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Vita sales top 2.2 million, still far behind 3DS

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(Credit: Getty Images)

Nintendo seems to once again be winning the battle of the handheld gaming systems.

Sony reports it has sold 2.2 million PlayStation Vitas worldwide through June 30th. That's not a bad figure, but it falls woefully short of the 17 million 3DS units that have been sold.

Granted, it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, since the 3DS went on sale a full year before the Vita. But even with the time frame adjustment, Nintendo has gained a big lead on its competition.

The Vita sold roughly 400,000 units worldwide in May and June (combined), but has sold just 1 million units total since late February.

The system continues to suffer from a handful of problems. Criticism for the system's software lineup remains intense, even after the company shined its marketing spotlight on the Vita and upcoming titles at its recent pre-Gamescon press event, including in-production games from LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule and a new entry in the Killzone franchise.

Price is another big concern. The Vita costs $250 — a good $80 more than the standard model 3DS -- and Sony officials say there will be no price cut this year. That's a much different approach than Nintendo took with the 3DS when its sales failed to live up to expectations. Though investors weren't thrilled with the decision to slash the price by $80 just four months into its life cycle, the action kickstarted sales in a big way (the 3DS sold more hardware in its first year than the Nintendo DS during its launch year). Complicating things for both systems, of course, is the iPhone, which has continued to eat into the market for all dedicated handheld systems.

But Sony has consistently pointed out that the PlayStation 3 survived a bumpy start — and it expects that to be true of the Vita as well.

"Anything with great rewards is going to come with great challenges," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, in mid-June. "We felt if the tech was there, and the game support was there, then the audience would be there. … I feel much better about it now than I did four months ago."

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