Vita price needs to follow Japan's lead asap

'The price cut announced is for the SCE Japan region only and we have nothing to announce at this time regarding pricing within our own region.' That's what Sony told us after the news that PlayStation Vita is getting a price cut in Japan. The lack of movement in the west has come as a surprise to many, especially as Vita has suffered one of the most difficult and trying first years of any console we can remember. Or, to put it more starkly: Few consoles have endured this bad a first year and actually ended up surviving.

But as luck would have it, two consoles that eventually came through to flourish after a frankly abysmal start are recent and high-profile successes: 3DS and PlayStation 3. And why was that? In both instances, a price drop kick-started growth. Vita must, must, must follow suit soon...

Nintendo’s 3DS was in a very similar position to the one Vita finds itself in now, to the point where we were asking, completely straight-faced: Is Nintendo in trouble? when a huge $80 price cut was announced a mere 4 months after launch. Honestly, the answer to that question at the time was a succinct 'yes'. The launch was one of the worst in years and the price drop was a drastic, unprecedented, obviously-last-ditch attempt to defibrillate a flatlining new handheld. 

It was totally necessary, too. Besides the ludicrous initial RRP, not only were there not enough AAA-quality games at launch, there weren’t enough games on its release schedule and third-party publishers (like Konami) were holding back releases in the hope the market would grow a little before taking the plunge. Sound familiar? 

The audience may have applauded when Vita’s price was announced because at that moment in time, it matched the RRP of Nintendo’s system, even though the specs were considerably higher. To bring this wondermachine to market at the same price as its direct competitor looked like a masterstroke. But by the time the machine was a reality, 3DS was cheaper, better supported and picking up 10/10 reviews.

While nothing essential has come out for Vita, there are plenty of good games for it. So the first year hasn't been a total washout, although it would benefit from a fresh start now. In its favour, the Sony handheld is still young enough for its impressive technical specs to remain undiminished after its troubled first year on sale. It’s still the most powerful handheld available by far.

And Vita does have an ace up its sleeve...

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  • interasteral7 - February 26, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    Gamesradar, you should realize that Sony needs to bring more good exclusives, then dropping a console's price. Gamers buy a console to play the exclusive games on it, not because its cheap. Still it would not hurt if Sony dropped the memory sd cards.
  • CrashmanX - February 27, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    See the thing is, if the console doesn't sell well developers don't make games for it. See where I'm going with this? No sales = No new games No new games = No sales
  • ObliqueZombie - February 26, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    I saw that awesome photoshop in the beginning and scrolled up to have my suspicions confirmed: Justin Towell is writing this awesome piece. And I agree, completely. The Vita is an AWESOME system. Crossplay, high specs, and the potential for stellar games--even if it's just playing the PS3/4's (will there be crossplay for PS4?) library. And honestly, even though the PS3 I play isn't mine, I'd buy a Vita for crossplay. Maybe even Gravity Rush. Oh, and Sony should TOTALLY get some cool hardware. They've always fallen behind Nintendo and Microsoft in that department.
  • Cyberninja - February 26, 2013 4:07 a.m.

    For the PS+ to work well they need to lower memory cost and they would be Golden(especially it P4G was a free game). However if they keep offering the best games for free that reduces software sales for people who have access to the memory needed and prefer digital so it could be a slippery slope for Vita which doesn't have many games to begin with.
  • taokaka - February 26, 2013 4:03 a.m.

    I agree with this article completely but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, FIX THE GOD DAMN MEMORY CARD PRICING SONY! The lack of knowledge the general gaming community has about the vita's library is probably its second biggest downfall in my opinion. As somebody who follows news regarding most vita releases I've never actually felt the lack of games problem so many people go on about because I see so many games I become interested in. I always have something to play but at the same time I totally understand where they're coming from. An example of why this is so was when I bought gravity rush and I instantly fell in love with it, the next time I saw a gaming friend *cough* hobogonigal *cough* and told him about it he hadn't heard of it until then. If the vita's best original game launched and was only known of throughout those who were already fans of the system then something is definitely wrong.