E3 2012: No Vita Price Cut Forthcoming
During Sony’s press conference on Monday, many may have noticed the almost complete lack of new games announced for the PlayStation Vita, the Sony-made handheld system that ACTUALLY LAUNCHED THIS YEAR and has had some unsurprisingly middling sales.
During the event, we learned about the brand new Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation game coming from Ubisoft (about which I’m really excited about) and the fact that there will be a Vita version of Smash Bros. clone PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale (about which I could not give two shits).
And that’s it.
So, with this lack of public support at E3, and the fact that there won’t be another home console from Sony until at least 2013, you’d think that maybe we’d see a price cut for the Vita, right? I mean, if you’re not gonna pump out more games to spur sales, you gotta do something.
According to Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida, there’s no price cut coming. Said Yoshida to Eurogamer at E3:
“From the value for money standpoint, we think we have a good price for what the system is. And our priority is to achieve the potential through more games and services. Of course people who are looking to buy are also talking about the price of PS Vita, especially when they have to buy a memory card as well. That’s something we have to spend time to cost reduce and address in the future. But now, our laser focus is to increase the content and to realise the potential of the system.”
Apparently, after the conference ended, Yoshida started getting an earful about the lack of Vita showings, admitting that not showing more games might’ve been a tactical mistake:
“As far as how our conference went—it went as well as we thought it could. I’m getting lots of tweets from people saying, ‘where are PS Vita games?’ That was, in retrospect, our fault—not looking at every angle when we designed the program for the show. We have 25 new games, Vita titles, playable on the show floor. We could have spent more time—probably we should—showing off those games coming out this year.”
Here’s the messed up thing: I totally forgot about the Vita during the show. I literally have my Vita sitting on my desk next to my computer while I was watching the live stream, and the lack of Vita games didn’t even cross my mind. That’s how much of a non-entity this system has become since it launched in February.
Okay guys. Here comes a bit of a rant.
There’s nothing wrong with the Vita at all—it’s a great system overall. But it costs too much and doesn’t have enough must-have games. Like I said above, I’m stoked for the new Assassin’s Creed, so much that I pre-ordered the home console version on PS3 just in case there was going to be cross-platform goodness (there will be). But aside from that, why do I have this thing?
Nintendo rescued the 3DS from irrelevancy by cutting the system’s price drastically. Yes, it made headlines and caused speculation of the company’s slide into ruin—but ultimately the system got into people’s homes, and now its success is more or less assured. Nintendo wound up having a bad year, but even with an underwhelming conference, they’ve got the Wii U coming up and a decent shot at retaining the number one spot in the console wars that the Wii secured for them.
Sony, on the other hand, has been in the red for something like four years now. The Vita is practically an afterthought. Cutting its price may not be wise for their bottom line in the very short term, but I bet you it’d sell a bunch of systems and get people talking. With a higher install-base, you’d be able to sell more games, and then get more cash coming in. With no new system to hype and only a few PS3-exclusives (albeit good looking ones), I don’t understand how the Vita got swept under the rug. It’s great that there are 25 new games for the system (only 25?). But they should’ve been front and center, taking up the space that was devoted to showing off the Wonder Book–a device that I’m sure maybe only 15 percent of the E3 audience cares about.
I’m not an industry analyst, and I’ll never know what goes on in business meetings. But I’m a gamer, and a Sony-console owner. And I want the Vita to succeed so that I can play games with more people. Shouldn’t that be what Sony wants, too?