Articles tagged with sales

May
13
Posted by James at 09:33
Inti Creates weren't the only publisher to share Nintendo Switch sales data, as the CEO of Nippon Ichi Software America, Takuro Yamashita, recently spoke to MCV UK about how Disgaea 5 Complete has been performing globally.

The game's western release has accumulated 114,000 pre-orders ahead of its launch later this month, with two thirds of those coming from North America (78,000 pre-orders) and the remaining third from Europe (36,000).

This was far from most people's wildest expectations for the title, including my own, given the game's tepid reception at Switch launch in Japan. Indeed, Mr. Yamashita stated that the game has yet to break 20,000 sales in the region.

What's intriguing is that this demand for Disgaea 5 Complete in Europe and North America suggests a widening gap between sales of Nippon Ichi Software's games in Japan and copies sold from players in the rest of the world.

In February last year, a year after Disgaea 5 launched on PS4 outside of Japan, NIS revealed to Famitsu that non-Japan sales of Disgaea 5 stood at 112,000, while Japanese sales reached 60,000 units. That's a ratio of 2 copies sold in Europe, North America and non-Japan Asia for every copy sold in Japan, but the Switch version performance suggests that gap is widening, something NIS America hadn't anticipated to happen with the Switch version.

Based on these figures shared by the publisher, the Switch version of the game is on track to swiftly outperform first-year sales of the PS4 version outside of Japan in a matter of days after it launches on May 26. Hopefully this signals more support for Nintendo's hybrid going forward - we've yet to hear a peep out of some publishers, like Spike Chunsoft...
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May
12
Posted by James at 15:13
Speaking at the Tokyo Sandbox game developer event/mixer today, Inti Creates gave some insight into the development of 3DS and Switch release Blaster Master Zero. The reimagining of NES darling sidescrolling platforming/shooter hybrid Blaster Master took 35 people six months to make before arriving just in time for the Switch's launch day in Japan.

We also heard about the game's sales performance on the eShop; the Switch port of the game has currently racked up 80,000 copies sold. We weren't told whether this met Inti Creates' own expectations, but this is a fairly respectable figure for what was presumably a version of the game bolted on fairly late in development.

There are tell-tale signs that this was indeed the case: The Switch version of the game inherits the 3DS's strange 5:3 aspect ratio, and the game uses non-integer scaling to scale up to both 720p and 1080p resolutions, so it's fairly clear that the game wasn't originally planned to be on Switch.

In any case, 80,000 sales for the Switch version alone should have net Inti Creates a tidy amount of revenue and would have almost certainly justified the cost of the port. Whether the game sold enough for them to have broken even is hard to say, since we lack information about sales of the 3DS version, and we don't know whether the 35 staffers working on the project were solely dedicated to it or were working on other games. The former is more likely there.

Regardless of current sales, Inti clearly plans to make sure Blaster Master Zero has long legs. Last week it released an update to the game which added a new, remixed difficulty setting, and it's currently working on new DLC characters who are more than just a palette swap.
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May
10
Posted by James at 15:18
When retail listings began to emerge for the UK release of Puyo Puyo Tetris, it was hard to imagine a situation where the PlayStation 4 version wasn't going to be the preferred platform for fans of Tetriminos or Puyos.

This was mostly down to a couple of reasons which seemed to offset the game's natural fit for the Switch's hybrid local multiplayer party trick: Pricing, and release timing. The European publisher for the game, Deep Silver, appears to have set wholesale pricing for the Switch version at nearly twice that of the PS4 release, as the PS4 version could be had for £20 from most major retailers, with the Switch version going for £35.

To make matters worse, Nintendo decided to release Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the same day. It seemed like there would be only one game Switch owners would be interested in that weekend.

Instead, quite the unexpected happened: the Nintendo Switch version sold the lion's share of boxed copies over the game's launch weekend, outselling the PlayStation 4 version by 3:1. According to GfK Chart-Track, Switch sales accounted for 74% of all copies sold over that period.

