It was the week that Vita seemed to live again. But all too quickly Sony’s ambitious handheld has been brought down to earth.
Sony has traditionally been coy about revealing Vita’s sales numbers, but be it deliberately or not the numbers were finally revealed at Gamescom last week, with PlayStation Germany boss Uwe Bassendowski revealing to Playfront that the machine has sold 2.2m units since its launch in Japan in December and in Europe/America in February.
And as compiled by a Neogaf user, this does not compare favourably to other formats.
At the same stage in its lifecycle, PSP had sold 5.05m units and the 3DS 6.68m. DS had shifted 6.65m units and the Game Boy Advance 9.58m.
Furthermore, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida has subsequently admitted to Andriasang that the fantastic Cross Buy initiative – which means those who buy a title for either PS3 or Vita receive the same game free if it’s available on the other system – is only confirmed for Europe at present.
Then PlayStation Europe’s chief executive Jim Ryan admitted to CVG that Cross Buy will not play as significant a role in the console’s fortunes as we might have hoped as "the development environments [for each machine] are rather different".
Added Ryan: "PS Vita is a more PC-based environment whereas the PS3 is a more bespoke development environment. So the cross-over between both platforms is rather limited."
Sony confirmed to MCV last week that it is to spend more marketing Vita this Christmas then it did for the machine’s launch in February. This is perhaps the biggest positive of all, of course.
Despite all the negative press and the disappointing sales, Vita remains the most technologically advanced games machine on the planet. With the right marketing – and perhaps a price cut? – it could still do the business.
It’s certainly a make or break period for the machine worldwide this Q4.
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