When it comes to the launch of the PlayStation Vita, week two has brought bad news for Sony.
The company is already having a problematic year, with revenues down, the TV business struggling, and on the portable gaming front the Xperia Play didn’t set the smartphone world alight either.
And when we first saw the £230 RRP price tag pop up on the Vita, that raised our doubts about whether this was a machine that could succeed, given how far Nintendo had to drop the price of the 3DS in the summer (from that same initial RRP, albeit a touch less at launch).
The Vita handheld hit Japanese stores on December 17th to the usual queues of hardcore fans and good first week sales numbers to the tune of 325,000 units.
However, the following week’s sales figures have now been revealed by analysts and they’ve been cut to a quarter of that amount – just 72,000 Vitas were sold.
Sony is apparently refusing to listen to pundits who are arguing that this underlines the fact that the price is too high, and the company isn’t intent on any price cutting in the short term.
At least that’s the current line of thought, but if sales continue to splutter, Sony might have no choice but to cut that asking price down.
While the situation appears this way, a lot of people will likely hold off buying, particularly having seen how much the 3DS was slashed by. The price cut then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy… if Sony want to shift any reasonable numbers of the Vita, that is.
The handheld is undeniably a tasty piece of hardware – and perhaps the launch games will go down better in Europe and America than Japan.
But that price level still seems delusional given how much Nintendo cut the 3DS, which is a tasty bit of kit itself, offering something completely new in the form of glasses-free three dimensional gaming.
Sony’s coffers, of course, will be straining further with a Vita cut, so it is something of a rock and hard place scenario.
Incidentally, in comparison to the Vita’s 72,000 units last week, Nintendo shifted a reported almost half a million 3DS handhelds. That’s quite the yawning sales chasm between the two.