1. It had a ton of hype behind it, it was announced during the era the PS2's popularity and dominance. There were big games like GTA and FF announced for it from the start. That's what helped propel it initially.
2. The PSP what hacked to hell and back, which kept hardware sales up, but in turn killed software sales.
I had one. I got it because I liked the PS2, it had GTA and FF, and most of all because it had great multi-media abilities. Also, it looked cool. After a while phones offered the multimedia abilites, I found that it was a little to bulky to make a great portable and I found GTA is better on a console. I stopped using it pretty quick, probably had 4 or 5 games. I also found myself jealous of people playing NSMB on DS. None of what sucked me in with the PSP is of value to me now, so I would never consider a Vita.
i remember it did have a must have hype at the time from the younger ones,it was the other alternative with a strong brand like people said,videos & movies etc,not that they really took off i guess but people must have liked it when they first got it