Sony’s new PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device sold more than a quarter-million units in its worldwide debut in Japan this weekend. But that failed to match the initial push by its rival Nintendo 3DS device earlier this year, and the Vita’s release was partially marred by user complaints and error reports.
Thousands of eager consumers reportedly lined up to get first crack at buying the device on Saturday. Reuters reported on Tuesday that some 321,000 units were sold within two days. The relatively similar 3DS, meanwhile, sold more than 371,000 units in its Japanese debut this February.
The BBC also reported on Tuesday that Sony released an apology on its Japanese PlayStation site, as well as a software upgrade, following a series of complaints from users about problems including frozen displays, unresponsive touch screens and system crashes.
PlayStation did not immediately return a Mashable comment request.
The Vita and 3DS are trying to carve out a niche for handheld devices dedicated solely to gaming as smart phones and tablets have greatly increased their own gaming capabilities in recent years. After its strong debut this year, 3DS sales dropped off rapidly, but analysts have speculated that the Vita’s wide range of game titles will give it a longer-term appeal with consumers.
Mashablewas able to try the Vita and several of its upcoming major games last week, and came away impressed with the device’s capabilities. An intuitive touch interface, impressive graphics, augmented reality and wireless connectivity all made the Vita a definite upgrade over phone or tablet games, although not a must-buy for casual gamers. But those assets will likely be overshadowed in consumers’ minds if technical malfunctions persist.
The PlayStation Vita will be released in North America, Europe and Australia on Feb. 22. The WiFi-only model will sell for $249.99, with the 3G version priced at $299.99.