News Article

PlayStation Vita Slumps to Its Saddest Defeat Yet in Japan

Posted by Sammy Barker

Hide behind the sofa

The PlayStation Vita is a stunning system with some great games, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to overlook the platform’s commercial problems – especially overseas. While we still believe that it’s too early to pull the plug on the handheld, the situation in Japan is not looking good. In fact, it’s gone from bad to utterly hopeless over the past couple of months.

Indeed, Media Create’s latest sales figures paint a terrifying picture for the portable in its home territory. The system was outsold by Nintendo’s 3DS by a frightening ratio of 46:1, leaving the platform dawdling at the bottom of the sales charts.

Granted, the 3DS enjoyed one of its strongest weeks to date, boosted by the eye-watering sales of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. But the system's sales tally of 187,077 units made the Vita’s paltry 4,021 units look like a bad joke. Even the 12 year old PS2 managed to shift 1,187 units during the same period.

Unsurprisingly, there were no Vita titles in the software top twenty. Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires shifted 70,102 copies on the PS3, though it was not enough to stop the console's tally from dipping below 20,000 units. Elsewhere, the PSP held strong at 12,076 units.

We’ve included the full set of figures below. Feel free to sob heartily over the Vita’s dismal fortunes in the comments section.


1. 3DS – 187,077 (93,989)
2. PlayStation 3 – 18,043 (21,310)
3. PSP – 12,076 (13,868)
4. PlayStation Vita – 4,021 (4,842)
5. Wii – 2,921 (3,806)
6. Xbox 360 – 2,908 (1,339)
7. PS2 – 1,187 (1,351)
8. DS – 424 (568)


1. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo, 11/08/12) – 603,064 (New)
2. [PS3] Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires (Tecmo Koei, 11/08/12) – 70,102 (New)
3. [360] Halo 4 (Microsoft, 11/08/12) – 39,312 (New)
4. [PS3] Tales of Xillia 2 (Namco Bandai, 11/01/12) – 34,789 (399,228)
5. [3DS] New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo, 07/28/12) – 23,224 (1,343,554)
6. [3DS] Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (Square Enix, 10/11/12) 14,847 (249,260)
7. [PS3] Silent Hill: Downpour (Konami, 11/08/12) – 13,516 (New)
8. [PSP] World Soccer Winning Eleven 2013 (Konami, 11/01/12) – 12,335 (50,722)
9. [PS3] Okami HD (Capcom, 11/01/12) – 11,013 (50,722)
10. [PS3] Yakuza 1&2 HD Edition (Sega, 11/01/12) – 10,073 (68,211)
11. [PS3] World Soccer Winning Eleven 2013 (Konami, 10/04/12) – 9,508 (166,416)
12. [3DS] Wagamama Fashion Girls Mode Yokubari Sengen (Nintendo, 09/27/12) – 8,599 (166,416)
13. [3DS] Run For Money: Flee From the Strongest Hunters in History (Namco Bandai, 07/05/12) – 8,199 (299,635)
14. [PS3] Resident Evil 6 (Capcom, 10/04/12) – 6,811 (814,850)
15. [NDS] Pokemon Black 2 / White 2 (Pokemon, 06/23/12) – 6,533 (2,828,949)
16. [PS3] Dark Souls with Artorias of the Abyss Edition (From Software, 10/25/12) – 5,754 (85,919)
17. [3DS] Mosnter Hunter 3 Ultimate (Capcom, 12/10/11) – 5,309 (1,564,401)
18. [3DS] Nicola Kenshuu: Model Oshare Audition Platium (Alchemist, 11/08/12) – 5,295 (New)
19. [3DS] Taiko Drum Master: Chibi Dragon and the Mysterious Orb (Namco Bandai, 07/12/12) – 5,253 (257,146)
20. [PSP] The Idolmaster Shiny Festa Honey Sound / Funky Note / Groovy Tune (Namco Bandai, 10/25/12) – 5,101 (138,669)


User Comments (45)



get2sammyb said:

This is absolutely dreadful. I don't think there's anything that could save the Vita at this stage — certainly not in Japan, anyway. I know that sounds like a hyperbolic statement — and I sincerely hope it is — but those numbers are dire. It doesn't even seem like the platform is carving out a niche.



