I'm sure that some of you will look at today's news of yet another sales dip for Sony's PlayStation Vita in Japan as a harbinger of doom for the young handheld, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, the facts...
Weekly hardware sales figures put the Vita at number four on the Japanese charts with 18,361 sold, which leaves it trailer behind its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, with 22,538 units sold. The figures come from Media Create, via Andriasang.
Is the Vita a failing piece of hardware, as some might have you believe after looking at these numbers? It's really early to be asking a question like that, so the easy answer at this point is "no." It hasn't exactly been a blockbuster launch so far, but try to remember that the Vita is only available in a limited number of territories. More importantly, the selection of games available for it continues to be quite limited. Things are going to stay that way too until the wider global release happens next month.
Remember that the Vita launched at the tail end of a very crowded holiday season with a limited software lineup. There are some unquestionably solid launch titles, certainly better than what the 3DS launched with last year, but the cost of a Vita plus a few new games sets gamers back a lot more than 3DS and PSP titles for devices they already own. It's telling that the top-selling software title for last week was a PSP game (Super Robot Taise OG Saga Masou Kishin II, 'natch) and the four below it are all 3DS games. Not a single Vita release made the charts.
Time will tell. I've already seen for myself that Sony has a strong piece of hardware coming our way in February; read our PlayStation Vita import preview if you'd like to read more.