It isn’t exactly a secret that the PlayStation Vita has been struggling ever since it launched earlier this year. Though it’s hard to get exact numbers out of Sony, weekly sales charts from Japan and monthly sales charts from NPD here in America don’t paint a pretty picture – the Vita keeps slipping while the Nintendo 3DS is posting some sky-high numbers on occasion. It’s kind of funny in a way, seeing as how the 3DS had the exact same problem as the Vita after its own launch, but that’s another discussion for another time.
As with most of these downturns, Sony’s gaming executives are there to say that everything is going well. Wired has pulled together some recent quotes from SCEJ president Hiroshi Kawano and SCEA president Jack Tretton, and the feeling at Sony is pretty clear: the Vita is doing okay, and if it isn’t, then the upturn is right around the corner.
Kawano, for instance, recently told 4gamer.net that the Vita experienced “extremely lively” download sales in June, which he takes to mean that the Vita is on the rise. He unsurprisingly didn’t talk numbers, so we don’t know how well the Vita is actually doing in the digital realm. Tretton recently told GamesIndustry International that Vita sales are “acceptable” and that he’s feeling much better about the Vita now than he did four months ago. He claims that the Vita has the hardware, and with good games, the buyers will come.
But that right there is the kicker: “acceptable” sales aren’t good enough for a lot of big-time developers and publishers. A platform needs to be showing strong sales (or at least a lot of potential) before the big guys will spend millions of dollars on making a game for it. The Vita definitely has some exciting games on the horizon, but it doesn’t have as many as it should. That probably isn’t going to change as long as Vita sales remain average, so Sony still needs to come up with a plan to get Vitas flying off the shelves. Nintendo did it with the 3DS price cut, and as much as Sony is resisting the idea of a PS Vita price cut, that may just be the thing the Vita needs to become a smashing success. Stay tuned.