PlayStation Vita's sales are lagging and a wide gulf between MSRP and third-party sellers should send alarm bells off for Sony. A look at the numbers shows the Vita may need a price adjustment to spur its poor performance.
Ars Technica took a look at the available data and found some reason for concern. In terms of raw sales data, Japanese sales have been dropping since the system's launch in December. Most recently it sold only 8,250 units for the week ending April 15, one-sixth the sales of the 3DS in that period, and lower than the original PSP. And though North American numbers aren't as exact as Japanese ones, leaked figures show the system selling fewer units in March than it did in its brief time after launching in February.
Third-party sellers, which can act as a barometer for the strict market demand price, don't paint a rosy picture either. Sellers on sites like eBay and Amazon have found the price trending roughly $10-25 lower than the MSRP of the system. When compared to the 3DS, the picture becomes clearer. It suffered a similar third-party price deficit at $250, but that difference has become much narrower at the new price of $170.
The conclusion reached by Ars, and a few other analysts, is that Sony should consider dropping the price of the Vita. That doesn't come without its own complications, though. When Nintendo lopped off a hefty 80 bucks from the 3DS after only four months, it offered free games to early adopters as a goodwill gesture. It was a smart move that generally placated fans, and now that the precedent has been set, Sony would likely have to follow suit. Then again, it doesn't have a stable of small, beloved 8-bit and 16-bit era games to give away, and its last make-good offerings weren't looked on quite as fondly.