TOMBOY25 said:

glad i jumped ship and sold mine a few months after launch, shame as it is a great bit of kit



theblackdragon said:

what a shame! i'm still waiting for a system-selling game before i pick one up myself... just give me what I want, Sony, and i'll be more than glad to fork over the cash



naruball said:

In all honestly, they could stop production of any new games and I'd still be happy with my vita. There are so many games that I have bought or plan to buy and psp/psone games that I have that I'm sure I'll enjoy it for years.

Sony is doing a terrible job in Japan. That's for sure. They could have at least lowered the price, but nope. They've done nothing so far to increase the sales.

In the West, things are looking ok for the moment.



theblackdragon said:

@get2sammyb: Ni no Kuni would've done it (and honestly i'd been hoping for it) but they decided to release it for PS3 instead. I was definitely sad when they made that announcement. The only other system-selling game i can think of off the top of my head atm would be a Vita-only Suikoden title. Otherwise, my PSP works just fine, y'know?



Hokori said:

Wow halo 4 did better then I thought in Japan, but I'm glad to see 3DS doing so well hope these stay



LadyStarstorm said:

A shame. It's a nice little system with I think good potential, but they're going about it all wrong. They need to shift the focus from graphics-heavy, meant-for-console games that look and play better on an HD TV, to quirky "Japanese" titles, platformers and puzzle type stuff that not only take full advantage of the 2-sided touch functionality, but are fun to want to keep on hands all the time so people can pick up and play on the fly in-between train/bus stops, waiting rooms, etc. I hope people will soon remember that the point of a portable console is for it to be portable!



get2sammyb said:

@LadyStarstorm I really don't feel that the PlayStation Vita hasn't catered to that, though. A franchise like LittleBigPlanet — not necesarrily appealing to the Japanese audience I know — may have started life on the PS3, but it's still perfectly adaptable to portable play.

Keep in mind that one of Vita's biggest games in Japan to date is Persona 4: The Golden, a handheld port of a PS2 game. I do get where you're coming from, though.



SpaceKappa said:

That's the thing keeping me from buying a Vita... I have a PS3 already. I don't really need something like Uncharted on the go. That's a cinematic game with stunning setpieces that I want to experience with my HDTV and sound system. The kinds of games on portables that get me hooked are the kinds that I want to have with me at all times and are easily digestible in short bursts... I can do a couple of races in Mario Kart 7 when I'm at my in-laws and everyone goes off to do things that don't interest me.

I think the games they're releasing on Vita are not doing the system any justice. They shouldn't be marketing it as a console you carry with you. They should be looking at what the Vita has that sets it apart from its biggest competition, smartphones, and build games that take advantage of that. The rear touch screen was something that really interested me but hardly anything uses it in any meaningful way. You have innovative hardware... innovate with it!

I think it says something when downloadable PS1 games are the most exciting things to your consumers. I hope this ship gets righted soon, because I'd love to want a Vita.



LadyStarstorm said:

@get2sammyb Yeah, I know it has a few good'uns! I just want to see more, and I guess what I really want is to see it marketed as such? I think it will help it immensely. Most of the marketing I've seen for the Vita thus far have all been of the typical-console-fare type games. I think they need to go a bit outside the box.

Ports of old popular RPGs always do quite well on portables, and Persona is extremely popular so that's not too surprising to me! XD I've yet to check out a Persona game but it's certainly not from lack of want; I've heard great things.



get2sammyb said:

@LadyStarstorm I think you're spot on — the marketing message is possibly the problem. There are plenty of "portable" games on the platform, but they aren't the ones getting much exposure. Then again, I'm not sure how you can leave massive brands like Need for Speed, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed out of your Christmas promotions. (I'm speaking specifically about the West here.)



LadyStarstorm said:

@get2sammyb True. Maybe what it comes down to then in the end is a fear of straying from "sure things" (though I'm pretty sure again that lots of gamers into those series would prefer it on home console) keeping them from making any real waves in the market. I would think the holidays would actually be the perfect time for trying to expose some of the more family-friendly, bright & different-looking games though, since a lot of people are shopping for young family members. Too bad that they don't seem to see it that way.



ohhaime said:

I think a big problem in Japan is that there are not enough RPGs being made for the VIta,Japan Loves RPGs.
It's kind of a vicious circle,Developers keep making new RPGs for the PSP because of the low adoption rate. Gamers keep playing their PSPs instead of buying a Vita because there are not enough games they want.
Add to that the fact that in Japan the fans and money follow Monster Hunter and that is now in Nintendo's camp also means more money is to be made with 3DS games then Vita so more games made for that.



ngc628 said:

I wonder what is going on behind the curtain between Sony, Nintendo and Capcom regarding Monster Hunter. The PSP made Monster Hunter a success and Monster Hunter made PSP a success.
Perhaps Sony is pinning their hopes on Soul Sacrifice and Phantasy Star Online to lure Monster Hunter fans to the Vita.



