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Vita sales falling; Price adjustment needed?

A close look at Vita sales numbers gives weight to some analysts claiming Sony should drop the price of the system.

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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.

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  • reply
    April 25, 2012 4:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Vita sales analysis shows reason for price drop.

    A close look at Vita sales numbers gives weight to some analysts claiming Sony should drop the price of the system.

    • reply
      April 25, 2012 4:34 PM

      It needs any kind of hype. It launched with a thud even with a ton of awesome games. I tried one at a Best Buy recently and it looks nice but nothing I really need. No games really interested me and I didn't want to spend an extra $50 on storage for it.

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        April 25, 2012 6:06 PM

        Yup. There is absolutely nothing in the Vita library now or on the horizon that makes me want to go out and drop even $150 for it.

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        April 26, 2012 7:05 AM

        They need a killer app. There are a lot of solid games, but nothing I'd say is a system seller yet.

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      April 25, 2012 6:07 PM

      They really hit the ground running with all the launch titles. The problem is there really hasn't been much to come out for it since. At least nothing to catch my eye. I am waiting for Resistance Burning Skys as my next purchase. They just need a more steady flow of games.

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        April 25, 2012 6:12 PM

        I wonder if it would have been better to space out the launch lineup? Sony seems to have blown their Vita load until post-E3 releases.

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          April 25, 2012 6:19 PM

          aside from Mortal Kombat I think next week I really have no idea what else is coming. I guess CoD in November but what else?

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            April 26, 2012 3:59 AM

            Not sure when but there should be a LittleBigPlanet game at some point. There is also a Metal Gear Solid HD compilation and a Super Monkey Ball game planned. Some licensed stuff too like LEGO Batman 2 and Madagascar 3. At the end of May a new Resistance and a Silent Hill game are being released. I think most Vita owners are waiting for Gravity Rush which currently has a June release date.

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      April 25, 2012 6:14 PM

      i just dont understand why id bother when i get cheaper and more diverse entertainment on ios

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        April 25, 2012 6:18 PM

        If you don't know the difference between gaming with physical controls and with touchscreen controls you may have other problems with understanding.

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          April 25, 2012 6:56 PM

          not all games need a joypad. in fact, given the lack of innovation with console games to me that is a great thing. furthermore, on touch controls in certain traditiomal games work just fine, but the best games on the platform lend themselves to the medium

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          April 26, 2012 4:38 AM

          Doesn't matter, touchscreen gaming has made handheld consoles much less of a necessity. Proof is in the numbers and the trend

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            April 26, 2012 6:52 AM

            and similar numbers would also put something like farmville facebook game as the number 1 played game on a PC so are you satisfied with that?

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            April 26, 2012 7:09 AM

            Chicken/egg. Touchscreens are more prolific because of smartphones. Doesn't mean that people are buying those platforms for games. I still maintain that touchscreen is far from the best of all worlds for control.

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              April 26, 2012 2:26 PM

              Agreed on both, but the fact that everyone has a smartphone that also happens to have some good touchscreen games (they're not all bad shovelware) makes enough of a difference where many of those people who would normally get a 3DS or Vita do not. It is all that matters.

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        April 26, 2012 4:09 AM

        wow, lol

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        April 26, 2012 7:06 AM

        Real controls FTW. Touch controls are not useful for all games.

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        April 26, 2012 7:09 AM

        more diverse. lmao.

        all of the ios games in history don't combine to the amount of quality in the vita launch lineup

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          April 26, 2012 7:32 AM

          LOL that's just retarded

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            April 26, 2012 7:38 AM

            that was going a bit far, i really wish there were more variety but i wouldnt trade any of the games that i currently have on my vita for any game on android/ios regardless of the cost.

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        April 26, 2012 7:27 AM

        i was messing around with Death rally on my tablet the other night. Go check that game out. Now go find someone with a Vita or borrow one or whatever and compare it to Motorstorm RC. Let me know what you think. Both are free so they are perfectly comparable to eachother.

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      April 25, 2012 6:17 PM

      I think they just need some titles out there to lure the holdouts. There are no FPS and afaik no solid RPGs for the system. With the next CoD on its way I think that will give a sales boost but we'll have to see what's in store for us at E3 too. Hopefully there will be a bunch of titles for us coming this fall. I really really really want to see NHL 13 slated for Vita. There's really no reason to not make this happen!

