The Playstation Vita hit stores in Japan on December 17th, 2011. Since then, sales performances for the powerful little handheld have been… "Not meeting expectations" would be a mild way of stating it.
This week, Weekly Famitsu covered the past 6 months of the Vita's fight in the game market. As of July 7th, the Vita has sold a total of 790,633 units. Compared to the 3DS that leads the console pack with 6,472,484 units sold, that's pretty abysmal, considering the Vita came out only 8 months after the 3DS. Launch week was the most fruitful for the Vita, marking up over 300,000 units sold, but the numbers dropped dramatically over the following week, settling at just over 10,000 units a week after 5 weeks out in the market. Since then, the Vita has managed to maintain a fairly steady pace of roughly 10,000 units a week. The only major spikes in sales have been recent with the release of Persona 4: The Golden (over 30,000 units sold that week) and the Crystal White model Vita (over 20,000 units sold that week).
Software-wise, the Vita has yet to have a million seller in Japan. The top selling game for the PS Vita has been Persona 4: The Golden with 188,782 copies sold (No info as to whether this number contains online sales as well). While the number 1 game, Persona 4: The Golden is a recent release (June 14th), the number 2 game at 118,985 copies sold is Everybody's Golf 6 which was released last year and on launch day (December 17th)… That should be something of a troubling fact to Sony.
At present, sales for the Vita are fairly stable. Last week had the Vita selling 11,544 units. Compared to the majority of other consoles, that's relatively good in terms of numbers. The only consoles to outsell the Vita were the PS3, with 14,297 units, and (of course) the 3DS with 51,930 units. Unfortunately, when you look at the fact that the PSP, a 7 year-old console, sold 10,627 units, reality kind of sinks in heavily.
User feedback from Vita owners on the whole has been positive. In a questionnaire to users, nearly 70% of responders said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the Vita (790 valid responses) showing that the Vita itself is on the whole, a very solid system. The graphics are gorgeous, the system and controls are solid (after a few initial hiccups), and a great deal of advancements and improvements can be seen from lessons learned in the past. Overall, the console holds a great deal of potential. But potential doesn't sell a game console. The Sega Dreamcast was considered ahead of its time in many aspects, but it only enjoyed a shelf-life of less than 4 years… When asked what they would like to see for the Vita in the future, over 70% of users responded that they want a larger software lineup, showing, what is quite obviously, the Vita's greatest weakness.
Long story short: Put out stronger games, Sony.
Note: SCEJ Marketing & Online Service Senior Vice President, Katsumi Oikawa has stated in an interview that for this year's Tokyo Game Show, Sony "will be focusing more on the PS Vita." Hopefully, we'll see the Vita pick up steam in the days to come.