What is even more intriguing is the sales split doesn't stop there: due to strange Tetris licensing rules, a digital version of Puyo Puyo Tetris can only be released on the Switch as the PS4's PlayStation Store already plays host to Ubisoft's Tetris Ultimate, resulting in an even wider sales split by way of the digital release on the Switch's eShop. That version currently sits at third place on the eShop's sales ranking, which counts software sales over the last two weeks.

If any game has benefitted from the famed 'launch effect', then, it's this one. I've been finding it to be a top-notch puzzle game, one which not only blends Tetris and Puyo Puyo together rather thoughtfully, but is a great fit for the Switch's portability. The ability to invite anyone to a local multiplayer session with ease is a boon here.

While the PlayStation 4 release is a bargain, it's absolutely worth the asking price on Switch, which begs the question: Given the wide sales split between both platforms, you could argue that it was going for too little on PS4...
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Oct
13
2015
Posted by James at 08:53
In what is an encouraging sign of the health of the JRPG on PC, pre-orders for Tales of Zestiria have reached a large enough number to unlock all of the game's reward tiers on Steam a week before launch. This guarantees anyone pre-purchasing the game a complimentary copy of Tales of Symphonia.

While we do not know how many pre-purchases were required to unlock the final and third reward tier on Steam, it's likely that by reaching the third pre-purchase tier the game has at least matched Bandai Namco's expectations for pre-orders of the game, given the incentives involved.

The largest number of pre-orders have arrived within the last week -- enough to push the final pre-purchase tier from 60% to 100% -- which tells us that Zestiria is following a predictable trend, where the bulk of pre-purchases arrive in the tail-end of the pre-order period.

At any rate, Bandai Namco's handling of Tales of Zestiria's PC port has been a good indication of how to launch an established franchise of an unestablished genre on the platform.

Like the PS4 version which was created specifically for the west (likely due to the rapid decline of PS3 in those territories), the PC version hasn't been treated as a second-class citizen from the outset.

Bandai Namco is launching it simultaneously alongside the PS3 and PS4 versions in the west, and it has feature-for-feature parity with the original edition of the game. Furthermore, the PC version of the game has been prominently featured in all of the game's marketing to date, including a long live stream.

It'll be interesting to see how Tales of Zestiria -- an RPG from a more established franchise -- performs on PC in the long-run. For instance, lesser-known series like Idea Factory International's "Neptunia" performed reasonably well over time. Data from Steam Spy tells us (with about 95% confidence) that the PC version of Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 1 has sold in the region of 160,000 and 180,000 copies.

No doubt platform promotions have had a big impact on sales figures, but the important thing to note is the PC is a long-term platform, not a dead end like PS3 or even PS4.

This means that older games can still produce revenue and have a purpose long into the future, which is undeniably appealing to publishers as the market has grown large enough to justify the costs of porting and supporting a third version of the game in the first place.

Even Nintendo appears to be taking notes, as its next generation platform, code named NX, is shaping up to be a continually evolving and long-lasting platform in the vein of iOS or the PC.
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Oct
06
2015
Posted by James at 14:37
After just 18 weeks on sale in Japan, sales for Nintendo’s Splatoon – a new IP on the Wii U – have overtaken those of its own Mario Kart 8 at the same point in the two games' lifecycles.

As of September 27, 2015, sales for boxed copies of Splatoon now stand at 682,000 units, with Mario Kart 8 at 678,000 units. This stands in stark contrast to the two Wii U games’ launches, where Mario Kart 8 shifted 326,000 units in the week ending June 1 2014, compared with Splatoon's 145,000 during the week ending May 31 2015.

How did lifetime sales for a brand new IP in an unestablished genre eventually trend ahead of a game in one of the biggest and most established franchises on console – a situation many of us, even Nintendo, didn’t foresee?

