With worldwide PlayStation Vita sales now outed as being exceptionally low, Reuters recently asked Sony’s CEO Kaz Hirai about the state of the new handheld. Hirai didn’t discuss any specific numbers, but did say that it is selling close to what they were expecting.
Kaz’s exact quote to the news outlet reads, “Worldwide, the Vita is pretty much along where we would expect it to be, maybe trending behind in certain territories,” Hirai refused to say which territories were “trending behind”, but a little math combined with known Vita sales shows that the territory he is referring to is Earth.
On August 20th life-to-date shipments to retailers of the handheld were said to be 2.2 million units worldwide. Consumer sales tracking outlet Media Create reported that as of the week ending August 19, 2012 total LTD Vita sales to consumers in Japan stood at 884,484 units.
What this means is that even if Sony sold through every single system shipped to Japan, which is highly unlikely, that would leave approximately 1.315 million units shipped to the North America and Europe. Assuming Sony split the shipments equally, that only leaves about 657,000 units shipped LTD to both territories.
Both North America and Europe are vastly larger video game markets than Japan, and no matter how you slice it the Japanese have bought the bulk of the Vita systems since launch. Based off of Hirai’s statement, this would mean that Japan is the one place where they are happy with sales, but that is also hard to believe.
For that same week ending August 19th, year-to-date sales of the Vita stood at 444,498 units. This is compared to 528,859 PSP units YTD, and a whopping 2.849 million 3DS units YTD.
If you take Hirai at his word, that means that Sony was fulling expecting the PlayStation Vita to launch, and then be completely shut out of the Japanese market by both their last-gen system and their biggest rival. If that is true, then there is only one question left to ask. Why make the thing in the first place?
My guess is that this is just Sony once again trying to cover up their failure and not wanting to admit that some part of the Vita was a huge mistake. It’s a fantastic piece of equipment, no doubt about it, but it’s one that consumers worldwide are not interested in.
If they can’t bring themselves to admit publicly that there is a huge problem, even when the elephant is clearly sitting in the room for all to see, then there is little hope that they will be able to turn the Vita around.