Sony just set a new record this week. But this isn’t the kind of thing it wants to be making news for. The PlayStation Vita has just set a new bar for the worst week in its sales history in Japan. It’s a symbol of how slow the rate of interest has been for the device, but perhaps also it is just a representation of a sluggish video game industry as a whole. After all, in March, in the US video game sales were down by around 25%, a huge downward spiral even though the massive hit game Mass Effect 3 was released.
And hardware sales were down across the board. There are many negative statistics to point to in the industry over the last several weeks, but the Vita one is perhaps the most disappointing. So in the most recent week, only 8,931 Playstation Vita systems were sold in Japan. That’s the smallest number since Sony launched the device in the region late last year.
In the US, it’s expected that Vita sales will hit somewhere around 125,000 units. That is also exceedingly far below expectations. Even more saddening is that in Japan’s list of the 20 top-selling video game titles, there is not a single Vita game. The problem with Sony right now is that it needs to prove that a dedicated handheld game system is still relevant in a world dominated by iPhones and tablets. The question is how it’s going to prove itself in this market. It hasn’t done that yet.