Even in Japan--where the handheld system is king--the Vita struggles to make a mark
The PSP may not have made a huge impression in the US, but in Japan, it was a go-to system for developers familiar with PS2 hardware. Despite having a strong library and being the most powerful handheld system of its time, it still "only" held a respectable second place against the juggernaut popularity of Nintendo's DS.
That unfortunately doesn't seem to be the case with its successor, the PlayStation Vita. In Japan, where the popularity of portable gaming far outstrips console gaming, the Vita is off to a rocky start. It's not quite like the 3DS' rocky start, either--the initial shipment of 400,000 3DS systems sold out at its Japanese launch, but then sales petered out to about 30,000 per week due to a less-than-impressive launch lineup and a lack of standout, must-have titles, the quality of Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars notwithstanding.
Not long after, the 3DS quickly regained momentum in Japan, first with the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time 3D, then with its timely price cut and the Ambassador Program, and finally with the rapid-fire release of several high-profile third-party titles like Resident Evil: Revelations. Even in the US, the 3DS has picked up steam, doing better than the original DS did in its first year.
With that kind of competition, you'd think that Sony's new handheld would be making similar strides, especially in a gaming scene that appreciates handheld hardware. That doesn't seem to be the case, as the Vita's sales steadily decline week after week.
Japanese launch week: 324,859 units
Second week: 72,479
Third week: 42,648
Fourth week: 42,915
Fifth week: 18,361
Sixth week: 15,219
Seventh week: 18,942
Eighth week: 17,141
Current week's sales: 13,939
Compare that to this week's Japanese sales of the 3DS, which moved 75,018 units, with Sony's PS3 at 23,293 and the supposedly-retired PSP outdoing its successor with 15,847 units.
An anonymous source has even gone so far as to reportedly tell Japanese news site Nikkei that "major Japanese companies are cancelling all projects for Vita and are changing development to 3DS." Sony responded, denying the claim and calling it "extremist."
I personally think it's too early to sound the death knell of a system that's only been out a few months in Japan, but you have to admit that it's pretty shocking. Are Sony's unusual choices in hardware, like 3G support and a rear touchscreen, to blame for this? Is it a currently-lacking library? Or is it something else? What do you think?