news\ Jan 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

PlayStation Vita's confusing options and weak launch incentives hurting sales?

PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita has received a lot of criticism since its release in December - the majority focused on lower-than-expected sales.  While some consider the criticism to be unwarranted and overblown, others are simply just looking for an answer as to why sales didn't balloon as predicted.

From software sales to unit sales, the PS Vita has been outsold its biggest competitor, the Nintendo DS.  After a good, but not great opening weekend which saw the PS Vita sell 320,000 units, sales dropped dramatically the following week with Sony able to move only 72,000 units.  This ultimately lead to doomsday predictions in which CNET predicted the Vita would not launch in the U.S. and retailers in Japan giving the Vita unofficial price cuts.

Regardless of how you may feel of the PS Vita, odds are it's not going anywhere.  Sony has invested way too much into it to give up - regardless of early sales.  Even with the "slow" start, some analysts have predicted that the PS Vita's first 3-month sales would be better than the 3DS's first 3-month sales.

So how will they do it?  In a recent "Sony PlayStation's New Year's Resolutions" feature on IndustryGamers, David Cole of DFC Intelligence, offered his opinion for why people are rushing out the buy the PlayStation Vita.

Cole admits, "The Vita also looks like a strong contender as it has a reasonable price point now in the time of expensive tablet systems."

Cole does point out the Vita's two biggest flaws to this point: confusing options and little incentive.

"However, features like a 3G option may only confuse consumers.  Of course, once again initial content will be limited so there will not be much incentive for consumers to rush and get the device before prices drop and the library builds."

Personally, I disagree with his statements.  I think it all comes down to price.  It's still too expensive for consumers and I think the launch line-up is as strong as it could be.  With games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush expected at the U.S. launch (via leaked documents), what more could you ask for?  Except for slightly lower prices.  Games range from $30-$50 and the recently discovered 3G data plans from AT&T.

It doesn't matter how great the games are.  The Vita caters to a more hardcore audience, but the majority of mobile players are casual gamers who are just as happy playing $1 Angry Birds game for hours.

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