Pikachupwnage said:


3DS outsold Vita 46.5-1

And I think Animal crossing outsold the entire top 20 and maybe even the top 30 by itself.

Massive curbstomp here.

Still love my Vita though

PS+ here I come!



MitchConcannon said:

PS+ may be the last chance it has in my opinion. I hate to see something I truly love and believe in struggle so bad.



Squiggle55 said:

The Vita is awesome. I have no bias or loyalties and I want to play it much more often than my 3DS. I think the problem in Japan is really quite simple. They aren't upgrading from their PSPs because all of the Japanese friendly RPGs are still being released on the PSP. And Monster Hunter and Final Fantasy don't have Vita exclusives yet. Japan as a market actually seems sadly predictable in that way. Sony must know that one of those games would save the Vita in Japan, and I can't fathom why Capcom thinks Monster Hunter will be a better game on the 3DS. I think the Vita will really pick up steam this holiday season with the new big games and the PS+ offerings in the west. But Japan is completely lost without an IP that stirs them up into a mass frenzy.



Chozo85 said:

This is a massive shame. I love my vita and I'm sad that it is struggling so much because it is a wonderful console. I hope Sony can find a way if turning around. The price needs to be dropped and they need to release some quality games. Nintendo were able to revive the flagging 3DS with a price drop and the release of Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario Land 3D. I'd love to see Sony be really aggressive and drop the price to around £150. Some new games being announced wouldn't hurt either, after Christmas there is nothing on the horizon.



Gemuarto said:

Boo all of this =))

Actually, i told this before and i'll tell this again. They boo'd up when promoted Vita with Uncharted in Japan. But the biggest problem here is the price which is obviously too high for handheld.



SammyOfMobius said:

Hopefully the PS Vita doesn't die... I spent good money on that thing. SONY needs a miracle.



ThreadShadow said:


Well, I got a terrific deal on my white PSV. It's a nice mchine, I like it. I've been trying many of the demos. And the touch/motion/AR aspects are really fun. But my library of games-to-get, was never big to start with.

I tried the demo for Uncharted nd I think it's great. The motion controlled sniping is intense, though I could see a person turning somersaults and backflips to get to the target before the trget gets to you. Fun.

I keep coming back to Montezuma Blitz thing.
Super Stardust Delt unfortuntely underwhelmed me and lost it's spot on my list. Probably pick it up if it goes on sale.

Yet to try Frobisher. I want to try the demos first. And Gravity Rush is next on my list.



Flashman said:

Looking at the figures over the past months and assuming that the rest of the world is also struggling I think the time is right to trade in my Vita and games. Shame as its an excellent system but I cant see things improving now even with a price reduction.



Gamer83 said:

What an utter fail this has been on Sony's part. If the handling of Vita is any indication of how they're going to handle PS4 well, Nintendo has nothing to worry about in Japan.



The3DSisMINE said:

I feel really bad about it. I admit that I sold my Vita due to the fact that one of my best friends also bought it so we decided to share it. But I want it to succeed!!!! I wish there were more multi Platform games but there isn't enough. I thought Declassified was going to be but it isn't. A damn shame....



Savino said:

And the 3DS is selling like a nintendo portable should....
Amazing how Nintendo manages to keep high sales even when there´s no great games (I am not saying thats the case, since Animal Crossing is huge in japan).



Gemuarto said:

I need soul sacrifice before selling vita =)

And to platinum Disgaea 3, Persona 4, Ys: Celceta no Jukai... Boo, there are so many cool games on Vita. I think that price IS the point.

OMG and PS Plus for Vita looks awesome.

In Japan, Vita like 3DS in the begining compete with PSP. PSP is a great danger to any new handheld =)))).... Because it has SOOOOOOOOOO many games wich continue to come out. And PSP is cheap and light, and games for PSP is cheap too. I think japan waits for price drop.



