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Does The Press Have A Negative Impact On Vita Sales?

I'm not talking about the editorials that criticize Sony's new portable; I'm simply referring to the news headlines that indicate the slipping PlayStation Vita sales in Japan.

We've had them. All sources have had them. It's news; the Vita started with a bang and then tailed off. But it occurs to me that when someone logs on to search for information concerning the handheld, they're going to stumble across a hundred different headlines that are - by default - negative. Their not op-eds; they're just negative due to the numbers.

And even those numbers can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. Some will say the majority of interested gamers bought the Vita on launch day, and those who plan to wait will do just that- wait. Therefore, the dwindling sales numbers after the initial launch in Japan seem normal. But put aside the content of all the articles for a moment. Don't the headlines by themselves have some effect on the consumer? As much as people claim to be independent shoppers, as often as people will say they "don't follow the crowds," it's often astonishing to see how many paying customers will purchase a product just because a lot of other people did.

So if others are evidently avoiding said product, there's a part of us that says we should avoid it, too. It's not really anyone's fault, as news sources have to do their job and report the news, for better or worse. But maybe it's inevitable; maybe these headlines are having a definite negative impact on sales, in that those who might be on the fence do the research, only to find a product that may or may not be doing well. Even ambiguity doesn't do it for the consumer. They need to see something pretty damn popular. Of course, the Vita bashing articles aren't helping, either, but this isn't about them. That's a whole other subject.

In short, the worse the Vita sells, the more headlines there will be that may influence a consumer's decision, not based on the product's merits, but its popularity. ...or is that too cynical? Nah, just realistic.

Tags: vita, playstation vita, vita sales, vita news

1/8/2012 9:57:16 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (30 posts)

ZenChichiri
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 10:09:37 PM
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I agree. Call me a fickle consumer, but when all the negative headlines came out concerning the Vita, I was worried about the future of the console, albeit just a little. I still know that it's a great product and I really do want it, but it almost pushed me to change from a day 1 purchase to a wait and see attitude...almost!

The Vita has such potential as well as quite a nice launch lineup so it blows my mind that it isn't selling as well as it should. I hope when it hits Western audiences it sells better, especially considering the software is a little more tailored to our preference, but I have this unsettling feeling in my gut that negative press has been much too hard on the Vita already.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 10:10:51 PM
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Poor Velveeta, it has a lot of gadgets to compete with is all.

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JLB1
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 10:15:39 PM
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Well, remember the scare about the 3DS being damaging to childrens eyes? Everyone read the headline, but didn't read the article! In my opinion, yes, it does affect sales. Even when people do read the article, however, it still plays a major role on the consumers purchase. A few negatives, and the person may take it to heart and may reconsider purchasing said product. It always happens.

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godsman
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 10:53:16 PM
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PS Vita need their Monster Hunter franchise. That was the reason the sales tailed off. The other launch games are not must-haves for the portable.

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shadowpal2
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 5:19:43 PM

Monster Hunter wasn't a launch title for the VITA...but Monster Hunter for the VITA will come out sooner or later. There was an article just a bit back about the news.

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Marckon
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 11:12:21 PM
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everyone wants to be an expert and be on the smart side that is why they are "predicting" a vita demise. I have seen many reviews and first looks about the vita and mainly they are positive when they talk about hardware and software, but when they star talking about price and their thoughts about other people's feelings about the price, they somehow turn negative. If the hardware is good and if Sony has shown strong software support let ME worry about money, I can tell for myself what is expensive and what is not.

Sony shouldn't lower the price, but instead add value to the initial purchase. I seen in many places where people are asking for a 4g card and maybe a game that sells people on the new features - maybe little deviants is good choice. If Sony drops in price they will engage in a price war with nintendo so quickly after their launch and that will leave very little room for price maneuvering. Sony should stay strong in that price range and continue adding value.

On last thing can someone please explain to me why is people so fixed in seeing their console of choice ranked number one in regards to sells? Last I check these guys are here for profit and sometimes being first in sales doesn't always mean profits.

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Qubex
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 12:22:23 AM

Up to a point; watch sales explode when the price of the hardware comes down. I may be wrong, but that is what I feel will be the driver in the end... the overall price it will cost to get on-board the Vita bandwagon...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Jed
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 12:28:35 AM
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I ran into this problem just today. I finally went to GameStop to pre-order my Vita and the guy there said "are you sure?". I said yea why not? He replied that it was "bombing" in Japan. I told him to just take the damn money and have one ready for me at 11:59 PM on Feb 21st.

