Struggling against mobile devices, Sony's PS Vita sees price cut in Japan

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Ahead of the unveiling of its next-generation PlayStation game console, Sony on Monday announced that it would be slashing the price in Japan of its PS Vita portable game console, which has seen disappointing sales as devices such as Apple's iPad have grabbed the attention of gamers.

Sackboy
Despite impressive specs and titles, Sony's PS Vita has struggled in sales.


Beginning Feb. 28, the PS Vita's Wi-Fi and 3G versions will sell for ?19,980, or approximately $215. That's a drop of about 20 percent from the Wi-Fi model's launch price, and a drop of 34 percent from the 3G/Wi-Fi model's launch price.

The price drop will coincide with the release of a new major title Phantasy Star Online 2 for Sony's portable console. February 28 will also see a PS Plus promotion for Japan, with users in the country able to activate a one-week subscription to the online service, which brings free games, discounts, and other in-game content.

The price drop news also comes ahead of a February 20 event wherein Sony is expected to unveil its next-generation console offering, the so-called "PlayStation 4." The console will likely debut at a Sony event in Manhattan on Wednesday, and it is expected to feature significantly improved internal graphics capabilities, as well as the ability to stream PlayStation 3 games from the Internet.

The price reduction and next PlayStation's introduction come as both portable and home consoles from the traditional video game giants have begun to struggle. The PlayStation Vita, which has seen sales troubles since its launch, has come under increasing pressure with the growing popularity of Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Android-powered offerings, and other mobile computing devices.

Launched in December of 2011, the PlayStation Vita was meant to take on portable devices from both Apple and portable console leader Nintendo. Sony packed considerable specs into the handheld device, including a high-resolution touchscreen, a rear touchpad, front and back cameras, and cellular connectivity. It also had a launch library of 25 titles, including established franchises such as Ninja Gaiden, Rayman, and Uncharted.

The Vita received solid reviews thanks to its hardware design and internal specs, which put it almost on par with Sony's PlayStation 3 home console. Its expensive launch price, though, made it hard to justify as a standalone device, especially considering the greater capabilities of devices such as Apple's iPod Touch.

The general trend toward convergence in the consumer electronics sector ? wherein one device can handle multiple functions ? is playing havoc with the traditional gaming sector. Whereas years past saw gamers buying dedicated devices and later spending $40 to $60 per game, free and cheap games in the mobile sector ?combined with an overall soft economy ? have blown a hole in that business model. Sony is not alone in its struggles with the PS Vita. The past month has also seen gaming giant Nintendo lowering sales estimates for its Wii U home console, and its 3DS mobile device only began to see increased sales once Nintendo dropped its retail price.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    This can't be true. The iPhone is simply a toy and no one would ever choose it over a 'serious' gaming device (oxymoron intentional).

    /s
  • Reply 2 of 38
    I don't think a price cut of the device itself is going to cut it; I buy these €20-€40 games for kids with a 'Game Console' (forgot the name, clamshell type) but think they'll be just as happy with a 99 cents iOS game. What's the price for games for this device?
  • Reply 3 of 38
    We finally took the plunge and got a Vita for the kids. They much prefer it to the iPhone and iPad. The Vita games are incredibly more intricate and textured. I guess games are games and they all pass the time. But the Vita games significantly outclass the iOS games. Whether or not the price premium is justified, I don't know. But you definitely do get what you pay for. It's too bad iOS games are dumbing down the portable game market.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    That's life in the console world. Seven year product cycles mean these impressive specs will start to look very dated against the rising and rapidly evolving smartphone and (post-iPad) tablet markets. But that's the only way console makers can make back their money on the cost of developing these platforms: long term milking of the ecosystem.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    captmatt wrote: »
    We finally took the plunge and got a Vita for the kids. They much prefer it to the iPhone and iPad. The Vita games are incredibly more intricate and textured. I guess games are games and they all pass the time. But the Vita games significantly outclass the iOS games. Whether or not the price premium is justified, I don't know. But you definitely do get what you pay for. It's too bad iOS games are dumbing down the portable game market.

    Or maybe iOS games are convincing people that the play is more important than high end graphics.

    In my mind, it's a no brainer. The iPad/iPhone/IPod Touch can do many things and gaming is only one element. For a dedicated handheld, if you're not playing games, it's likely to be collecting dust.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    captmatt wrote: »
    We finally took the plunge and got a Vita for the kids. They much prefer it to the iPhone and iPad. The Vita games are incredibly more intricate and textured. I guess games are games and they all pass the time. But the Vita games significantly outclass the iOS games. Whether or not the price premium is justified, I don't know. But you definitely do get what you pay for. It's too bad iOS games are dumbing down the portable game market.