While Mario Kart 8 was off to a much faster start, shifting 125% more copies than Splatoon in its launch week – Splatoon also managed a strong Japanese launch given its roots in the unproven third person shooter genre and similar-sized marketing budget – the difference is that Mario Kart 8’s sales tailed off at a greater rate.



Indeed, Mario Kart 8 shifted a greater number of copies at first, including 73,000 during its second week compared with 69,000 copies for Splatoon. But Nintendo's new IP sold a greater number of units than Mario Kart in every following week -- the 185,000 unit lead Mario Kart 8 held over Splatoon diminished within four months.

The absolute sales difference between the two games during weeks 3-18 of their respective retail cycles was as high as 16,000 copies (in week 4), and as low as 6,100 units (week 9). In 14 of the 18 weeks Splatoon shifted over 10,000 more copies at retail than Mario Kart 8.

A closer examination of the relative difference between sales of the two games shows us how Mario Kart 8’s lifetime sales lead diminished so quickly. Splatoon shifted over twice as many units as Mario Kart 8 managed during the tail-end of the 18-week period (weeks 14-18). This difference peaked last week where Splatoon sold two-and-a-half times (250%) more copies than Mario Kart 8.



It’s this consistent, relative difference over the last six weeks – where Mario Kart 8 sales never recover from a sub-10,000 unit slump – which saw Splatoon overtake Mario Kart 8 by the end of week 18. The game continues to sell in the region of 20,000 units every week, and it’ll likely continue to do so in week 19 when Media Create releases new figures for the week ending October 4 2015.

If both Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 had large opening weeks given their respective platform’s small install base (Wii U is currently trending behind Wii, and far behind 3DS in Japan), why did Mario Kart 8’s sales decline so quickly when Splatoon’s didn’t?

One reason is that Mario Kart 8 just isn’t different enough for Nintendo to have been able to differentiate it to the mass market, especially so when the Wii U install base remained relatively small at the time in Japan. The Nintendo 3DS is the most popular dedicated videogames platform in the region by a long shot, and Nintendo had already released Mario Kart 7 on that system at the end of 2011.

While the Wii U’s Mario Kart is a vastly more advanced game, it’s difficult to communicate that across to the unconverted in order to create perceived value, so it’s likely that Mario Kart 8 reached a near-sales saturation given the Wii U install base over those first 18 weeks on sale.

This is best shown by the effect Mario Kart 8 had on Wii U sales in its launch week – Nintendo’s home console only shifted 19,000 units, less than what 3DS even managed (24,000 units) to shift despite having no big releases that week. It’s this cannibalisation between Nintendo’s two different platforms, both in hardware and software with similar IP, which is leading Nintendo to rethink its strategy for its next video games platform, code named NX. You can read more about Nintendo's core strategy in detail over here.

By comparison, Nintendo managed to retain Splatoon’s sales performance. There are two likely reasons why Splatoon’s long tail of sales have been more sustainable.

Firstly, Splatoon is fresh; it’s a big new IP from Nintendo in a genre they have never attempted before (the online-focused multiplayer shooter), but with their own unique twist added (players paint the map with their weapon in order to capture the most turf). Nintendo’s slant on the genre is also one that is also incredibly easy to understand and therefore communicate to players in marketing, so there’s broad appeal to consumers right down to the game’s distinctive and confident art direction.

This also helped Nintendo avoid any issues with Splatoon being cannibalised by games on its other platform, the 3DS. Splatoon isn’t a close substitute to anything right now – the expanded audience can’t stick with “Splatoon 3DS” and be done with it, and core players aren’t going to go into Splatoon with any negative preconceptions like some did with 2K Games’ Evolve, another multiplayer new IP which launched this year but failed to retain its players (Splatoon has even outsold Evolve worldwide).

More importantly, in a new approach for Nintendo Splatoon is operated like a service, with regular content updates that regularly unlock over time – initially off the disc and now through online updates – based on player metrics and feedback. This is augmented by server-based map and mode rotations, timely social media updates that tie into the game and its world, and fortnightly events called Splatfests.

