The Vita is a cool piece of hardware. It’s powerful, it’s stylish, and it offers some potentially innovative new ways to play games. Despite all that, the system has been selling rather poorly — even the 3DS, who people quickly labelled as “doomed” after its rocky launch, managed to sell faster. Sony has admitted as much themselves, citing poor Vita sales for their inability to meet their sales forecasts for the last fiscal quarter. A price drop would definitely help the situation, but Sony announced today that they don’t plan to cut the Vita’s $250 MSRP until at least the beginning of next year.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Sony exec Shuhei Yoshida explained Sony’s reluctance to quickly drop the price of the Vita:
“At a certain point in the future we would like to address the pricing issue for some of the people who are waiting. But this year we are trying to add value by creating different types of bundles. We announced we will provide LittleBigPlanet PS Vita bundle pack. That’s affordable for people who are looking for a good deal.”
He went on to add that it was simply “too early” to talk about price cuts, and though he admitted that he knows that the Vita’s pricing is one of the issues limiting sales of the system, he reiterated that the Vita wouldn’t see a price drop until Sony’s engineers can figure out a way to reduce the cost of manufacturing the system.
Yoshida also addressed the common criticism that the Vita simply doesn’t have enough games to warrant a purchase, saying that generating new content for the system is a priority for Sony. The company announced a number of new games for the handheld system just a two days ago at Europe’s Gamescom expo.
I understand that Sony doesn’t want to lose money on their hardware, but despite their explanations, it’s still hard to see why they’re still so reluctant to drop the price of the Vita — the 3DS was in an arguably less dire situation this time last year, and Nintendo still saw fit to slash that system’s price by a hefty $80, which increased holiday sales significantly. Obviously, the Vita is a much different system than the 3DS, but there’s no denying that a lower price point would definitely help the system increase its user base. Still, Sony seems to be convinced that there are still people out there who are willing to pay $250 for a dedicated gaming handheld, even if the numbers don’t support their assumptions.