The PSP Go was an experiment (to say the least) to see if a handheld could succeed without physical games. We now know it can't. Maybe the world just wasn't ready, but Sony isn't willing to abandon its digital distribution ideal for a handheld system just yet.
The PS Vita will have physical media, but every game will also be downloadable from the PlayStation Store. Sony Entertainment Europe’s new president and CEO Jim Ryan explained that the goal is for the digital and physical release dates to be the same, but he didn't talk about how the pricing system will work.
It's possible that retailers will demand a competitive pricing structure, and the digital versions will have artificially high prices, to avoid undercutting brick and mortar stores despite electronic distribution's lower overhead. That still leaves the possibility that prices could be different due to sales and lowering prices over time. Ideally, if digital and physical media become truly competitive for the PS Vita, they'll each drive each other's prices down. But we'll have to actually get a Vita before we can worry about that.
August 17, 2011
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