I know I want it, and the Japanese have somewhat different tastes in what games they play. It seems to me the launch lineup is more appealing to the westerners. So I definitely think it will do better stateside and in PAL territories.

P.S. What games are you looking foreward to the most on Vita?

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sawao_yamanaka
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 1:27:47 AM

Uncharted, umvc3 and hot shots golf.

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Beamboom
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 3:41:54 AM

If/when I get a Vita it will be because of Touch My Katamari. Also there was some talk about Mass Effect coming to Vita. If *that* happens, then one word: SOLD.

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/9/2012 3:42:24 AM

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Fane1024
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 6:40:14 AM

F***ing GameStop register biscuits. Any chance to push their (in this case, anti-Sony) agenda.

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Jed
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 3:24:01 PM

I'm looking foreword to Uncharted, Resistance, Wipeout, and LBP.

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Beamboom
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 2:14:07 AM
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I think it does.
If I were considering buying a Vita right now, I would have been worried about what impact the sales will have on the future support of the device.
Will developers cancel or delay their plans for Vita for now? That's what I would have been worried about these days.

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Highlander
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 4:14:51 AM
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This it what happened with the PS3. Negative spin caused a terrible reception. But the product ultimate won out. Vita can do the same, but unless the media give it a chance, they will all but kill it with their spin.

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Beamboom
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 4:58:54 AM

I'm not that pessimistic proving there is room for the Vita in the current market. Will it affect sales? In the short perspective I think so, but I don't think this "spin" of reporting the mere facts will *kill* the product (or the other way around; if that was all it took to kill it then it wasn't much hope for it in the first place).

There's also been a lot of good press, everything from the IGN staff mentioning it in all their "anticipated for 2012" articles and videos and being very excited about it to the very good reviews it has received elsewhere. So if there is a demand for these devices today (and that is a big IF to me) then I am pretty sure it eventually will get a foothold in the market just like you said, as the PS3 did.

But as I've said earlier, I am afraid the Vita is the "wrong product at the wrong time". And if *that* turns out to be the case then I am far more pessimistic, regardless if the sales numbers are reported or not.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/9/2012 5:04:15 AM

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Highlander
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 10:10:28 AM

I appreciate what you are saying Beamboom. However, look at the way that the PS3 has very much underperformed in the English speaking markets compared to the rest of the world. Those English speaking markets were the markets most exposed (in 2005/2006) to the extraordinarily negative spin surrounding the PS3. The Vita hasn't been subject to that kind of thing yet, but contrasting it's launch in Japan against the PS3s, the Vita had early teething troubles that required to be patched, and that generated negative press. Early sales were affected, and more negative stories ran, and sales went down even further.

We've seen the impact that negative press can have on a platform with the PS3 - especially in NA. I don't think it's a stretch to consider that negative media attention might have a detrimental effect on the Vita. I know that people always say that the 1 year lead is the biggest factor in the 360/PS3 disparity, but the trouble there is that lead was true everywhere, in particular in Europe where it was even longer. Yet it's in the US in particular that the PS3 lags behind, and it's really the NA and US market (and UK) in particular that had such negative coverage of the PS3 and Sony.

There's a connection there IMHO.

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Phoenix
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 7:18:58 AM
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Honestly I couldnt care less if other people didnt want to buy something, or if sale numbers are low, if I'm intrested in an item, I'll get it.


I think perhaps the reason vita's low numbers is because of the psp. Sony didnt support it that well, and it didnt help that it used UMDs, which were killed off pretty early in the psp's life cycle, and it could only use a sony brand mem card, which only has 2 uses, 1 for psp, and the other for sony camera, and they were crazy expensive when the psp hit, and didnt go down until near the end of the life cycle.


So, I think people are going to wait and see what sony does with the vita 1st before shelling out $250+( I know I'll be waiting)..... also, imo, the launch titles are pretty "meh" to me, I know this site has rabid uncharted fans, so again, that was my opinion.

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gumbi
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 8:16:00 AM
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I think that's a pretty realistic impression Ben; But for me, it was quite the opposite. I think the Vita has a ton of potential and I want it to be successful. So with all this negative press about it selling poorly in Japan I was spurred to go out an pre-order mine. I've never pre-ordered a console before, I always just get in line.

I really hope Vita has a good North American launch.

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Highlander
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 10:11:02 AM

I'll be leaping aboard the Vita train...

