While handhelds out sold home consoles "last gen", I don't know how long that trend will continue.
Why? Smartphones - especially Apple's.
A lot of people no doubt bought the DS and PSP to game on the way to work while on the subway, but with smartphone nowadays there is no need for a delicated device anymore for that specific type of cheap ($2 - $3) and simple "pick up and put down" game like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Plant vs Zombies.
The PSV and 3DS will probably lose that crowd.
But where devices like the PSV will still shine is "hardcore" portable gaming, with games running into $40-$60 dollars that have the "depth" in content and gameplay to match - and the PSV is capable of shining way brighter than the 3DS in this regard.
IMO this is an area that smartphones will never develop much of a foothold in due to their limited interface and the "cheapness" of their app stores.
I've attempted to play some smartphone games on my phone and I usually never play them more than 15 minutes before they get deleted. The games are too boring for my tastes and besides I like having physical buttons and dpads and joysticks. One thing I hate about most smartphones now is that they're touch only, and smartphones with keyboards are slowly becoming a thing of the past. I don't like playing games where my large hands cover most of the screen...I've been playing games for over 20 years, and for someone like me playing mobile games where about 80% of them are made in a week's time just isn't for me. I know that many people now like to play quick pick up and play mobile games, but I can honestly say I've never known a person in real life or on the internet who has purchased a smartphone for the intention of playing games. I own a smartphone for phone calls, texting, and web browsing, and I doubt I'll ever have interest in those games. I own a portable gaming device for the sole intention of playing games. To me buying PS Vita or 3DS games is like buying a BMW or another luxury car while mobile games is like buying a car that looks like its barely going to make it to the next block.
Touch only is very limiting, but for dead simple games like Cut the Rope, they work OK.
Attempts to "work around it" like on-screen joysticks are just plain fail and on-screen buttons are very annoying if you need to hit them a lot - you can't feel anything, without physical feedback it's hard to tell if you have hit them or not.
For these reason, I feel smartphones will not be the preferred home of hardcore games.
I've attempted to play some games on OnLive on my tablet and games like Split/Second are near impossible to play with a touch screen joystick. I kept driving into the wall over and over lol. The one thing I hate is when people compare sales of iphones to 3DS or Vita. It makes no sense to me because like i stated earlier how many of those purchases were for the intention of playing games and not for the intention of using it as a phone? If Vita or 3DS had the option to call or text would we classify them as smart phones? I highly doubt it, so that's why I don't consider smartphones gaming devices just phones that happen to play small games. Also If im playing a game, I don't want to be interupted by texting or incoming phone calls or advertisements for that matter.
I agree with others about some of the reasons why the PS Vita didn't outsell the 3DS. Particularly the new software titles of the 3DS and the Sony commercials.
Seriously, Sony's commercials for game systems SUCK! Like REALLY REALLY SUCK! They don't showcase ANYTHING about the system, what makes it special, and why you should buy it. The PS Vita commercial in Japan was a joke. They are relying way too much on the already established gaming community. Their commercials are complete failures in attracting a new crowd of customers. If I didn't know any better, I would not have known if the PS Vita was a console or a handheld based on the first commercial. And the only way I would have known it was a gaming device is because it said PlayStation. How in the world is that supposed to attract new customers?! Sony needs to actually SHOWCASE THE PRODUCT, especially for those who don't actually know what it is. Otherwise, you will fail MISERABLY to attract NEW GAMERS at a launch. (I really wish Sony's marketing team would read this).
I hope they do a much better job at advertising in the US and EU, cause good god, the Japanese TV commercials fail MISERABLY!
As for the Kevin Butler commercials... I find them HILARIOUS (especially the Gran Turismo one).
As for consoles vs. handhelds, I truly feel that this depends on the country. To be completely honest, I don't expect the PS Vita to do as well as the 3DS in the US. Why? Because the PS Vita is for the serious gamer (limited numbers) and the 3DS is more suited for kids (give it to your kid and they're quiet and distracted, and it's cheaper).
To me, it is no surprise handhelds do so well in Japan. Why you ask? It's simple really... look at their transportation infrastructure. With the exception of cities like New York, Boston, and maybe San Francisco, taking public transportation everywhere in the US is looked down upon. Americans hate riding buses and trains, and not having self transportation is looked down upon in US culture (not to mention, in a lot of places, playing with a fancy electronic device while on public transportation isn't exactly the smartest thing to do). Consequently, when we travel (ie driving), we can't really play games that much. This is where the smartphone shines. You're at a drive-thru, there are 5 cars in front of you... are you really going to want to power up a separate device and begin an epic journey? By the time you get started, it's time to put it away, but it's more than enough time to power up Angry Birds and the like for a few minutes.
Take Japan though, they use trains and buses to go EVERYWHERE. Think about how much down time they have between distinations. I bet anybody would find when commuting 1-2 hrs a day, that the simple smartphone games won't cut it for long. They'll keep you for a while, but I'm quite sure even the CASUAL gamer will get tired of them. I honestly feel that this is why handhelds have been so successful in Japan.
I hope I am wrong about the PS Vita's success in the US, cause handheld multiplayer gaming is something I've been waiting for for a LONG TIME, and naturally, the appeal of this aspect depends on the number of people with the system.
3DS: 367,691 over 7 days, 52,527.29 a day average
Vita: 324,859 over 2 days, 162,429.5 a day average
Who outsold whom?
Techni do not forget that the 3DS is being sold world wide as the ps vita is being sold only in japan. not sure if the stats for the 3DS are for just japan or world wide sales.
Want a option to buy avatar's on the ps vita's psn store. Then vote on the link by copying it to your web browser.