June came to an end less than a week ago, marking our halfway point through the year 2011. Yet somehow, those six months were all the PSP needed in order to match its total number of units sold for the entire previous year – at least in Japan. In 2010, Sony’s handheld sold 1,075,958 units in its home country, but as of June 26, 2011, it already matched that number. Currently, it has sold 1,101,330 units, spanning all versions of the system.
Having not released any new versions of the system since 2008, these strong sales are clearly the result of the machine having appealing software. The highest selling PSP game worldwide of all time, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, was released in early December, so its assistance in system sales has been split between 2011 and 2010. Oddly, even though MHP3 is the best selling PSP game ever (and will likely never be topped), it has only been released in Japan.
But the machine has seen other big guns join the fight. Valkyria Chronicles 3 came out in January and did quite well for itself. Nostalgic RPG fans who don’t feel like shelling out $40 for a series of episodic WiiWare downloads finally got a chance to play Final Fantasy IV: The After Years as part of FFIV‘s PSP reboot, and furthermore got a complete remake of Persona 2. Musical adventure Patapon 3 stayed in the top 10 best sellers for a long while, Gundam Memories continued to cash in on the series tremendous popularity, and Sting’s Gungnir helped move things along as well.
As recently as May, PSP game Akiba’s Trip was ruling the sales charts, after having spent a long while near the top of fan polls asking about the most anticipated games. Even now, Fotokano and Final Fantasy Type 0 are waiting in the wings, each likely to make a few more people get out and pick up a PSP.
To date, the PSP has sold approximately 68 million units worldwide, 17 million of those in Japan. With the Vita, Sony’s next handheld, on the horizon, this is likely PSP’s last big year. We say this, but then, games and the systems that house them tend to have a lot more longevity in Japan than most other territories, so we’ll see how the ol’ girl holds up through the rest of this year and into 2012.