Now, I’ll be the first person to tell you that the PlayStation Vita is an awesome handheld system. Sure, it’s a bit heavy, and after a while my hands get that cramped-feeling you get when you hold them in a claw shape for too long. But with the outpouring of indie support with a decent slate of quality games on a store that hasn’t been flooded with garbage, the Vita is a device worth owning – sort of like the anti-iPad.
And yet, I’m still skeptical that Sony’s recent announcement that Vita systems are selling out isn’t much more than hot air.
It’s no secret that the Vita has been struggling ever since launch. Third-party developers have tried to bring the same console-quality experience and success to the handheld, and continue to drop support. Even Sony seems to be backing off a bit, still developing first-party titles, but ramping down production a bit. They seem to be re-positioning its handheld, not as a standalone device, but rather an expensive add-on to Sony’s immensely popular PlayStation 4 console.
This is perfectly fine for Sony to do, and it makes sense. But Sony’s recent trumpeting of its impressive sales is lacking one thing: actual sales numbers.
In fact, Sony hasn’t released sales numbers for the device at all, leaving people to speculate through imprecise channels how many consoles they’ve actually sold through to consumers. At the same time, Sony is gladly shouting from the mountaintops that they’ve sold seven million PlayStation 4′s as of April.
Why would they reveal the sales of one success but not the other? It’s likely that the lack of Vita consoles available is a result of increased demand, combined with a simple under-stocking of Vita consoles at retailers. And without hard numbers, there’s no way to know whether or not the Vita’s recent surge in popularity is a result of actual success, or it’s simply the result of PR maneuvering. Until Sony decides to make those numbers available, signs will likely continue to point to the latter.