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The PS Vita gets a price drop in Japan
The PS Vita gets a price drop in Japan
February 18, 2013 | By Mike Rose

February 18, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

With PS Vita sales dwindling, Sony has finally cut the price of the troubled handheld system -- although the drop will only affect Japan for now.

From February 28, both the Wi-Fi and 3G versions of the device will cost 19,980 yen ($215), down from 24,980 yen ($269) for the Wi-Fi model, and 29,980 yen ($323) for the 3G model.

Sony was also keen to reiterate that there are numerous titles coming to the handheld over the course of the next few months, including Phantasy Star Online 2, Soul Sacrifice and Tales of Hearts.

With Sony gearing up to a big event this week, this price drop has led to speculation online that a similar PS Vita price cut will be announced for the U.S. and Europe.

Sony desperately needs to shift more Vita hardware units, following slashed forecasted sales for the handheld -- hence the price drop incentive.

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Joe Zachery
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Very disappointed in Sony's move for the Vita in Japan. It's clear they have no plans for the console. They showed No 1st party content, and all the games they did show have been already announced. Finally the only thing they could come up with is tell 3rd parties to clone. The one major game that gave their PSP a fighting chance in Japan. We all know they need Monster Hunter to have even a chance in Japan. So having Monster Hunter type games should be a good idea. Still when every game being released is a Monster Hunter type game. I would be very worried about overall audience of people who will buy my console. It's going to be Monster Hunter and nothing else. Which could hurt them in the same way Nintendo fans only buy Nintendo made games.

William Johnson
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Well, it ain't Wednesday yet. So Sony hasn't exactly revealed to us their road map of the near future of the Vita.

I'm not going to hold my breath that they'll be able to right the Vita's current course, but still, they might be able to do something about it, and they won't let us know what that is until the 20th.

Joe Zachery
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Well some thought this surprise Vita Heaven was to move Vita news from that event. There was already rumors about a 4G Vita coming in at the current Vita's price. So your right we will see, but I think this is all they have! Sony wants to get into their PS4 asap.

Leon T
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Might be to late now with the 3DS starting to run away in Japan. I doubt Sony has anything coming that can counter MH4 or the new Pokemon coming out this year.

Mike Griffin
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It wouldn't surprise me to discover that Sony has much longer-term plans for the Vita or the device's technology, and somehow all of this became factored into a sort of internal worst case scenario, future-looking, step-by-step recovery plan.

Perhaps the Vita (and its cost-reduced/altered form factor future successor) will play a far more important role in the Orbis/PS4 equation compared to the current role. Sony typically drops into 7-10 year game hardware cycles, after all.

Obviously Sony execs would have greatly preferred a powerful launch and robust sales for the Vita at this stage.

But they likely knew -- given today's mobile trends -- that a new portable game device now faces a tougher, paradigm-shifted marketplace. Nintendo encountered this as well, as we recall with its rocky first quarter of 3DS sales.

So perhaps a slow phasing-in of Vita price drops as manufacturing costs lighten up, and a sequence of strategically huge product announcements between here and the next PS console release.

With Sony pulling Vita cross-play/functionality into the PS4 loop much tighter than it's been with PS3, perhaps a proper riposte of the Wii U's functions. Granted, the need to worry about Nintendo and its novelties in the coming generation seems less of an issue for Sony at the moment.

On the other hand, rumors seem to indicate that the "second screen" for Microsoft and Sony's next consoles will involve wide spectrum mobile smartglassing, not limited to in-house second screen device cross-functionality.

Combined with an inadequate installed/projected base for the Vita by the time the PS4 hits the street, and the portable -- perhaps at one time a core pillar of the PS4 ecosystem -- may get moved to the back burner thanks to its less-than-exemplary performance.

Then there's the rumor about the PS4 having proprietary controllers with built-in screens/touchpads.
Maybe the cross-functionality R&D between Vita and the next home console proved so effective, the tech already in such manufacturing abundance, and the sluggish Vita sales so risky, that Sony simply opts to design default controllers that mimic second screen and/or Vita functionality.

We shall see, and soon!

Andrew Chen
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Mike, I agree Sony must be strategizing for how to keep Vita relevant for the next 3-5 years. But I don't think Sony was prepared, at all, for just how poor market reception in it's first full year would be. This is hinted in the constantly revised ww sales forecasts linked in the article: 16 million to 12 to 10 and most recently to 7 million. As a responsibly run, publicly traded entity, each of those estimations was not announced lightly.

That shows that the company's strategic leaders have been shellacked by market realities. This price-drop only 1 year in, as with the 3DS before it, is a very aggressive and desperate move. Vita was likely losing money at its original msrp, now it is certainly losing a boatload.

Sony's directors feel it is now a question of survival not because the hardware can't stay relevant for at least several more years (its GREAT gaming hardware, should "age" OK) but because they see developers right now turning away they must move to reverse that trend or there will be no games next year. Now, the decently healthy PSP market in Japan is given a smoother road to upgrade.

This was probably inevitable. Now that the price drop that everyone was expecting for the last 6 months is out of the way, they can focus on repositioning the Vita perhaps through services. I don't know yet how they plan to meaningfully integrate gaming functionality directly with PS4, but I know cross-platform services can be very attractive. Playstation++, with monthly select software, cloud saves and Gaikai virtual console accessible from both PS4 and Vita is a nice service package worth at least what Live charges and probably more.

Patrick Davis
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Price drop on those ridiculous memory card prices maybe? One can only hope.