If you are one of those people who has been itching to pick up a PlayStation Vita, but have been waiting for the system’s price to drop, I have some bad news for you. That is, unless you happen to live in Japan.
Starting February 28th in Japan, the PlayStation Vita will be marked down by twenty percent to a new retail price of ¥19,980, which is roughly $215 American dollars, for both the 3G/Wi-fi and Wi-fi models. In North America, however, it’s a different story.
During a roundtable interview earlier today, Sony Worldwide Studios head, Shuhei Yoshida, said simply “No, it’s not” when asked whether the PlayStation Vita will be getting a price drop in North America. Mr. Yoshida cited current exchange rates as the reason for not dropping the system’s price in North America – or the rest of the world, for that matter.
“One answer could be when you compare the pricing on PS Vita across regions, because of the yen value. In Japan, the system had been priced the highest. We had been selling for 25,000 yen; that’s more than $250 when you compare the exchange rates.”
Mr. Yoshida went on to note that pricing is “a region-by-region-based decision, always.”
Vita has famously struggled to find an audience in North America. Estimates place the system’s sales for January, 2013, at just 35,000 units – worse, even, than the abysmal 57,000 unit sales of Nintendo’s Wii U (which also needs some help). A price cut on the Vita hardware in North America can only help, but it might behoove Sony not to stop there. There are long-standing complaints about the price of the system’s proprietary memory cards, with Vita owners claiming that games take up way too much space, and that higher capacity storage is not just necessary, but overdue.
Clearly, Sony is committed to Vita. The system’s presence during the PlayStation Meeting attests to as much, and its connectivity with PlayStation 4 ensures that Vita will remain a priority for Sony for the foreseeable future. But will developers support PS4/Vita connectivity if the handheld continues to flounder at retial? And if Sony is unwilling to drop the system’s price in North America, what else can be done to turn the system’s fortunes around?
Which side are you on? Do you think the Vita, or its memory cards, need a price drop? Maybe both? Let us know in the comment section below!