    I agree. My son has a iPod touch and a Nintendo DS. I bought him a plethora of $. 99 games which he'll play for a little while and won't play them again. Many are copies of Temple Run or Angry Birds. He always goes back to his DS.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member


    Many people in Japan have either unlimited data or pretty high limits. They screw you with voice and text which is why the app called Line is so popular there. Cool app btw. Since most everyone has a smartphone in Japan now, few want to carry around two devices. If you have to choose between a phone and just a dedicated gaming device to carry the phone will win every time. The Vita is then relegated to a far younger market that want to play at home on wifi, but then they have to compete against TV console boxes like PS3 and the new Nintendo box in addition to computers and tablets. 


     


    The same thing is happening to the iPod market as well. The iPod touch is now mainly for young people since everyone else just uses their smart phones, whether Android or iPhone or any other brand. And even there the iPod touch now has to compete not only against smart phones but the iPad as well. I think dedicated gaming devices like the Vita and the iPod market will continue to shrink as smart phones and tablets take their place and gain share. 


     


    Not to mention plenty of very good free games on smart phones. Vita games are very expensive. That alone is also a major reason why it is failing. 

  • Reply 8 of 38
    What I find funny is that Sony has also made half-hearted attempts to bring the PlayStation branding to their Ericsson smartphones and Android tablets. I played around with their PS tablet at a display kiosk and it was laughable. The game was some low-res port of a PSOne classic. Completely unimpressive. Just walk into any Apple Store and pick up an iPad and launch Real Racing or Asphalt 6 running smoothly in high res. Sony seems afraid to cannibalize sales of one division with another, so they keep their PlayStation-ized phones and tablets relatively lobotomized; the result are phones and tablets that neither compete with the PS Vita, nor the iPhone and iPad. Another run of the mill Android device with nothing to justify the Sony branding.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    jragosta wrote: »
    Or maybe iOS games are convincing people that the play is more important than high end graphics.

    In my mind, it's a no brainer. The iPad/iPhone/IPod Touch can do many things and gaming is only one element. For a dedicated handheld, if you're not playing games, it's likely to be collecting dust.

    It's definitely not the play. A touch only screen severely limits what controls a game can have.
  • Reply 10 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    Or maybe iOS games are convincing people that the play is more important than high end graphics.



    In my mind, it's a no brainer. The iPad/iPhone/IPod Touch can do many things and gaming is only one element. For a dedicated handheld, if you're not playing games, it's likely to be collecting dust.


    Not only that, the iphone kicks the vita GPU-wise. It's just a matter of time until we see better looking games.

  • Reply 11 of 38


    I've been saying this for two years now. Neither of my kids have bothered to pick up their portable game systems since I started using an iPhone/iPad. That's why I never bothered to buy any of the newer systems and waste money. For $0.99 I can buy a game and Apple lets me install it on ALL my home devices without paying extra. Sure some games are simple, but there are some fantastic games. 20 x $1 games provide more total entertainment than a single $20 game, even if that $20 game is higher quality.


     


    The iPhone/iPad haven't taken over portable gaming, but they've put a serious dent into the handheld gaming business. If Apple made a slick dock for an iPhone or iPad Touch to give you physical controls they would pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for Sony & Nintendo.

  • Reply 12 of 38


    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


    If Apple made a slick dock for an iPhone or iPad Touch to give you physical controls they would pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for Sony & Nintendo.



     


    I think Sony and Microsoft (even though it doesn't have a handheld) will be beaten without physical controls.


     


    Nintendo's not going down any time soon.

  • Reply 13 of 38
    I've been saying this for two years now. Neither of my kids have bothered to pick up their portable game systems since I started using an iPhone/iPad. That's why I never bothered to buy any of the newer systems and waste money. For $0.99 I can buy a game and Apple lets me install it on ALL my home devices without paying extra. Sure some games are simple, but there are some fantastic games. 20 x $1 games provide more total entertainment than a single $20 game, even if that $20 game is higher quality.

    The iPhone/iPad haven't taken over portable gaming, but they've put a serious dent into the handheld gaming business. If Apple made a slick dock for an iPhone or iPad Touch to give you physical controls they would pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for Sony & Nintendo.

    Can you recommend some because I haven't found any. There are 3rd party docks for the iPod touch.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


    I've been saying this for two years now. Neither of my kids have bothered to pick up their portable game systems since I started using an iPhone/iPad. That's why I never bothered to buy any of the newer systems and waste money. For $0.99 I can buy a game and Apple lets me install it on ALL my home devices without paying extra. Sure some games are simple, but there are some fantastic games. 20 x $1 games provide more total entertainment than a single $20 game, even if that $20 game is higher quality.


     


    The iPhone/iPad haven't taken over portable gaming, but they've put a serious dent into the handheld gaming business. If Apple made a slick dock for an iPhone or iPad Touch to give you physical controls they would pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for Sony & Nintendo.



