The PlayStation Vita comes out December 17 in Japan (February 22 over here), and while excitement in Japan at this moment is primarily geared toward the new 3DS Monster Hunter, that’s likely to change in a hurry once Saturday rolls around. This week’s issue of Japan’s Famitsu magazine sadly features no reviews of the Vita’s extensive launch lineup (26 games in Japan!), but they did publish a new survey where they polled visitors to their website about their purchase plans.

It’s not a surprise, perhaps, that Famitsu.com readers are a bit more interested in the Vita than Japan’s population in general. 73.3% of responders said they intend to purchase a PS Vita on the launch date, with 19.5% saying they’d either avoid the system entirely or take a wait-and-see approach. Of those, the great majority, 68.8%, are intending to purchase the 3G/Wi-Fi version of the system, although how many of those are going to be available to non-preordering gamers on Saturday is anybody’s guess.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that hardcore gamers seem to be a lot more interested in purchasing the Vita itself on day one as opposed to any games for it. Only 69.4% of Famitsu’s responders stated that they’d buy any games at all out of the Vita’s launch lineup, perhaps an indicator that most gamers want to nab the hardware first and foremost in anticipation of it being scarce for a while to come. Among people who did intend to make some game purchases, Uncharted: Golden Abyss (30.1%) and Hot Shots Gold: World Invitational (25.7%) were by far the preferred choices.

The Vita will feature extensive amounts of software for download out of the box, which may explain some of that. 70.7% of pollees said they would be downloading some of the software available at launch, although 74.4% stated that they’d still prefer purchasing packaged retail software for the Vita over downloading it. On the accessory side, 85.6% said they intended to purchase a memory card, with 45.9% of those aiming for the full 32GB card if they can get their hands on one.

By Kevin Gifford