PlayStation Vita: A Steal At $249.99, Or Too Expensive?
Nintendo's recent 3DS price drop may affect Sony's chance at retail.
On August 12, Nintendo slashed the price of its 3DS system from $249.99 to a more reasonable $169.99.
This $80 move was made after consumers balked at the system's MSRP. The message? Nintendo, viewed as a toy maker by a lot of people, cannot get away with this sort of thing, at least when it comes to portable systems.
This brings us to Sony. Early next year, the publishing giant will release PlayStation Vita in the U.S. for $249.99, with a 3G enabled $299.99 edition, which brings us to the following question:
If Nintendo, the market leader in the handheld space for more than 20 years, cannot convince buyers to plunk down that kind of money, what makes Sony think it can do the same?
To be fair, Vita and 3DS are two unique machines that convey different messages. 3DS is clearly for children and adults that consider themselves kids at heart.
Vita, meanwhile, is a powerhouse designed for tech savvy individuals that want to get the most from its bevy of sophisticated features, from the touch screen and rear touch pad to high definition movies and online connectivity.
Sony also has the most powerful system that falls just shy of PlayStation 3 quality graphics.
At the same time, it remains to be seen whether the company can sell both Vita and PlayStation 3 at the same price. Consumers tend to view consoles as more expensive than handhelds. It would take one phenomenal marketing campaign to convince them otherwise, and even that could fail.
Now consider the impact that smart phones like the iPhone have had on the market, and Sony's chances at success appear slimmer by the second.
Bottom line, Vita will need an incredible launch lineup and perhaps a pack-in game to attract shoppers outside Sony's fan base. Just releasing the system at $249.99, after what happened to Nintendo, may be suicide.