    A beefed up aTV opened up to third party apps will be devastating to Sony and Nintendo. The market will quickly be swamped with games and controllers. IOS games may not be able to compete with dedicated platforms and controllers on some levels but those offerings are overkill for the majority of people.

  • Reply 15 of 38
    The high price of the console, plus the required proprietary memory cards, saddled with a lackluster launch library with only one game worth buying (Uncharted) is what really did the Vita in. Keep in mind that the 3DS was in similar shape at this point after it's launch. It wasnt until after a drastic price cut, as well as the launch of several first party games that should have been available from the start, that things turned around. Now it's the best selling console around the world.

    iPhones and iPads are great, but for anything more complicated than fruit ninja or words with friends, they flat out suck thanks to the limitations of touch screen only controls. Angry birds is fun for about ten minutes, then it gets repetitive and boring. These aren't games, they're mini games. So trying to blame the iPhone or iPad for the vita's failure is just false, especially when you factor in the fact that it suffers from the same criticism as it's predecessor, which itself only saw limited success. When the original PSP launched, the state of cellphone games was at level of bejeweled, so it's not like they could blame phones back then. Even in the vacuum of smartphones, the Vita would at best be only as successful as the PSP because Sony is hardheaded and refused to listen to user complaints. They are their own worst enemy, sadly, not Apple.
  • Reply 16 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CaptMatt View Post



    We finally took the plunge and got a Vita for the kids. They much prefer it to the iPhone and iPad. The Vita games are incredibly more intricate and textured. I guess games are games and they all pass the time. But the Vita games significantly outclass the iOS games. Whether or not the price premium is justified, I don't know. But you definitely do get what you pay for. It's too bad iOS games are dumbing down the portable game market.


    I'm not sure exactly which games your talking about, but obviously games like Infinity Blade are on par with the Vita.  Found an article comparing some of the graphics: http://www.modojo.com/features/playstation_vita_nearly_outdated_graphically  


     


    Which is better graphically? I'm not sure, but they're close enough make you question which one your seeing and the price delta between the games.  $4 vs $40.  

  • Reply 17 of 38
    The Wii U and PSP vita are not selling come on Nintendo and Sony release your games on iOS!
  • Reply 18 of 38
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,657member


    It's a myth that only "simple" games are to be found on iOS. Sure, those sorts of simple games, like Angry Birds, are very popular, but there are also many other types of games that are more advanced, and are not even made for kids. I've seen some WWII strategy games for the iPad which I would not categorize as simple. iOS gaming is more than just "simple" games.


     


    There is also the price difference to keep in mind. iOS gaming is on it's way up, while gaming on other platforms is declining, and it's pretty easy to see why. 


     


    Why do you think that all of these other platforms are seeing declining sales? The average person is going to buy an iOS device, which does a million things, including playing games, instead of buying an expensive device with expensive games that basically only does one thing.

  • Reply 19 of 38
    ifailifail Posts: 463member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by daveinpublic View Post


    I'm not sure exactly which games your talking about, but obviously games like Infinity Blade are on par with the Vita.  Found an article comparing some of the graphics: http://www.modojo.com/features/playstation_vita_nearly_outdated_graphically  


     


    Which is better graphically? I'm not sure, but they're close enough make you question which one your seeing and the price delta between the games.  $4 vs $40.  



     


    The problem with that is i own 3 out of 4 of those games and while they are most certainly beautiful, after 20 minutes they become horrifically boring with monotonous gameplay with Infinity Blade being far and away the worst offender. 


     


    The games on Vita are far superior and much better quality and gameplay wise looking Gravity Daze and Uncharted being just two examples. 


     


     


     


    The Vitas problem is two fold, they dont have very good software in the pipeline right now. This is the BIGGEST problem, consumers dont buy a gaming handheld without GAMES on them. The 3DS had this same issue as well before but now they have some of the best games out right now like Fire Emblem and Dragon Warrior 7. This same drought is happening with the Wii U as well. 


     


    The next major issue is cost. While i do feel the Vita itself isn't that badly priced mandatory added memory cards skyrocket the price of the device...100 bucks for a 32 GB flash card is obscene and ridiculous. If you want to play old PSP games you better spring for the extra capacity, and some Vita games cant even be played without a Memory Card. 


     


    I do want a Vita as i'm sure some great games are on the way (new Final Fantasy X remake looks amazing), but until the price drops especially the accessories its going to continue to get pummeled. 

  • Reply 20 of 38
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member


    A controller is an advantage for some games, but a touchscreen can also be advantage for games as well. I have been a gamer for 3 decades and my current favorite is called Modern War for iOS. It is made specifically for touchscreens and not something like the Vita. Not a kids game at all and pretty complicated. It is also one of those game you can play for a long time. I have been playing it for one year now. They keep it interesting by adding events and the levels just keep going up and up. I hardly play games on my PS3 or Mac Pro anymore. 

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