You don’t have to look far to find someone on the internet bitching about the price of Sony’s PlayStation Vita. In fact, let’s play a little game. I’ll bet you $249 that at least one comment below (or on N4G—hey, we know where people really like to bitch) will say Sony cannot be successful without dropping the price of the Vita. Wahhhh, get over it. I can’t justify buying the latest iPad (or any iProduct, for that matter) simply because there are better things to buy, say PS Vita games. If you really want a PS Vita and can’t afford it, well that’s a different story. If you simply think it’s overpriced, you need to play one for longer than 5 minutes at your local game shop. Now, if you want to bitch about anything related to Vita, go ahead and bitch that there aren’t enough new games—there are still plenty of PSP games to check out, and of course PSOne classics.
It’s too soon to see a Vita price cut. Some people speculated that Sony would announce a new price for the PS Vita during its press conference at E3 2012, but those are the same people that thought Kevin Butler would waddle out on stage holding a prototype of the PS4.
Where’s my sale?
So what’s the argument for a price cut? Well, there’s the logical one: you can buy a PlayStation 3 console for essentially the same price, if not cheaper, than a new PS Vita (then again, PS3 is five-year-old technology). That’s right, you can get Sony’s black behemoth, which plays awesome HD games like Uncharted 3 and God of War III, in addition to serving as your home entertainment system with 3D and Blu-ray movies. But, you can’t put your PS3 in your pocket unless you regularly wear MC Hammer pants. Vita is not a mobile version of the PS3, as much as some want it to be. It’s a brand new device with a set of new features, new games, new concepts, new social aspects, and new problems.
Technology today grows and changes like a gross viral infection and prices aren’t coming down anytime soon. Sure, I bought my cell phone from a gas station vending machine for two quarters, but I still have to spend money each month for its nonsense service. My TV cost well over $300, and my car; don’t even get me started on car prices. So when Sony said, “hey, we have the follow-up to our PSP available in both Wi-Fi-only and 3G models,” are you really surprised that it cost around that $300 mark? Are you surprised that just four months later Sony has yet to announce a price drop?
What about the games?
Sony appears to be in no rush to drop prices. Executives have routinely said they are happy with the success of Vita so far, and that the future is looking great—then again, who’s going to buy a product if the future looks terrible? Sure, during E3 the mega PS Vita game reveals felt, well, virtually non-existent. But we still have some fall backs. We can expect a Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed to eventually hit the Vita, in addition to the highly, highly anticipated Bioshock project.
For those new to PS Vita, you should absolutely check out Uncharted: Golden Abyss, FIFA Soccer, Rayman Origins, Gravity Rush, and WipeOut 2048. And luckily Sony announced during its E3 2012 presser that the Vita is getting PSOne classics—hooray!
But what else do we want to see? Well, for starters, a lot of the yearly release games—sports games and shooters, to be precise—are not getting PS Vita versions; in fact, many of these franchises are sticking with PSP. We need to see Vita added to that mix for games like NBA 2K13, FIFA 13, and whatever EA cooks up to compete against Call of Duty (read Medal of Honor). We need those big recognizable franchises to have unique Vita versions—God of War, Batman: Arkham anything, The Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto, and Dark/Demon’s Souls (imagine that!).
Vita absolutely has the power to deliver something unique for all those franchises. The graphics are brilliant for a handheld gaming device, the touch controls are extremely precise, and just think of the online abilities or cross-console gameplay.
So instead of complaining that Vita needs to be cheaper, complain instead that developers need to invest some resources into new games. Now, this is a Catch 22, of course. Developers don’t want to drop millions of dollars into a title that’s going into the hands of a small fraction of the gaming market.
Here’s what’s going to happen (maybe I should change my original bet): come this holiday season, Sony is going to have a very, very competitive bundle that includes a game, a PSN voucher, a memory stick, and a Wi-Fi Vita for under $249. The 3G model will almost undoubtedly drop to $249, but expect to see several bundle options for the Wi-Fi version. It won’t be quite as competitive as this past year’s holiday season where you could buy a PS3 with two games for the cost of wrapping paper, but it’s still going to look very attractive to new punters. If Sony really wants to push Vitas, it needs to use this holiday season to create bundles that will sell.
That’s just my rant about PS Vita to date. I definitely enjoy mine, but looking through my collection of games, I’m already bored. While there is a lot to look forward to in the Vita’s lifecycle, complaining about the current price is dumb considering nearly every bit of technology costs about $300 and it’s almost four months old. What do you think about Sony’s Vita pricing and the current lineup of games? Don’t agree with me? Let us know in the comments section below.