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Robochic
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 9:56:27 AM
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I'm preordering mine on Friday, I don't read negative press and if i do it doesn't change my mind unless it's drastic enough.
Best Buy in Canada is doing a sweet deal, if you preorder the Vita you get the UC Abyss game for free that sold me asap.

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JJJames
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 12:50:09 PM
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Still a day one purchase from me despite all the slagging off its getting :-)

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Excelsior1
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 4:30:14 PM
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Yes, ofcourse negative headlines affect sales. Let's try to frame this more accurately, however...if sales simply "trailed off" we, nor the gaming media would even be talking about this. That's not what has happened with the Vita at all to be blunt about it. It's the sharpness of the sales decline(close to 80%) that has attracted the attention of the gaming media.

I think it has had an impact on gamers. We kind of saw the 3DS go through the same thing albiet to a lesser degree. Decent launch but sharp erosions in weekly sales because gamers were not responding well to its price point or game line up. Erosions in sales lead to more negative headlines which in turn leads to more sales erosions. It kind of feeds itself in some ways.

The simple answer to the question is yes. I have no doubt that these negative headlines have many hanging back and waiting for a possible price cut.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 1/9/2012 4:32:51 PM

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Marckon
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 4:57:03 PM

Sony needs to act either announce the price cut to $199.99 or leave it as it is now but bundle in a game with 4g card. It is the uncertainty that worries people, many felt cheated when they heard the 3DS was getting a price cut, and with just reasons. The whole world saw that and that is why people don't want make that same mistake, but sony can reassure that their investment will not lose value in 6 months, but maybe well down the road. Staying quite is not helping while media is just having a field day with this dilemma.

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 11:27:49 AM

you mean that you want everyone to believe that gamers are hanging back waiting for a price cut so that you get a price cut? Sorry, that's actually the message I got from your post.

Seriously, people need to kill this entitlement attitude. Sony isn't going to drop the price of the thing to pander to you. Sales fell for a variety of reasons. I'm sure that they were expected to drop in week 2 simply because it was week 2. But there was also an element of backlash against the buggy initial units and then the negative stories about that, then the negative stories about it not selling well in week 2, and even more in week 3. Once the bugs are worked out and games start to flow, it will be fine. But Sony isn't likely to knee-jerk a reaction and cut their profitability even further to pander to entitlement minded gamers.

Personally, I'm sick to death of people whining that the $400 worth of electronics is too expensive for them and demanding that it cost only $199. Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs by demanding they cut their profitability to nothing so you can get your way? Whatever.

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Ignitus
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 5:32:18 PM
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I don't think it's becasue of bad press. Times have changed. That's all.

In Japan it sold, what? like half a million units in its first week and then they droped off to less than 100,000 the following week.

Half a million in a week! I think those are excelent numbers and the ones who bought them where the hardcore gamers/ early adopters. And that's it.

If vita wants better sales Sony must find a way to appeal to the mass consumers (read nonhardcore/casual) who happen to be mass buying iphones/ipads or other mobile gadgets.

Vita sales will improve once more games get released for it.

Times are changing and it seems the niche for dedicated portable gaming devices is shrinking.

Sidenote: I was interested in vita until I found out about the nonremovable battery and that was a deal breaker for me. I might as well get a PSP after the vita launches over here. Hopefully the PSP will get a price cut and I will use it to play PS1 RPG's.

Last edited by Ignitus on 1/9/2012 5:35:14 PM

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rockervi
Monday, January 09, 2012 @ 6:26:14 PM
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I initially misread the title as price, and my first reaction was "Absolutely".

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bamf
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 7:32:29 AM
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this morning i have been looking through my bank statement, seeing when bills were and will be paid during this month. Just basically weighing up what money i have. If the vita was launched during this month, i know I wont have the money for it. When you consider that money is tight, how many of us are in the same boat?
When vita launches over in EU and US on february, how many of us have the money to go out and buy it on launch day? Especially so soon after christmas. I think Sony is launching the vita too soon after christmas. They should have launched vita for the christmas sales when we are all buying, or waited a few more months longer after christmas.

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 11:28:50 AM

In NA, Jan-Apr is tax rebate season, there will be money.

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oldguy
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 3:44:38 PM
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I've always thought so. Whenever I see articles saying that something is doing poorly in sales I think to myself, "Well that's going to help sales!" (sarcastically). take apple products. the press talking about how much the iPhone 4s was selling on release only helped fuel hype.

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SS4
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 5:22:20 PM
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I dont care about the reviews, just like the DS and the PSP, ill wait for a few versions to come out so i can pick which i want and get a better price with a wide selection of game available when i do :P

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