Hasta La Vita?
Sony’s commendable efforts to inject new life into the handheld console market with the release of the Playstation Vita took a serious blow when sales post launch plummeted. The console boasts a 5 inch display and a mobile CPU more powerful than the iPhone 4S. Playstation Vita wields two analogue sticks, motion sensors and rear touch pad capable of showcasing an array of gameplay opportunities. So why the big drop in sales?
If you look at the comparison with the 3DS launch, Nintendo shifted 370,000 in its first week back in March 2011 and then a further 210,000 in its second week. The Playstation Vita started well and sold 325,000 in the first two days of launch, but then into the second week, only 73,000 were sold. This is a major blow to Sony and follows an unfortunate precedent set by the Nintendo 3DS that shows dedicated handheld devices are lost among the mainstream mobile gaming market. Yes the 3DS sold better than Vita at launch, but even Nintendo sold less than was anticipated which only shows just how disastrous these figures are for Sony. Nintendo reported a £200 million loss in the April-June quarter of 2011 and had to drastically cut the price of the 3DS by 40%.
Only now has this worked out for Nintendo. Those who brought the handheld in March were rewarded with free games as means of sorry for the sudden unprecedented price drop of such enormity. Sony have not commented on the matter yet, but many internet sources are suggesting that Sony need to issue a price cut already. In a world where games like Angry Birds cost pennies on a smartphone, Sony must decide whether to keep the Vita priced at £229 (wi-fi) or £279 (3G) or go down the road Nintendo followed and drastically drop the price and keep the Vita at bay from disaster.
It is too soon for Sony to consider a price cut in my opinion, but the large decrease in sales during Vita’s second week should be a cause for concern. Time will tell if the Vita needs a price cut when sale’s figures are recorded from the soon to follow launches in theUKandUSArespectively.