While this was a conscious design decision in the interest of keeping a healthy player-base (see how 2K Games’ Evolve has fared by comparison), it’s likely to have had a knock-on effect on sales, as new content keeps people playing and discussing the game on social media. Nintendo itself has handled the game’s presence on social media well, with regular, fun updates across Twitter, which has a seemingly strong presence in Japan compared with other social networks.

The impact this has on sales best demonstrated by the game’s major update (version 2.00), which launched in tandem with a new marketing campaign in early August. In week 11 when the update landed, Splatoon sales rose by 26% week-on-week, to 36,000 units from 28,000 units.

In the same point of the game’s lifespan, Mario Kart 8 did not receive a large bump from the week prior, though both games did receive a sales boost in week 12, which would have been due to the long Obon festival weekend in mid-August the week prior; Mario Kart 8 sales rose 35% to 28,000 units, while Splatoon retained its sales bump, shifting 41,000 units, a 16% rise on the previous sales boost from the update and new marketing push. Since then, Splatoon’s sales have hovered at around 20,000 units every week.

Last but not least, Splatoon has been growing the Wii U install base in Japan, as indicated by sales of Mario Kart 8 also seeing a short-lived bump back to around 10,000 units following Splatoon’s launch. While it isn’t going to save the system this late into its lifespan, the hardware sales bump is on track to amounting to at least a 100,000 units across the entire year.

With Splatoon’s worldwide sales approaching 2 million units, Nintendo has managed to release a big hitter by Wii U standards in a year which saw two tent-pole releases slip to 2016. With Super Mario Maker out the gate, the remaining first party Wii U games releasing this year aren't really massmarket material, and Amiibo seem to have sold to Nintendo's biggest and most invested fans rather than the expanded audience. Splatoon is quite the standout success.

It’ll be interesting to see how Splatoon continues to perform in Japan in the long run. For now, Splatoon gives us confidence in Nintendo's ability to run a game as a service, both from a creative standpoint and a business one, and puts the company in good standing to tackle future endeavors of this ilk.

GALLERY:
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Sony prepares for the
PS Vita's long term future
22-09-15
Posted by James at 08:28

Each and every week, a new post arrives on Sony’s PS Blog marketing vehicle, detailing what’s new on the PlayStation Store. It’s hard to miss special events like limited-time sales, as they get outlined in detail through their own blog posts.

Last week, a sizable roster of PS Vita games from various publishers, small to large, received permanent price drops in Europe. But unlike the typical sale on the PS Store, this was received with very little fanfare. Indeed, last week’s PS Store update post doesn’t even mention this in passing. What's going on?

It seems that Sony is preparing the platform and its software library for the long-term, rather than create another short term revenue spike which sales are designed to facilitate.

The PS Vita’s situation at retail has been dire over the past couple of years. Anecdotally speaking, it’s difficult to find the handheld and its games at a non-specialist retailer, and when you do find them the amount of shelf space allocated to it is less than flattering.

Of course, none of this is surprising if you look at the figures – last year PS Vita went from small to small as far as software sales last year go, and the proliferation of PS4 and Xbox One has led to a situation where retailers need to prioritise their shelf space to their highest value purpose.

PS Vita software continues to decline at retail – in the first half of 2015, boxed PS Vita software shifted 109,000 units, down 37% year-on-year and just 10 percent more than software on the 11 year old Nintendo DS. By comparison, PS4 software shifted nearly 3 million units in the first half of 2015, 26 times more than PS Vita software managed.

As a result, Sony inviting a bunch of notable publishers (participants include Konami, Ubisoft, NIS America and Warner Bros. games) to permanently cut the price of their PS Vita games is a smart move. In the west, it’s likely that the Vita’s presence will increasingly become a digital one, with retailers stocking the bare minimum of software and hardware, and publishers not printing any more copies of older titles.

Ensuring Vita’s boxed games library is competitively priced at digital should help it maintain relevancy in a period where it’ll become increasingly more difficult for customers to purchase games at retail.