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      April 25, 2012 6:58 PM

      That's because handhelds are dead and are now a niche product. That's all there is to it.

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        April 25, 2012 7:10 PM

        Pretty much. The Smart phones and tablets pretty much felt the role that the gaming handhelds once had. Considering that some of the android/ios games are rapidly increasing in quality pretty much clinches it. Gaming handhelds might have edge in terms of performance or ergonomics but its not enough.

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          April 26, 2012 6:50 AM

          the only problem is the shitty play an hour or 2 until you get bored games, the hacked in controls of forcing someone to use an inaccurate dpad on a touch screen which leads to the lack of actual hardcore games that are worth playing. most apps try to shoe horn in a control scheme that just doesnt work with touchscreen controls. if you put in a virtual dpad, analog stick, buttons, etc. into your mobile touch screen game you've already failed at designing a game for the actual hardware that you have to work with.

          also i don't know if it's just on android but i'm sure this had to start on iOS but a lot of the great looking games that catch your eye and seem interesting for the platform are free to play games like farmville with energy for turns and microtransactions thrown in your face at every turn with gameplay that makes it tedious to not invest in an endless money pit

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        April 26, 2012 6:54 AM

        It's a shame too because touchscreen controls suck for anything other than ultra casual games like Angry Birds and Bejewled.

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      April 25, 2012 7:19 PM

      Bring Wake Up Club to the US! Instant Vita sales spike of a few people

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      April 25, 2012 7:38 PM

      shocker.

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      April 25, 2012 9:08 PM

      Well regardless, it's an upgraded PSP to me, the screen is hot sex with any PSP game. Since you can bind the psp d-pad to the right stick, a lot of psp games I couldnt play due to controls are finally worth playing.

      The SDK they just released is fun to tinker with too.

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        April 26, 2012 6:42 AM

        i didnt know that. maybe i'll buy that PSP assassin's creed game after all

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      April 25, 2012 9:14 PM

      when Nintendo has to cut the price of their competing product 30% shortly after release with "no competition" you know your market is in trouble

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        April 26, 2012 6:42 AM

        ^^^ this is the right answer. Vita doesn't make any strategic sense for Sony. Why release a new product in a declining market with an entrenched competitor?

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          April 26, 2012 7:03 AM

          Attempt to recoup R&D dollars spent before the market went in the toilet? Totally guessing, I have no idea either.

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      April 26, 2012 7:09 AM

      Love my Vita. When they get PS/PS2 games running on it, the library will be expanding.

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        April 26, 2012 7:12 AM

        what are you playing on it right now?

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          April 26, 2012 7:34 AM

          Little bit of everything:

          Uncharted
          FFIV Complete
          Super Stardust
          Hot Shots

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            April 26, 2012 7:36 AM

            ive been spending most of my time in motorstorm which is weird because normally i dont even like racing games. i guess the different challenges and the map variety and short races really keep me going. i also like being friends' times.

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              April 26, 2012 8:42 AM

              I gave up on that game.. i didn't like the controls .. ESP in the drifting courses. :(

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                April 26, 2012 9:58 AM

                it took me some time to pick the controls i like. i use the triggers for gas and brake and the alternative controls where you point the analog in the direction that you want to go.

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                  April 26, 2012 10:26 AM

                  I ended up going with d-pad for control and face buttons for break / gas =\

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            April 26, 2012 9:10 AM

            You should check out Unit 13, it's pretty fun.

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        April 26, 2012 7:28 AM

        Agreed.. I play my vita at least every other day and its great for "pick up for 20 min to unwind after studying / school"

        Still playing Hot Shots Golf and finishing up FFT:War of the Lions, and FFIV:Complete. I'll pick up Trails in the Sky(?) next and Disgaea 3 as soon as the price point lowers a tad (too much other good stuff to play until then)

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          April 26, 2012 7:31 AM

          i've been reading instead of playing lately but i'm going on a week and a half long trip to england and ireland where it's impractical to bring my xbox to feed my addiction. i'm thinking of picking up assassins creed for psp but i can't find anyone whose played it and can recommend it.

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            April 26, 2012 9:59 AM

            dang week and half not long enough.

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              April 26, 2012 10:17 AM

              the england portion is only for a few days for a party in leeds. i think the majority of the trip is in ireland.

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