Saturday, 28 January 2012

5 Handhelds That Sold Worse Than The Playstation Vita

We've all heard recently about the Playstation Vita, and how it bombed when it was released in Japan back in December. Now, I'm sure there are a bunch of people out there annoyed as they were looking forward to the Vita - We were too! So, to make everyone feel a bit better - here's 5 handheld consoles that sold worse than the Vita did...


Oh, Gizmondo. Less of a handheld console, more of an urban legend. The Gizmondo was, to be frank, a complete and utter failure.

For those of you who don't know, the Gizmondo was released back in 2005 when the DS and PSP were being released to excited gamers everywhere. But who needs the likes of Mario Kart DS or Wipeout Pure, when you have Sticky Balls - or at least that was Tiger Telematics' theory.

Problem 1: The Gizmondo was released in the UK at a hefty £229, and in the US at $400 - This was higher than both the DS and PSP and there was just no reason to splash out on it! It was way too expensive.
So, Tiger Telematics came up with an alternative as well! Buy a "Smart Ads" enabled Gizmondo for half the price! Genius. Smart Ads were just adverts that interrupted your gaming experience at random moments - hardly what you want when your in a gripping game of....Toy Golf?

The launch line-up of the Gizmondo made the 3DS launch look mind-blowing. It's best-selling game was the aforementioned Sticky Balls, which wasn't the worst game in the world - but wasn't anything special either. Although it had one of the best opening songs for a game ever - I recommend you watch the video below...

In the end there were only 14 games released for the Gizmondo, and it sold only 25,000 units worldwide....Makes the Vita's 400,000 look quite good....

Virtual Boy

Since release in 1995, the Virtual Boy has been known as Nintendo's biggest flop. For those who don't know, the Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first attempt at 3D gaming. Unfortunately, they got nothing right.

The design of the Virtual boy was poor. It was described as a handheld console, but if you tried to play it on the bus, not only would it be bloody difficult due to the stand and the separate controller - but also people would probably laugh and point.

What made things worse was there was practically nothing worth playing! All the games had an ugly red and black look (they were the only colours the Virtual Boy could handle!), but also playing for too long was proven to cause migraines in most people. Oh dear...

WOW! Look at those graphics!

The Virtual Boy was discontinued in around a year in most regions - In that time it had sold 770,000 units. The Playstation Vita has already sold over half of that number in less than a month - you do the math.

The (pronounced just Game Com) was in many ways ahead of its time. When released back in 1997, it had many features that handhelds nowadays normally have! It had a touch-screen and stylus (way before the DS came along), it was the first handheld to have Internet functions or to include basic PDA functions.

The problem was the technology wasn't ready for things like this back then. The touch-screen lacked precision and made it hard to see the on-screen controls, meanwhile entering addresses and phone numbers was cumbersome and just not worth the time it took!

Something that probably contributed more to the failure was the lack of games! Tiger Electronics (no relation to the aforementioned Tiger Telematics) tried to make the a mature handheld - obtaining licenses to the likes of Duke Nukem, Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat - but still the games just didn't sell.

To try and pick-up the poor sales of the, Tiger Electronics released an improved system: the Pocket Pro. The system was smaller, had a front-lit screen and required fewer batteries: but still nobody cared.

The system's slow death finally came to a close in 2000. In the 3 years the was on the market it had sold only 300,000 units - making the Playstaton Vita's 440,000 look amazing - and had only 20 games released for it.

Gameboy Micro

The Gameboy Micro is probably one of the only consoles on this list worth having! The only problem with the Gameboy Micro was the time it came out.

For those who don't know, the Micro was the final Gameboy console, and was released in September 2005 - a few months after the DS's release. Timing doesn't get worse.
The console itself wasn't that bad - while it couldn't play original Gameboy/Gameboy Colour games like its predecessor it was compatible with nearly the entire library of Gameboy Advance games (except those which used motion sensors - which was only a handful).

It had a superior backlit screen to that of the Advance SP and had adjustable brightness setting. Another neat feature was the Micro's different faceplates. Kind of like what the XBOX 360 had when it was first launched, you could take the front of your Micro off and replace it with a different/more decorative one. On top of all this it was amazingly small and light - as the name suggests.

Now that is Micro.

But as I said before, the thing that doomed the Micro was its release date. Nintendo effectively put its two handhelds against each other. Except, the Micro was handicapped due to the DS being a next-gen console (at the time).

So what did this mean? It meant that when the Micro was released - no matter how good it was - nobody cared. Why pay $99/over £100 on a new Gameboy, when you could be playing Mario Kart DS and Super Mario 64 DS on Nintendo's new console? There was no good answer to that question.

In its first few days in Japan, the Micro sold 170,000 units - compared to the Vita selling over 300,000.
The Micro was discontinued by 2007, with only 2.5 million units sold.


It's 1990. The original Gameboy has been out for a year, and with its fun games and budget price was taking the world by storm. NEC, makers of the TurboGrafx-16 (a console that was failing behind the likes of the SNES and Mega Drive) bring out the TurboExpress - which was quite simply a portable version of the TurboGrafx-16.

This was all very impressive. The TG-16 itself was a very powerful console, so squeezing it onto a handheld was an awesome must-have, right? Wrong. The TurboExpress was very powerful, but was also very expensive. It launched in the US with a hefty, $249.99 price tag (a price tag that briefly rose to $299.99!).

Due to this price it became known as the Rolls-Royce of handhelds - and even if you did have the cash, what was the point in buying a TurboExpress. No Mario, No Sonic, No Zelda - there didn't seem to be much of an advantage.

That and the fact that adopters of the TurboExpress often had to put up with sound failure, pixel failure and terrible battery life, meant that people pretty much ignored the Express.

Several terrible ad-campaigns and price cuts later, the TurboExpress was discontinued in 1995 - In 5 years it had struggled to around 1.5 million units sold. The Playstation Vita sold nearly 1/3 of that in it's first couple of weeks.

Those 5 are just some of the consoles that sold less than the Vita. I don't mean to sound like a fanboy - I just think that it's way too early to give up on the Vita.
If you want to talk more about these consoles or the Vita, comment on this post or head over to our brand new Forums and start a topic - the Forums are free to use and open to all! Just click the Forums page in the menu bar.


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