The Current State of Portable Game Sales

Steven recently wrote an article on his top 3DS games, which was then followed up with a top Vita games article. Since everyone pretty much agrees on which games are the best on any given platform, let’s take a look if those great games actually have great sales. Before we begin please keep in mind these are sales estimates, and they don’t include digital sales, so that does have an impact. The numbers are also worldwide sales, and not region specific. Let’s start with his top five 3DS games.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 3 million +

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – 2 million +

Super Mario 3D Land – 8.5 million +

Fire Emblem: Awakening – 900,000 +

Resident Evil: Revelations – 700,000 +

Next we’ll take the most popular Vita games based on sales I could actually find.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – 170,000 +

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection – 190,000 +

Gravity Rush – 300,000 +

Lumines – 100,000 +

Uncharted: Golden Abyss – 970,000 +

Now comes the fun part, matching those highly regarded games against the actual top five selling games on each of the platforms. We’ll keep the same order, first 3DS then Vita.

1. Super Mario 3D Land – 8.5 million +

2. Mario Kart 7 – 8 million +

3. New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 6 million +

4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf – 3 million +

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – 3 million +

1. Uncharted: Golden Abyss – 970,000 +

2. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified – 740,000 +

3. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation – 690,000 +

4. Persona 4: The Golden – 450,000 +

5. FIFA Soccer – 420, 000 +

Now before looking at the numbers and saying wtf, keep in mind that worldwide lifetime sales of the 3DS are 32 million compared to around 5 million for the Vita, which explains why Vita numbers are so much lower. Super Mario 3D Land was purchased by 27% of all 3DS owners, and Uncharted was bought by 20% of all Vita owners, which is pretty damn impressive for both platforms.

It’s interesting how so many people adore Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS, yet the game’s performance pales in comparison to the first party Nintendo content. Notice the top selling Vita games are all more mature releases, leading one to believe that the system is selling to an older demograph. So what do we take away from this, first and foremost that the PlayStation Vita is in dire need of more software in order to pump out higher sales figures, and that as always, the biggest hits on a Nintendo system are Nintendo first party games. The 3DS has proved to be a truly impressive piece of hardware that the masses are eating up. Selling 6 million units of any game is truly impressive, and Nintendo has three games that have already sold that much.

So what do you take away from the current portable sales? People like to talk smack about Nintendo, but clearly the company is doing something right with sales figures this high. Is there any hope for the Vita to rebound, or will Sony just leave the system to die?

3 thoughts on “The Current State of Portable Game Sales”

  1. I think the biggest surprise here is that in less then 2 weeks, Animal Crossing already has over 3 million sales. I think Sony has given up on ever catching up to the 3DS in terms of sales and is just satisfied with the potential of the system. With an eventual price drop, the system could reach 20 million units sold by the end of 2014.

    1. Just FYI, Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released on November 8, 2012 in Japan, and that 3 million plus number is only Japan. No official word yet on North American and European sales so you can expect that number to reach much higher.

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