PS Vita Sales drop 75% in second week – oops!

via The Telegraph

Now, I know it’s a bit early for doom and gloom and yes, sales nosedive after a launch so we can’t wholly expect it to be doubling numbers each week. That would be ridiculous.

That said, it’s certainly not what Sony wanted – The Vita, for all its pomp and ceremony, is a massive technical and financial gamble for them. Let’s gloss over the simple fact the Vita sells at a loss because financially, value can be added by increased sales figures to compensate the losses on technical components.

The Vita has been a bit of a fudged release, at a time when Sony really could afford some good luck. The Vita has had numerous technical issues – not least units permanently damaged before a user even opens the box with marked screens, dodgy parts and testy batteries. This, in a country that loves its technology like Japan does, is almost unforgivable – the Japanese may be more willing to stick with something, but they have expectations on quality from the outset. And what is wrong with that?

Also, the launch lineup for the Vita has what many in Japan have described as having “a distinctly Western flavor”. Uncharted is far more of a name here in the West, whilst the usually bankable Ridge Racer has fallen from grace for its shocking lack of content. More Japanese-flavoured titles are launch window titles, due out by the end of Q1 2012.

These are two very good reasons why the Vita may have stumbled a little on its path into the market. It’s a two-pronged attack that consumers, no matter their nationality, simply aren’t in the mood for – they just expect better really.

But the third reason may simply be that Sony don’t have the same pulling power that they once counted on.

This isn’t to say the Sony brand is beyond recovery, but year on year losses shouldn’t be blamed on ambitious tech or their gaming sector – Sony as a whole have been slowly losing ground for years. Vaio laptop battery woes. Their television market has been swallowed up by Samsung, LG and Panasonic. The PS3 PR debacle, and the PSN Fiasco still fresh in our minds, may contribute to it as well.

Sony need to stop relying on tech and their name to draw the punters in. It may have worked for a while, but we’re in a new era of gaming and, much is the way of things, Sony aren’t alone in the market – below, they have the 3DS, selling 400,000 units in one week. Above them, they have the behemoth of Apple and the iPad to contend with.

Nintendo proved earlier this year that a release without relevant games and content to back it up doesn’t get things off to a flying start. But Nintendo were fortunate not only to have financial reserves to draw on, but that the market was still more or less barren and they could stake their ground.

Sony and the Vita have come in, arguably, a little late to be able to wheel out the same mistake.

But, let us be clear. When the Vita gets killer games – much like the 3DS – the systems should start to fly off the shelves. That’s just how things are. Why buy a games machine where the games are either not for your market tastes or just poorly rushed titles to try and give you something, anything, even if it is a bit pants?

You don’t. More of us buy a games machine for a game, fewer people buy in anticipation of a game.

When Vita gets more games, sales will pick up. But it is a lesson, sad to say, that Sony should have learned already – not least because their rivals in the market, Nintendo, made the same mistake earlier in 2011. It’s not that long ago to have forgotten about it…

Those who do not learn the lessons there for them are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

Sony – you have been warned.

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