JavierYHL said:

capcom basically buried the vita,a device that can drive mh series sales even more...



moomoo said:

Go Halo 4! You can do it! I'm amazed it sold so well. Japan seems to hate the Xbox 360, so it's nice to see the people who own it support the system.
Unfortunately, the Vita seems to be going the way of the 360 in Japan. That's really sad news, especially because Japan seems to be the biggest market for dedicated gaming handheld devices.



Autobot-69 said:

While the Vita had some decent launch titles.... it took months for them to release any decent titles following that. From what I recall there was only a handful of decent releases between February and September.

With all the bragging they did about the capability of the system there was a lot of lead up to "The first ever true fps on a handheld" game known as Resistance Burning Skies. What a huge disappointment that game was. It felt like a bad PS2 game. I've been gaming since I was 7 back in 1987 and Burning Skies is the first and only game that I've ever returned.

I believe that after such a long delay for releases (post launch) and the drought being broken with such a terrible game (Burning Skies) that much faith was lost with the system. I still have mine and thoroughly enjoy it.... however, I have little faith in the "quality" of future releases.



Flashman said:

@Squiggle55 I would rather have my money invested in a system I believe will be supported for longer than another 12 months so now seems like a good time to trade it in for some credit against Wii U or 3DS or maybe some more goodies for my PS3. The week sales are not just Japan, I was chatting to one of the staff in the local Game store who was telling me they have struggled to sell Vita since it launched!



Folderoll said:

This is hardly the end of the world, Xbox does fine without being popular in Japan.

I think PS+ will help, especially in Europe/US where the offering is v strong.



Gemuarto said:

Vita is a long term investment =). And people are so under news influence... =(((.... What about titles like Tear Away, Killzome: Mercenaries and Soul Sacrifice from first party developers? Those titles can become fresh start for Vita, if Sony will drop price next year and PSP will die =)))....



MorriganIsHot said:

I no longer own a vita thanks to it blinking blue light, everything got erase and wouldn't let me play vita games. Launch hardware are no good. I did however kept Uncharted, Gravity Rush, AC3L and the 32GB. I'll buy a vita when there is a slim version.



Scrible said:

Don't know why you would buy Vita when u have a ps3, if the psp didn't do great, why would you think a gadget full of gimmics would, so glad I haven't wasted my money, plus you NEVER buy anything like this till its been out awhile



Flashman said:

@jeccross The difference is the xbox sells really well in the US and Europe. Vita appears to be not managing that either.



moomoo said:

@Flashman Beat me to it.

I feel it should be noted how unsettling this really is. Japan is definitely the place where portable gaming is the biggest in the world when it comes to dedicated handheld devices. When it's selling as poorly as it is over there (and approaching the holidays, no less) then that is a very bad sign.



Flashman said:

I honestly can't see anything saving it from what I am reading. I kept reading people posting that once Assassins Creed & Call Of Duty come out sales would increase. But the reviews to both these games have been less than glowing. I keep reading about "It just needs Monster Hunter" yet still haven't read if there will actually be a monster hunter for it.

"A price drop will save it", but when is that coming because it doesn't look like anytime soon. At this point I am wondering whether it will save Vitas fortunes, because with a user base that is only increasing by maybe 40,000 per week worldwide how many developers are going to want to invest a small fortune in AAA titles for it!! No new AAA games on the horizon and less reason for Joe Average to invest in the flagging console!

Sell my vita whilst there is still some demand and I get at least a fair portion of what I paid(isn) back. Wait and I am stuck with an obsolete piece of plastic!



Gemuarto said:

@Flashman no new AAA games? What about PS All-Stars, Sly 4, Tearaway, Killzone Mercenaries, Soul Sacrifice, new Bend Studio project? I heard that Persona 5 is in development.

And we will see Monster Hunter 4th only after Monster Hunter 4. It is the law of time flow =))...

And price drop tremendously helped PS3 and 3DS. I don't know when it will happen, but i think first quarter of 2013. Don't panic, man =)))... everything gonna be OK =).



Squiggle55 said:

I say wait until E3. I am still holding out hope that the connectivity between the Vita and PS4 will be a huge selling point.



Flashman said:

@Gemaurto don't take my statement so literally. I meant that because of a small user base less and less AAA titles will be invested in. I am quite aware there games coming at some point. A price drop and cleverly scheduled games helped 3DS, I am not so sure that just a priced top is enough anymore.

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