“But N, there’s a supply shortage in Japan following their successful launch!” So after two booming days for Sony’s next-generation handheld after its debut in Japan, the PlayStation Vita’s sales fell by 78% week-over-week to nearly last place, behind the 3DS and the original PSP. While a shortage is implied, bear in mind that the Japanese audience has also been traditionally wired for first day/first week releases, which is how it’s been able to set such amazing entertainment records in those categories. A front-loaded release isn’t really out of the ordinary. The problem is: does the Vita have legs?
We’ve talked about it before, but the PSVita is essentially the last branch of an evolutionary tree. The stand-alone dedicated gaming machine’s importance is being whittled away by Android and iOS, which now constitute the majority of revenues in the mobile gaming space. That’s right, for every dollar spent on portable gaming, $.58 cents are going to Android and iOS developers. Sony and Apple have traditionally taken the role of ‘we’re going to ship something and you’re going to like it’, which has worked in Sony’s favor over the years when their proprietary formats have won, but have failed miserably when they lost. It’s much more difficult for them to change their memory production lines than it is to simply tell a bunch of engineers to work on a new piece of software. While the Vita seems like a confident piece of kit, its heart definitely seems in the wrong place.
We’ll get our chance to tour it early next year when it arrives in the US and Europe.