Sony's downward spiral isn't being helped by its PlayStation Vita portable game console, which is being pulverized by its primary competitor, the Nintendo 3DS, in the electronic giants' homeland. Last week the Vita sold just 4,201 units while the Nintendo 3DS sold 187,077.
The PS Vita's lack of compelling content could be the main culprit. "The Vita had no new releases last week, and none of its games appear in the top 30 chart. There are, by comparison, fourteen 3DS games," writes Gamasutra's Frank Cifaldi.
On October 29th, third party game publisher Square-Enix revealed that the 3DS will receive a complete remake of Dragon Quest VII (originally released on the Sony PlayStation in 2000) in February of next year. The Dragon Quest series, which dates back to 1986, is the most popular role-playing game franchise in Japan, having sold 58 million units worldwide as of March 2011. Combine that with the latest version of Capcom's Monster Hunter series, another exclusive slated for the 3DS, and you have a killer combo that Japanese gamers can't resist.
According to Media Create's hardware sales charts, in the year to date the 3DS has outsold the Vita by a factor of 6-to-1 in Japan, with 3,620,298 units, compared to Vita's 585,706.
According to Agence France Press, Sony's shares have fallen to 775 yen (US$9.55) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this week. The value has been driven down from its peak of 16,950 yen (US$208.85) in 2000 – the year the PlayStation 2 was released.
The Nintendo 3DS ran into some trouble of its own back when it launched, but the company was quick to turn the tide with a significant price cut. It further placated early adopters by giving them free games via its downloadable service. At this point Sony would do well to follow suit, and should do everything in its power to secure more exclusive content of its own.