While many of you are undoubtedly excited for the Vita to release in the US this week, numbers in Japan have indicated a cool reception to the handheld overall. A quote in the Nikkei newspaper (Japanese text) further indicates a lack of interest in Japan, claiming that high-level Japanese developers are leaving the Vita to focus development on the 3DS.
Gamasutra Reporter Christian Nutt approached Sony's senior vice president of Worldwide Studios Scott Rohde about the quote and got a rise out of him.
"I know many, many, many third party developers and publishers are feverishly working on Vita titles, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future. […] You can, whatever — rewind two years ago. Every developer was you knew was selling — going towards — I was going to say 'selling their soul', it almost came out — to go build games for Zynga and the Facebook platform. And there's another time when you see everyone is going to do smaller iPad games, or iOS games in general. Then it was PS3, it was 360, it's Vita, it's 3ds. It's always, constantly changing. It's not something that concerns me whatsoever."
It should be noted that the report of large Japanese developers canceling their Vita projects is a rumor from a trusted source of the newspaper. It's also terribly naive to call a new system from a major company a failure before it's even available worldwide.
Still, Vita sales have not been improving in Japan. Since its release I have been casually asking the staff of various electronics stores if they have Vitas in stock, and always get a quick, "yep." I see more and more DSes and PSPs on the train being replaced by 3DSes, but I have only seen one Vita in the wild.
Just my two cents.