Sony’s handheld business struggles as Nintendo 3DS outsells PS Vita 47-to-1

ps vita price drop

The PlayStation Vita is not lighting the video game market on fire with swift sales and widespread developer support. In fact, it’s not even sparking. The metaphorical combustion power of the PS Vita is roughly comparable to that of a waterlogged beach towel. Even in Japan, Sony’s home territory and a market where the positively ancient PlayStation Portable handheld continues to sell, the PS Vita is struggling. How badly is it struggling? Nintendo is selling forty-seven Nintendo 3DSs for every one PS Vita Sony sells.

According to Japanese sales tracking firm Media Create (via NeoGAF), the Nintendo 3DS outsold the PS Vita 47-to-1 between Nov. 5 and Nov. 11. Nintendo sold a total of 187,077 3DS consoles whereas Sony sold just 4,021.

In fairness, the numbers aren’t terribly surprising in light of the week’s new releases. There was no marquee release on Sony’s handheld, while Nintendo released Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the first handheld entry in its incredibly popular life simulator series since 2005’s Animal Crossing: Wild World for Nintendo DS. That game sold more than 11.5 million copies in its first six years on shelves so naturally this new entry helped give the 3DS its astounding lead over PS Vita.

These abysmal weekly sales are just one more sign of Sony’s imperiled portable gaming business. The PS Vita has been selling poorly on a consistent basis almost since its release. In December 2011, the PS Vita debuted in Japan with a modest 325,000 units sold during its first week on shelves. Sales fell nearly 80 percent one week later, though, and despite an occasional surge following new releases Sony has failed to build any momentum behind the Vita.

Sony’s quarterly earnings report on Nov. 1 painted the most dire portrait of its handheld business. Between July and the end of September, Sony sold just 1.6 million PSPs and PS Vitas combined. That’s compared to 1.7 million PSPs over the same period the year before.

Can Sony repair its damaged portable business by dropping the price of the Vita just like Nintendo did for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011? At this point, a price drop may not be enough. While lowering the 3DS’ price from $250 to $170 certainly helped Nintendo convince people to buy the system, it was the release of games like Monster Hunter in Japan and Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 in the global market that really fueled that device’s turnaround. Sony doesn’t have a single announced game for the PS Vita that commands the same size audience as those titles.

Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Computing

Wi-Fi helps connect all of our devices at high-speed, but what exactly is it?

What is Wi-Fi? It's a technology we all use everyday to connect all of our portable devices, but understanding how it works and how far it's come from its humble beginnings is another thing entirely.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Gaming

A beginner’s guide to Far Cry New Dawn’s postapocalyptic Hope County

Far Cry New Dawn is yet another entry in Ubisoft's popular open world shooter franchise. But while it may feel quite similar in motion, the progression system is changed in a lot of ways. Our beginner's guide is here to help.
Gaming

Learn to scavenge like a pro with our Far Cry New Dawn crafting guide

Far Cry New Dawn revolves around the hunt -- the hunt for materials to craft new weapons, vehicles, and other useful items. It's easy to miss out on great opportunities to find new materials if you don't go off the beaten path.
Gaming

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.
Gaming

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Gaming

Scalebound could be revived for Switch following Xbox One cancellation

Microsoft canceled the Xbox One and PC exclusive Scalebound more than two years ago, but a new report claims Scalebound could have found a new home as an exclusive on Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Clear up some space on your Xbox One hard drive for the latest games

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step.