Despite the ongoing efforts to obscure PlayStation Vita sales numbers in their quarterly financial reports, the limited data available seemed to indicate that Sony’s handheld was gathering dust on retailer shelves. Thanks to a Sony executive at Gamescom last week, we now have some hard sales numbers to attach to the system, and things are far worse than most suspected.
Speaking to Playfront, the head of PlayStation Germany Uwe Bassedowski revealed that life-to-date PlayStation Vita shipments now stand at a mere 2.2 million units in Japan, Europe, and America combined.
To put some perspective on just how bad that is, Nintendo had shipped 6.68 million 3DS systems worldwide at the same point in its life, which at the time was widely considered to be a disappointing number. That works out to about three times more than current Vita shipments.
These dismal LTD shipments also put the Vita well off pace from the PSP (5.06 million units shipped during the same period), the DS (6.65 million units), and the GameBoy Advance (9.58 million units).
It is clear now that the PlayStation Vita badly needs a price cut, which would put it in a better position compete with the Nintendo 3DS. Unfortunately, a significant price reduction is highly unlikely due to Sony’s poor financial position. That leaves their other marketing efforts, like the Cross Buy program, as the only answer to boost sales. Cross Buy is a great idea, but it hardly seems like the kind of thing that will make or break a system.
It’s impossible to say for sure that the handheld is doomed, and it’s certainly possible that Sony will find a way to turn things around for the powerful system. With that said, if there was ever a machine poised to jump off the edge of discontinued cliff, it’s the PlayStation Vita. Hopefully, Sony will be able to talk it down.