It’s a sad state of affairs, but there’s no denying that the PS Vita is struggling at retail. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere in a blog post here on the site that the Vita has been relegated to little more than token shelf space in retailers not only throughout the UK but across the world. Whether it’s dedicated games stores or the wider retail industry, it seems that our favourite handheld is being forgotten about and certainly brushed aside in comparison to the DS and 3DS. In order for the Vita to grow in popularity and gain a new audience it needs a strong retail presence both in terms of hardware and software.
At the same time, I’m sure that many of us have gone into our favourite game stores and been disappointed at the limited choice of games on offer. Regardless of whether you’re looking for AAA titles or just to buy a new or pre-owned boxed PS Vita game, there’s no denying that finding anything appealing is getting harder without having to ask stores to specifically order games in that you want. However, things can change and we as Vita owners can help to make this happen but it is something that needs us all to take action collectively to show the retail industry that there is interest in the Vita and that we want to see games in the stores and that we’re willing to buy them.
So what am I asking? In them immediate short term (or longer I hope!) is for every PS Vita owner reading this to go to their nearest video game store between now and the end of July – whether it’s a small independent retailer or a branch of one of the major chains like GAME, GameStop, Grainger Games or any other – and buy at least one boxed PS Vita game. This may not seem like it will make a difference and for all of you reading this and thinking that an indivudual you’re correct… but what if every Vita owner did that? Whatever country you live in, if every PS Vita owner purchased just one game, no matter what price, new or old that could account for over 7 million sales – a sobering thought.
Even on a smaller scale, it’s clear that almost everyone who owns a Vita knows at least one other person who also owns a Vita so spreading the word to other Vita gamers to play an active part in this isn’t difficult and looking at the current stock levels of Vita games in stores, it’s not beyond the realms of possibilities that collectively we could completely empty stores of their stocks of Vita games if we wanted to. My four closest branches of GAME have an average of around 30-40 games in stock (including duplicates) – it certainly wouldn’t take long to clear this stock out with enough commitment. Now, imagine the message that this would send, not only to retailers but to Sony and publishers as well?
But what will this achieve? As I said in my blog, if stores see gamers buying games for the Vita on a regular basis it’s only a matter of time before more titles will be stocked in stores, more shelf space will be dedicated to the console and in turn it will show to potential buyers that the Vita is a genuine alternative to the 3DS for those who are undecided as to what format to buy. As for publishers, if there is real evidence that games are selling at retail then more will be likely to risk developing games for retail release and give gamers more of the AAA titles that they have been craving.
It has to be said that even though Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has now confirmed that Sony are cutting back on their own development of AAA titles for the PS Vita this doesn’t mean that this is a wasted exercise by the Vita community. Without strong retail support – whether Sony see the future of Vita lying with indie titles or not – it still needs to see software and hardware at retail and stores simply won’t stock the console if there are no games to back it up; publishers will only release games at retail if they sell; and games will only sell at retail if we – the gamers – show our support and are able to find them in the first place. It’s a trap that the Vita is caught in right now but the only way that this cycle can be broken and more titles can be seen at retail is for us to speak out with our wallets.
So I’m asking this of all PS Vita owners everywhere… just one game. If we can all do it, it will make a difference. Vita owners, it’s in your hands…
Site Editor, Vita Player
And as a footnote to this, let us know what you have bought and where from, just so we can see where the Vita os getting some public appreciation!