3DS sales accelerate following price cut, PS Vita not doing well

It appears Nintendo made the right move by cutting the price of the 3DS. After slightly disappointing sales in the first six months, the 3DS saw excellent sales over the holiday following an aggressive price cut by Nintendo. The PlayStation Vita on the other hand isn’t seeing fantastic sales after its launch week, leading to questions on how well the system will fare moving forward.

3DS sales accelerate following price cut, PS Vita not doing well

Nintendo announced on Tuesday that the 3DS sold 4 million units in the United States in 2011. That number edged out the line of regular DS handhelds which totaled 3.4 million in 2011. Nintendo also claims that the 3DS outsold the Wii during its first 9 months on shelves.

Back in July Nintendo announced that the 3DS had only sold 710,000 3DS units worldwide with only 110,000 of those being sold in the U.S. Along with those numbers came the announcement that Nintendo was cutting the price of the handheld from $249 to $169. The very next month the 3DS saw a sales increase of 260 percent, which means Nintendo found the right price for their no-glasses 3D handheld.

“One of the strongest software lineups in our history helped Nintendo have a great holiday season and to close 2011 with a full head of steam,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Not only have the new Mario and Zelda titles already broken records, but with strong reviews and satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences, all three are also shaping up to be the latest long-tail titles from Nintendo. Couple that with a massive first- and third party lineup in the first part of the year and the prospects for 2012 are extremely promising.”

Sony is not having quite as promising a time with the PlayStation Vita. The handheld debuted in Japan this year and has seen a steep drop off in sales after its launch week. The Vita sold 325,000 units during its launch week. While that number is respectable for a single region launch, the week following wasn’t as encouraging. Media Create announced that the system sold only 72,479 units last week and was beat out by all major platforms including the PSP.

Sony obviously can’t be pleased with Vita sales to date and those numbers bring with them questions about the success the handheld can have in other regions. With the popularity of smart phones, and cheap games for those smartphones, the difficulty both Sony and Nintendo are seeing with their handheld sales may indicate a market that is moving away from dedicated gaming platforms.

Time will tell if Sony needs to follow Nintendo’s lead and drastically cut the price of the Vita within the first 6-12 months of the systems launch. Do you plan on buying a Vita? Would you buy one if the price came in under $200? Let us know what you think in the comments.