Sony has said the PlayStation Vita handheld has performed below its expectations, and says the high asking price coupled with a limited selection of games is to blame.

Speaking with Famitsu magazine, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan president Haroshi Kawano said, “Certainly, at the present time, maybe we're a little behind the numbers we originally pictured.”

The Vita is estimated to be selling as little as 10 – 15,000 units per week in Japan. Its rival, Nintendo’s 3DS, is selling upwards of 70,000 units per week.

“As with our other platforms, we're developing the Vita system with the idea that it'll have a lifecycle of 10 years and change, so I think we need to do everything we can to flesh out the service going forward,” added Kawano.

The Vita has already undergone a price cut in Japan, and will now sell for ¥19,980 (AU$238). However, that’s still more expensive than the 3DS XL at ¥18,900 (AU$195).

Increasing the number of games available on the system may be more difficult. Third party publishers such as Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Activision are unlikely to invest significantly in developing for a platform that represents a shallow customer pool for their products.

Meanwhile, Sony’s own handful of studios must continue to support the more popular PlayStation 3, and perhaps work on launch titles for its next generation console, which it is rumoured will be announced later today.