The PlayStation Vita launched in Japan on December 17th, 2011. During that opening weekend, the brand new handheld from Sony sold more than 300,000 units. Since then, however, the device has seen a large dip in sales.
The week after its launch saw the PS Vita move only 70,000 units and fall below hardware more than five years in age. The tumble continued for the next two weeks as the PS Vita checked in at just over 40,000 units twice; again, below several consoles that have been at retail for more than half a decade.
In speaking with GameSpot during CES, Sony’s Director of Hardware Marketing John Koller explained that the company is not worried about the troubling sales performance of the PS Vita in Japan. At the 3:20 mark in GameStop’s interview above, Koller explains that the PS Vita has been received very well:
“If you look at the word-of-mouth factor, it’s really strong because people are bringing it home and really enjoying it…That satisfaction rate is really high. But also in terms of when we funnel in additional hardware units, that’ll dictate how many sales there are and how many sell through…
…We’re still in the first couple weeks, and we’re trying to get as many units into market as possible. We’re going to give it some time, but overall those numbers have been to forecast…”
Koller went on to explain that the PS Vita will benefit from a post-launch period that’s adorned with great software releases:
“What we really wanted to do, and I think we learned from past, most recent, handheld device launches, is that you don’t want to launch strongly and then go dark for three or four months and have nothing…So in subsequent months for Vita, we have launch, then we have MLB, then we got Mortal Kombat, then Resistance, then Little Big Planet, then Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed.”
I’ve found myself arguing the same points for the sake of the PS Vita’s western launch and future. However, after hearing what Koller has said, I wonder if Sony is concerning itself with the Japanese market at all with this hardware. There are no quint-essential Japanese games launching for the device. Plenty for the western world, yes, but the far east seems left out.
Which I find odd.
Should Sony be concerned by Japan’s hardware sales?