Japanese sales of the PlayStation Vita have jumped following a region-exclusive price drop.
Things could be looking up for the PlayStation Vita. Long plagued by underwhelming retail figures, Vita sales in Japan saw a fairly dramatic increase following Sony's decision to lower its price in the region. Speaking at an event, Sony Japan president Hiroshi Kawana told audience members that Vita sales had quadrupled since the price drop was introduced at the end of February.
This is rare positive news for the Vita, which has struggled since its launch. Sony has had to slash its projections for the handheld, and CEO Kaz Hirai admitted in January that sales have been "on the low end of what we expected." It's an admission that could be seen by some as an understatement, especially in light of the success of the Vita's competitors. Nintendo's 3DS, during one week in 2012, sold forty-seven times as many units as the Vita and regularly trounces it in worldwide sales charts.
If the boost in Japanese sales remains consistent, it may be a confirmation of what many have seen as the main cause behind the Vita's sluggishness: its price. The Vita, with a game and memory card, can cost more than a new PS3. With the worldwide economy still deep in recession it's a luxury many gamers can't afford. Even a small price drop (the Japanese price fell only about $50) could be enough to help the Vita become a more viable product. Whether or not Sony will extend the discount to the rest of the world is now the question.
The company might do well to remember its own history while deciding how to answer. PS3 sales were similarly slow until its price fell, and the Nintendo 3DS, which launched at the same price as the Vita, also endured its own slow period until Nintendo opted to lower its sticker price.