In an attempt to put a positive spin on the PlayStation Vita‘s lackluster performance at retail, Sony has armed PlayStation’s Director of Product Planning and Platform Software Innovation Don Mesa (who must have one whopper of a business card) with several statistics about the struggling handheld. The most interesting bit of information in the stats is that a significant portion of Vita software sales occur digitally over the PlayStation Network.
“I know there’s been a lot of noise about Vita recently,” Mesa told IGN. “There were some negative impressions and so forth. One thing we haven’t had the opportunity to do is talk about how our Vita owners are feeling about the platform. It’s a good gut check for all of us, to know what’s happening now.”
The first bit of information that Mesa tossed out as an example as to how well the Vita is performing was that users “are embracing the PlayStation Store on the device and finding it very easy to download and get their games”. This ease of use, according to Mesa, has resulted in one third of all Vita software sales happening digitally.
While one third of total software sales is nothing to simply write off, the number is not anywhere near as impressive as Sony is making it out to be. The company has not provided any hard sales numbers, but we do know that Vita software is not exactly making a big splash at retailers — which by their own admission account for two thirds of all software sales. NPD’s February sales data showed Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time as the highest selling Vita title at #9, and that feat included an unknown number of PS3 versions of the game. Additionally, in Japan Vita software rarely tracks more than a handful (if any) of titles in the top 20.
Basically, one third is an impressive percentage of a relatively small number of total video game sales.
By far, the best news that Mesa had for Vita owners was that Sony is planning for the release of over 100 games for the handheld this year. Many of those are upcoming indie games (like Hotline Miami and Lone Survivor), but there are also some unannounced first-party titles in the works.
Hopefully, Sony is able to keep their word on all the upcoming software, because that (along with price cuts) is the only thing that will turn the Vita around.