Apparently eager to kickstart PlayStation Vita's flat-lining sales, Sony has introduced a referral program that rewards PlayStation Store money and Sony Rewards points to PS Vita owner who convince others to buy the handheld.
The program, powered by AMPLIFY and Sony Rewards, appears to require a valid PSN ID that has been linked to a PS Vita system. From there, you can solicit friends, family, acquaintances via Facebook, Twitter, and email to buy a PS Vita. If they do, and register the purchase through a particular web portal, you'll be awarded the above-mentioned goodies. The number of bonuses you can win caps out at 10 (the equivalent of 10 $20 PSN cards and 10,000 Sony Rewards points), but you can continue to refer friends until February 28, 2013, at which point the contest period will end and a Grand Prize winner - he or she with the most successful referrals - will be crowned.
What does the Grand Prize winner receive? Nothing short of 1,000,000 Sony Rewards points - equivalent to $10,000, and usable on everything from PlayStation games, systems, and accessories to PSN cards, Blu-Rays, MP3s, and more.
It's easy to point to this referral program as an act of desperation. Given that PS Vita hasn't been on store shelves in North America for even one year, this news is especially troubling. However, development and support for the device has never been higher - a deluge of great (nay, amazing) Vita games were released during 2012's holiday season, and blockbuster exclusives like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Killzone Mercenary, and Tearaway are right around the corner.
So, is this move by Sony one of panic, or charity? Is Sony positioning the device to flourish in 2013 by expanding its install base, or desperately trying to push units in the wake of lower-than-expected sales? Join the conversation in the comments below, or in our official forums.