Hands up, those of you who bought a Nintendo 3DS in the first few weeks of its launch on our shores. Did anyone buy it? Oh, I see a rather small crowd of you in the back. Now who bought one after the price cuts by Nintendo? Ah, that looks like a better show of hands. So when the price was right, the customer finally decided to buy it. Who bought a Vita? Hold it, don’t put your hands down! One…two…three…
I really hope someone relays this information to Sony’s Worldwide Studios boss, Shuhei Yoshida. Yoshida has recently stated that its too early for a Vita price drop and says that the company is rather going to focus on increasing value by bundling games and other accessories with the console.
This is in stark contrast to the way in which previous launches were handled, but its to be expected, I admit. Since Sony posted billions of Dollars in debt thanks to ailing divisions within the company, Kazuo Hirai stepped up to the plate as the new CEO and promised to make things better, starting with the enormous debt the TV division was hiding all these years. This looks to be part of that strategy.
Think about it. Nintendo dropped pricing of the 3DS when sales were going badly and they had realised the price was too high. They still make a profit off each one sold because they got their ducks in a row and made sure that making the handheld console profitable was the first priority. Sony in comparison previously sold nearly every Playstation-branded product at a loss with the exception of the PSP Go, the Slimline PS3 (after nearly four years of losses from launch) and now their new range of Xperia phones and the Vita, both products selling at a price that makes it profitable for Sony. The company recently made a few hedged bets by buying an online streaming service, dropping a few trademarks they’ll never develop in full and even succeeding in landing a patent for a form of in-game advertising, all in the name of fixing the issue of being one of the world’s biggest gaming platform providers but earning less in total than Apple’s iPhone 4s sales.
For those of you hoping that there will be a price drop soon, I don’t expect one until later next year. Sony still wants to get some cash in before they go down the price war route and cash flow is currently a major problem for the company, not the mention that they got lower credit ratings from US companies just two months ago. Its a side-effect of having an industry that remains resolutely old-school in the face of competition that constantly reinvents their products and market. The Playstation network, for example is still free, but judging by the $1.78 billion in sales that Microsoft made, they’ll probably find a better way to monetise that too, considering they’re already getting some success with the Playstation Plus subcriptions. Once Sony’s project is in the clear there will be price drops as expected. Currently sales for the Vita total 1.8 million, in stark contrast to Nintendo’s monumental lead of 4.5 million 3DS units worldwide.
If you still want a portable gaming console though, look no further than a Vita. There’s so much it has to offer that it would be madness to turn one down, unless you’re a serious Mario or Pokemon fan. There’s now cross-platform sales if you buy a qualifying game on the PS3 and there’s a lot to like about the Playstation Plus subscription, even if its a bit pricey.