PS Vita

PS Vita impossible to find in stores lately, what’s Sony doing?


There is something very odd happening to the PS Vita right now in the US. Since the release of the Borderlands 2 2000 model bundle in early May, the system has been impossible to find new in stores. Despite the system soaring up to 56k units sold in May due to this new model, Sony apparently feels no urge to ship more units to retailers.

In early June I set out on a quest to purchase one of these BL2 bundles. Try as I might here in San Antonio, Texas I just couldn’t find a store with any units. I called every HEB Plus in town (there are only a handful) and only one had a old OLED Vita in stock, none had the 2000 model. This immediately struck me as strange since most San Antonio residents (and anyone with an HEB near them) know that the HEB Plus game selection is often forgotten about.

I took my search to Wal-Mart but couldn’t find a single BL2 bundle within 100 miles of me. The same went for Best Buy too. One GameStop, ironically down the street from me, had a single Borderlands 2 bundle. I went to the store to try to purchase it and the manager told me it had been special ordered for another customer and they couldn’t sell it to me.

After checking with more than a dozen Targets in town, I managed to find a single Borderlands 2 Vita bundle and purchased it. I’ve been enjoying it ever since mid-June.

I decided to take a look to see if units were still scarce and guess what? They’re even harder to find. I called and searched for another Borderlands 2 bundle at Toys R Us, Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart this past week with no luck whatsoever.

vita2000borderland2s

Believe it or not there just may not be a single Borderlands 2 Vita bundle in all of Texas, one of the biggest states in the US. GameStop says (pictures of searches embedded in text of city names ahead) there aren’t any stores with systems within 100 miles of Corpus Christi, or Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or even Austin.

Why isn’t Sony shipping more Vita slim units to retailers? It doesn’t make sense for them to have “given up” on the system but go through all of the trouble to ship out a new bundle/model just to pull the plug a month later. I understand that they don’t seem like they’ll make more AAA games for the Vita but this is getting absurd.

The second hand market is becoming the only place to buy a PS Vita and that’s a shame since the 2000 model is such a delight to use. It’s slim, lightweight and has a longer lasting battery despite the screen downgrade. For whatever reason Sony doesn’t seem interested in shipping units to stores.

If you remember back in May Sony listed the PS Vita as having a $179.99 retail price in their road to greatness sweep stakes, leading some to believe that a $179 SKU with just the 2000 model, without a game, would be coming. Yet that hasn’t happened.

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The only thing I can imagine is maybe Sony plans on bundling the 2000 model with Minecraft come August when Minecraft releases on the PS Vita. They’ve done nothing to hint at that but that would be what I would do. I’m not sure if it would encourage parents to give their children Vita systems but it wouldn’t be a bad move.

Perhaps the person who made this call at Sony is an uber-pessimist? I can understand retailers and even Sony being hesitant about shipping too many units and having them waste space on store shelves since the handheld doesn’t sell well. But would Sony really give the system such a low vote of confidence to ship 50,000 units and expect it to last through the entire summer? I wouldn’t have believed that if you told me that months ago but that appears to be the case.

If they’re continuing with this whole “PS Vita as an accessory to the PS4” thing then why not ship more? I’m sure they could sell a steady 10k-20k just off remote play alone per month in the US.

Right now no one knows why Sony isn’t shipping many Borderlands 2 bundles to stores. If they sold 56k in May could (as NPD data points towards) could they have really sold out of all their stock? I know the Vita was selling badly before but would Sony really manufacture a measly fifty thousand units and expect them to last a few months?

Something is going on with the Vita right now and it feels weird. Like the calm before the storm, the moment either just before a car crash as you see headlights in the corner of your eye or perhaps like the second before a wide receiver catches what you thought to be an impossible pass from his quarterback. Will Sony ever ship more Vita units to stores? Only time will tell though right now they don’t seem to be doing so.