Last year, sales of boxed, physical copies plummeted in the UK, down to below a billion (£948m according Chart-Track via MCV) overall, and portable boxed games sales fell by 34%. Now, more than ever, publishers need to produce hard digital sales data to convince the market that:
- Portable is still a viable platform.
- Digital sales are the future and publishers need to focus on this.
- The Vita has a thriving digital user base.
Its no good Sony merely shouting Minecraft was the top seller last month. Owners, the industry and potential buyers need to know there's some traction going on, profits are being made and there's a market opportunity. The odd indie success story doesn't cut it.
Me, I've picked up two boxed games in the second half of last year Borderlands due to its size and Minecraft for the boxart. Everything else has been digital from the indies to the quirky Japanese title. That, in part, explains why Vita displays are shrinking and vanishing in stores, so Sony needs to get the message out that, just like iOS and Android, the digital marketplace is where its at.
I'm delighted that boxed copies and limited editions are still being produced for those without fast broadband and fans of particular games, but really Sony, now is the time to trumpet digital and tell the world what the sales possibilities are!
You can obfuscate the numbers as much as you like, mix them all together into global sales and price everything in Yen, but you need to get them out there, otherwise the vanishing of the Vita will continue in 2015.