Anyone who spends time on video-game forums or websites has seen the countless threads announcing Sony's demise and that the PlayStation Vita will be a massive flop due to early Japanese sales figures for the portable. The same was being said about the Nintendo 3DS after it was released and failed to meet sales expectations. Some are pointing to Sony's tactics for the Vita, including the lack of onboard memory for saving data, overpriced memory cards, and the expensive price tag for the Wi-Fi model (even more expensive for the 3G model). Others believe the strong mobile-device market has cut into the dedicated-handheld segment quite a bit. Then there are those who simply say this is Nintendo's continued dominance at work when it comes to the handheld industry.
Either way, the general consensus is that the Vita is going nowhere and fast. It failed to break Nintendo's release numbers with the 3DS and had a sharper sales drop-off than the 3DS did. Overall, Sony isn't moving units the way people expected, so it isn't hard to see why most people are drawing negative conclusions.
I'm here to say that I see a bright future for the Vita.
We're still early in the Vita's life cycle in Japan, and at the moment, the new handheld is competing against the 3DS, which has recently hit its stride with a steady flow of games to keep everyone happy. Nintendo's biggest hitters are now out with Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 already moving past the million-units-sold marker. Plus, we can't forget that Monster Hunter Tri-G has also hit the scene, moving more than one million units too. As we saw with the PSP, the Monster Hunter series sells systems in Japan. With every release of Monster Hunter on the PSP, a noticeable upswing in PSP sales would follow. That same effect is in full swing for the Vita, and Nintendo knew this when they got Capcom to bring the franchise over to their side.
Sony is also competing against themselves in the handheld market with the PSP still selling incredibly well. Not to mention the PSP has had many major releases this year in Japan with games like Monster Hunter Freedom 3, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and Final Fantasy Type-0 hitting store shelves. The PSP is selling well, moving both hardware and software while the Vita is still the market newcomer. Yes, the system has an impressive launch lineup, but it doesn't have some of the big series mentioned above.
Another thing working against Vita at the moment is Nintendo's updated 3DS marketing strategy. The gaming giant dropped the 3D handheld's price by a significant margin, offered 20 free downloadable games to those who paid full price, and came back strong with an impressive lineup of titles and plenty of support. People are probably holding out for such a move from Sony as well, and if things continue this way, it very well could happen.
At the end of the day, Sony isn't going to stand idly by and watch the Vita sink. Nintendo has shown the entire world how to bring a system back that many were claiming was dead in the water. Sony did the very same thing with the PlayStation 3 after months of lackluster sales, and now the PS3 is hot on the heels of the Xbox 360 in terms of worldwide sales. Sony has spent plenty of money bringing the Vita to life, and thinking they wouldn't do much to save their product is foolish and insane. They might need to tweak some things to get everyone excited — like bundling a memory card with each unit.
The Vita is here to stay, and Sony is going to do everything they can to see it live on.
Some are already calling it a failure after only a few weeks? This isn't over by a long shot.
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