You may have heard recently that the PlayStation Vita isn't doing too well in Japan. The handheld has seen huge drops in sales each week since it launched, but after a recent announcment from Sony's Kaz Hirai, things may not be quite as 'doom and gloom' as they may have seemed.
At the Consumer Electronics Show today, Hirai revealed that as of January 5th, the PlayStation Vita has already sold 500,000 units. It should be made clear that these numbers are only representative of Japanese sales, as the handheld has yet to launch outside Sony's home territory.
From what can be pieced together then, it seems the Vita is doing quite similarly to the Nintendo 3DS during its first few months in the Japanese market. That might not seem like a very intriguing fact, but it wasn't too long ago that fans on either side of the competition were claiming that their handheld would crush that of the competition. So far, that just isn't the case. And with the Vita boasting a more compelling launch line-up, the odds could be in Sony's favor.
It will be interesting to see how the Vita will fair when it reaches North America and Europe, especially considering that the PSP and handheld gaming traditionally have a much larger following in Japan. With the handheld hopefully bringing Netflix support when it launches in North America, we just hope that it and other non-gaming applications will convince people to keep their eyes on what looks to be a stellar device.
During their keynote, Sony also revealed that over 6.5 million units of PlayStation hardware was sold during the holidays in 2011. This number refers to sales of the PS3, PSP, PS2 and PS Vita, although Sony unfortunately did not offer a more detailed breakdown. In any case, it's a true testament to the staying power of the PS2 that even after all of these years it's still a money-maker for Sony - a fact we are all reminded of at each year's E3.
It's curious that Sony did not include peripherals such as the Move into their holiday sales figure, since sales of the motion controller couldn't have been so dismal as to not even warrant mentioning. Sony's invested quite a fair amount into the Move, and their reluctance to share numbers really is disheartening. Let's hope that the Vita's North American/European launch will make up for any slow moving products in the PlayStation line up.
Update: Contrary to what was said throughout the post, Sony later did reveal a more detailed breakdown. The PS3 moved 3.9 million units during the holidays, with the PSP selling 1.6 million units. Sony also released figures for the Move, saying that they sold 1.7 million units during the holiday period. Despite my earlier fears, it seems the Move is doing pretty well for Sony, even if it's not selling Kinect numbers.
Gamers in North America and Europe will be able to pick up their very own Vita when it's released on February 22, 2012.
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