Cutting the price of a large selection of digital titles should also take some of the sting off those memory card prices, which add an unseen, implicit cost when purchasing digital games on the platform. Buying a 32GB Vita memory card continues to set you back four times the price of the equivalent micro SD card, for example, and a memory card is required if you wish to purchase any normal capacity of digital software on the platform.

Publishers stand to benefit as well, as it’s highly unlikely that some older PS Vita games will be going back into print when you consider the risks involved with physical media on a declining platform – not just from their perspective but the retailer’s. Since a publisher doesn’t receive a cut from any preowned game sales, they can still hope to claw back some revenue from these reduced price digital games.

Ideally, Sony would reduce the price of memory cards as well, further repositioning the PS Vita for a longer life as a digital-focused platform, but a few things hold such a movement back. The Vita still does good business for Sony in Japan and Asia, and the last thing Sony would want is to encourage its customers there to take advantage of the price differences between regions by importing memory cards on the cheap from Europe and North America. In other words, Sony’s hands are tied due to a conflict of interests between SCEI in Japan and SCEA/SCEE in North America and Europe respectively.

There’s also the issue of the system receiving the bare minimum of attention in Europe and North America in the first place; Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House labelled the PS Vita as a "legacy platform" in those regions. It’s hard not to believe that only a small amount of resources are currently being dedicated towards the format – even if Sony wanted to relaunch the PS Vita as a digital-focused format such a plan likely wouldn’t be followed through.

It’s still not a perfect situation, then, but what we do have is a good start given the organisational constraints facing the company and the current market situation.
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Jul
01
2015
Posted by James at 12:13
Last week saw the releases of two tentpole games in Japan: Fire Emblem if for the Nintendo 3DS, and Persona 4: Dancing All Night for PS Vita. Now that Media Create's hardware and software sales are in for the week ending June 28, we now have a better picture as to how the two launches have affected respective hardware sales for both platforms.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night shifted 94,000 units over the period, falling short of the 137,000 units that Persona 4: Golden pulled in just over three years ago. It’s likely that the sales disparity, despite the PS Vita’s install base growing by over five times in the last three years, is due to the nature of the games themselves. Persona 4: Golden is a remake of one of the most influential RPGs to come out of Japan, whereas Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a spin-off (it’s also a rhythm game, not an RPG) with a lower reach as a result.

Still, PS Vita hardware sales rose by 11,500 units to 25,000 units. That’s a rise of almost double (86%), though such a high percentage change hides the fact that neither Persona 4: Dancing All Night, nor last year’s Persona Q, have been notable system sellers.

For example, 3DS’s Persona Q, another spin-off, debuted last year to 187,000 sales, even more than Persona 4: Golden. But its effect on hardware was similarly weak: An increase of just 12,500 units, and one that was short lived. 3DS hardware fell by 10,000 units the following week – expect similar to happen with the PS Vita this week.

Why has the effect on PS Vita hardware sales been so unpronounced? You could argue that anyone already interested in Persona bought a PS Vita soon after Persona 4: Golden was released three years ago. With last year’s Persona Q on the 3DS, it’s unlikely that Persona fans wouldn’t have already owned the system three years after it launched – 3DS is arguably the only massmarket dedicated video game hardware in Japan right now. Like Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Persona Q was also a spin-off title with mostly superficial similarities to the game it was based from.

Fire Emblem if shifted 306,000 units across all versions, including a special edition that includes both versions of the game. That’s a rise of 40k units over the previous game in the series’ debut sales. 3DS sales were lifted by 8300 units this month, an increase of a third (34%). That’s par for the course these days – while 3DS hardware sales are frequently on top in the region, there’s very little room for tangible growth as the system enters its twilight years and the system reaches market saturation.

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best+ made a similarly small impact on 3DS hardware sales when it lauched in late May. Despite shifting 158,000 copies, 3DS hardware only saw a minor bump of 8,000 units. And this was despite a new hardware model (a pearl white New 3DS XL) launching that week, and the game being part of CEO Satoru Iwata's plans to bring games that appeal to a female audience in order to expand the market.

