. The Vita won’t launch in the U.S. until next month, and the system has barely had a chance to establish a presence yet in Japan.
The Vita is locked in at the $250 price point for now, but if the current trends in Japan continue when the device hits the U.S. next month, the system could undergo a price cut sooner rather than later.