The president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEJ) has announced a price drop for the PlayStation Vita starting on February 28th, following relatively poor sales and a lack of exclusive or compelling titles.
As noted by Engadget, the premium version of Sony’s handheld console – which supports both WiFi and 3G connectivity – will drop from 30,000 yen to 19,980 yen. Interestingly though the WiFi only model, which has cost 25,000 yen in the past, will also drop to the same price point.
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Hirosho Kawano revealed the news earlier today in an online video broadcast produced specifically for the handheld console on Ustream. The SCEJ President said that new owners will also receive a seven-day free trial of PlayStation Plus, the online subscription service that includes free access to full games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Ridge Racer and Gravity Rush.
The final incentive is a free download campaign for its Torne TV service until the end of March.
Nintendo announced a similar price cut for the 3DS back in 2011, after it launched to the public and received a somewhat mellow response in sales. Many critics at the time had said that the handheld console was priced too high, and in fairness sales figures did improve once the discount came into effect.
Sony will be hoping for a similar effect in Japan. There’s no word yet on whether the price drop will be mirrored in other regions, such as Europe or the US, but given that the Land of the Rising Sun is Sony’s home turf, it makes sense to experiment with the new price point there first.
It’s also possible that an international announcement is being saved for Sony’s New York event later this week, which is widely assumed will be used to reveal the PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation Vita is an incredibly capable console, offering twin analog sticks, a 5-inch multi-touch display and innovative rear touch pad. Such high-end hardware has forced Sony to price it as such, alienating some consumer groups – especially parents – who are looking for a far more affordable device.
To make matters worse, there’s been very little content to attract gamers onto the system. Following the price drop of the 3DS, Nintendo has worked hard to ship a number of exclusive first party games – Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Kid Icarus Uprising to name but a few.
Aside from a few niche Japanese titles such as Persona 4: The Golden and Gravity Rush, there’s been few games to really delight PlayStation Vita owners. Its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, still sells incredibly well in the region due to the overwhelming popularity of the Monster Hunter franchise, but so far nothing in the series has been confirmed for Sony’s latest and greatest handheld.
Today’s price drop will be welcomed unanimously in Japan, but it’s only one part of the problem. Without great games to play on it, the PlayStation Vita will forever be a difficult sell.
Image Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images