Meanwhile, both Splatoon and Minecraft: PS Vita Edition continue to have long tails. Both are still in the top 10 and selling steadily, with the former moving 37,500 units and the latter 10,900.
Media Create software sales, week ending June 28 2015
(3DS) Fire Emblem if – 260,675
(PS Vita) Persona 4: Dancing All Night – 94,036
(3DS) Fire Emblem if Special Edition – 42,991
(3DS) Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus – 266,726
(PS4) Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensword – 38,758
(Wii U) Splatoon – 37,458
(PS3) Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls G4U! Vol. 2 – 16,392
(PS Vita) Minecraft: PS Vita Edition – 10,896
(PS Vita) Chaos;Child – 10,325
(3DS) PoPoLoCrois Harvest Moon – 9,284
Media Create hardware sales, week ending June 28 2015
3DS – 32,355
PS Vita – 23,954
PS4 – 14,482
Wii U – 13,166
PS3 – 2,761
Xbox One – 243

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Jun
01
2015
Posted by James at 13:39
Microsoft are currently running an interesting Xbox One promotion in Germany. Participants can use their gamerscore (a tally which accumulates points whenever players unlock achievements in games) to claim a voucher which brings down the price of an Xbox One when purchased at the Microsoft Store or Amazon.

The reduction scales with every thousand points earned. A player with 100,000 gamerscore would receive a 100 Euro discount code off an Xbox One, for example.

Promotion logistics aside, this is a very smart business strategy to boost demand in a typically poor-performing region for Microsoft's Xbox platform, during a period where the company has no major strategic changes to announce.

Last November, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe issued a press release which celebrated 1 million PS4s sold in Germany. Microsoft's Xbox One was sitting at just a fraction of that -- according to GfK, it had sold 170,000 units by August last year.

Xbox One clearly has its fans in Germany, but it's far from gaining massmarket appeal any time soon. So it makes sense that Microsoft would run a promotion like this, a promotion whose benefits to the consumer neatly tie in with their engagement with the Xbox brand, as indicated by their gamerscore.

It's the 'whales' (the most engaged and biggest spenders) who will benefit the most from the promotion, as they are more likely to have a large enough gamerscore to produce a worthwhile discount. Each game carries a maximum of 1000 gamerscore, excluding DLC; amassing a gamerscore in the tens or hundreds of thousands would require playing many games over a long period of time.

On the other side of the coin, Microsoft stands to benefit greatly from retaining a whale, rather than losing them to a competitor's substitute offering like the PlayStation 4. By bringing a whale into the Xbox One ecosystem, Microsoft's initial outlay from the promotion voucher will soon pay for itself over time.

In June 2015, the big question is whether it's a bit too late for a promotion of this type: one could easily argue that the whales Microsoft is targeting would have already bought an Xbox One in the console's launch window back almost two years ago.
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Jun
01
2015
Posted by James at 07:31
The UK software sales charts are in for the week ending 30 May, and they give us an indication on how Splatoon performed on the market, Nintendo's latest (and biggest) new IP and their first shooter.

As you have probably figured out from the headline, Splatoon debuted in second place in the all formats charts, which collates software sales figures across several platforms instead of individual ones.

It debuted behind The Witcher 3, which isn't surprising given that game's mainstream appeal, established IP and rave reviews. The Witcher 3 is also on several formats (PS4, Xbox One and PC), which have a far higher combined install base -- both PS4 and Xbox One have passed 1 million sales in the UK, the Wii U has yet to attain this feat.

Indeed, if you look at the individual formats charts, Splatoon sold behind both the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the Bandai Namco-published The Witcher 3.

