Media Create data shows that the PlayStation Vita sold 42,648 units in its third week at Japanese retail, a precipitous drop from last week's already troubling 72,479. Once again, the new handheld trails behind the 3DS (at 197,952), PS3, and, yes, the PSP.

Compare that to the 3DS, which was also perceived as something of a flop in its early days. In its third week on the market (from March 7 through March 13 of last year), 96,463 3DS systems were sold in Japan, with 209,623 preceding. The Vita is clearly off to a slower start.

Once again, no Vita games appeared in the Media Create top 20 software charts, though we expect slow retail software sales even after the system picks up, thanks to the pervasive digital distribution of Vita games.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.