It seems that the people in charge of Sony's gaming division have finally made up their minds about the PS Vita's pricing. During an online Sony event, the company has announced that both the WiFi and the 3G models of the powerful gaming handheld will have their prices cut to 19,980 yen, or about 20 percent to a third depending on the model, according to Sam Byford of The Verge. Does this mean we'll be seeing a price drop here in the U.S.? If so, when and by how much?
Why would Sony drop the price?
The PS Vita is currently the most powerful handheld gaming console available. It's roughly as powerful as Sony's PlayStation 3 home game console -- some games are even available on both, and can be purchased simultaneously through Sony's cross-buy program. But it's also about as expensive, at $249 USD. And that's before adding a memory card, which is essential for storing downloaded games and can cost up to $99 for a 32 GB card. (PS Vita memory cards use a proprietary format, and there are no third-party versions available.)
The Nintendo 3DS handheld console wasn't selling well either, until Nintendo dropped the price on it dramatically last year. It's now picking up steam, and Sony execs may have noticed the difference.
Is a price drop likely?
Just last month, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai was talking about looking to the "long term" when it came to sales of the PS Vita, which had only sold about 2 million units worldwide a half year or so since its launch. But then, a couple weeks ago, Sony exec Masaru Kato mentioned the Vita's "pricing" as one of the "things that we are looking into" for improving its sales. With the price drop now announced in Japan, the odds of one occurring here in the States just went up.
How much is the price drop?
Gematsu's Sal Romano explains that the PS Vita's former price, 24,980 yen, became $249 here in the States, even though it more directly compares to a $269 price tag (the same as a low-end PlayStation 3). Because of this, it's possible that the new price of 19,980 yen may become $199, even though Byford says that a more direct currency exchange would make it worth $215.
When would this happen?
The price drop will occur in Japan on Feb. 28. As far as the rest of the world goes, the most likely time for any announcements regarding the PlayStation brand would be Sony's big upcoming event on Wednesday. Among other things, it's expected that the "PlayStation 4" (its actual name yet unknown) will be announced there.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Game Consoles
- Technology & Electronics
- PS Vita