That being said, Splatoon still broke a few platform specific records. It was the best selling new IP on the platform since Ubisoft's launch title two-and-a-half years ago, ZombiU. That's actually a bit of a back-handed compliment, given ZombiU launched two-and-a-half years ago, but you could argue it benefitted from what some developers and publishers call the "launch effect", where early adopters pick up games amidst excitement for new hardware, and thus accumulated enough sales to make it a hard target for new IP on Wii U to beat.

Chart-Track also noted that Splatoon is the fifth best selling Wii U title in the country (not accounting for downloads), which is less rosy news. We have an inkling (sorry) that the shooter, which turns the genre upside-down by asking players to paint the map as squids in a frantic turf war, may have sold beneath Nintendo's expectations, given the above, and the game's Mario Kart 8-sized marketing budget.

Unlike Mario Kart 8 however, Nintendo does benefit from tightly integrating Amiibo into Splatoon. While the solus game carries an RRP of £34.99 -- £14.99 lower than Mario Kart 8, Nintendo sells three Amiibo alongside Splatoon, potentially raising the ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) above Mario Kart's within the game's launch window.

Interestingly, older Wii U software such as Wind Waker HD (October 2013) and Mario Party 10 (March 2015) re-entered the UK top 40, which implies that Splatoon shifted Wii U hardware as well, though it's unlikely to be at a level similar to Mario Kart 8's.
UK All-formats Top 10, week ending May 30
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
2. Splatoon
3. Grand Theft Auto 5
4. FIFA 15
5. Farming Simulator 15
6. Battlefield Hardline
7. Project Cars
8. Destiny
9. Mortal Kombat X
10. Minecraft: Xbox Edition

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May
27
2015
Posted by James at 14:00
Update: A mysterious Sony Spokesperson has attempted to clarify the situation -- head here for the details and our analysis.

---

Speaking at Sony's 2015 Investor Relations Day, SCE President and Global CEO, Andrew House, referred to both PlayStation Vita and PS TV as "legacy platforms" while briefing investors on the company's costly write-down in Q3 2014 on PS TV and PS Vita components -- see and listen to slide 5 over here. Furthermore, Sony's handheld does not play a role in the company's strategy for fiscal year 2015.

This should come as no surprise given Vita's market performance over the last three years. While Andrew House did acknowledge later on in the presentation that their portable business (i.e. the PS Vita) remains "strong and vibrant" in Japan and Asia, it hasn't done anywhere near as well elsewhere, with Sony themselves even expecting further declines in the business in North America and Europe.

Ever since big PS Vita investments from Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), such as first party exclusive Tearaway, failed to reach sales expectations, it's been increasingly clear where SCEA and SCEE's priorities lie. Especially so now that the PS4 has exceeded Sony's own internal sales expectations and continues to sell at a rapid pace.

They are simply putting their resources to the best possible uses, and given Sony's rather spotty financial situation at current, that makes the most sense as it stands right now.

What does this mean for the Vita to be labelled as a "legacy platform"? Basically, expect to see no more major commitments to it as far as major support and investments go outside of Japan and Asia.

Previously, Sony invested heavily in first party content from its worldwide studios and internal teams, like the aforementioned Tearaway, and others such as Killzone: Mercenary. They also invested in third party exclusives like Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. Last year, the PS Vita was repositioned as a PS4 peripheral, which didn't lift sales as much as Sony had hoped, hence the write-downs on Vita and PS TV inventory.

Since both efforts were essentially fruitless as far as growing the platform went, expect little else from here on out.

It isn't all doom and gloom though, and the situation could be far, far worse. In the last two or so years, Sony has set the PS Vita up for a long life, overhauling its developer policies to welcome independent developers and supplying them with cheap and/or free development kits, which in turn has guaranteed the system a steady stream of quality downloadable titles for years to come.

Meanwhile, bigger titles from Japan will continue to see overseas releases. Sen no Kiseki, Atelier Escha & Logy Plus, Danganronpa: Another Episode and Persona 4: Dancing all Night are four likely or confirmed candidates.

Find the slides and recordings from Sony's Investor Relations Day over here. With thanks to gamesindustry.biz.
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