The PS Vita, PlayStation's new portable gaming system, is set to release in the U.S. and worldwide on Feb. 22 with 20 games, following the system's release in Japan last December where it sold over 300,000 units in the first week before sales dropped off considerably.
Sony is struggling to hold its ground in the mobile gaming market, where it is being sandwiched between Nintendo's flashy new 3DS, which offers a groundbreaking 3-D display that works without special glasses, and the increasingly sophisticated market of games available on smartphones, which often cost $5 or less. In response Sony is offering consumers the opportunity to buy PS Vita games at a discounted price if they purchase their games online through the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) in an effort to increase sales and cut out middle men like video game retailer Game Stop.
The SEN recently became accessible following the application of new PlayStation 3 firmware (version 4.10) that updated the system's online network from the old PlayStation Network (PSN) to the newer ESN. Gamers who downloaded the updated their systems to the new network could look at prices for PS Vita games. Slashgear.com has reported that a 10 percent discount is offered on the digital versions of some but not all PS Vita games. Some of the PS Vita games already listed for sale on the SEN includes Hot Shots for $36, WipEout 2048 for $36, and Modnation Racers Road Trip for $27-each with a 10-percent cut. The network also listed several games with no digital download discounts, including Uncharted for $50 and Super Stardust Delta for $10.
Already showing up for sale are Hot Shots at $36, WipEout 2048 at $36 and Modnation Racers Road Trip at $27, each with a 10-percent cut from the MRSP, though Uncharted is $50 and Super Stardust Delta is $10, each with no discount. Best Buy is also offering digital discounts, and has already started to sell codes that can be redeemed for PS Vita games in the SEN. The electronic megastore if offering MLB 12: The Show for $36, Reality Fighters for $27, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss for $50 (these prices are all 10 percent less than the cost of the physical games).
One commenter on Slashgear.com argued against buying the digital versions of PS Vita games.
What really bites is you have to use space on your memory card to download the games, wrote the user who called himself 5 Ball. So when you take into consideration the cost per gig, given the high cost of the cards, the discount quickly disappears. For example, I paid $100 for a 32 gig card which converts to $3.13 per gig. If Uncharted is 3.5 gigs that equals $10.95 of my storage space.
Another commenter, Solomon, noted that the cheapest way to purchase PS Vita games is by search for the lowest prices on Amazon.com.
In my last article on the PlayStation Vita, I argued that based on Sony's history with handheld gaming systems and their new products poor sales performance in Japan it was possible that the company might announce a significant drop in the PS Vita's price. PlayStation has made no announcement regarding the possibility of lowering the price for their newest system, although some Japanese retailers have already taken matters into their own hands and slashed prices.
Sony may be hoping that the price drop on PS Vita games will boost sales figures. Whether or not the $250-$300 product can succeed in today's market with fierce competition coming from both old rivals like Nintendo and new ones emerging every day in Apple and Android app markets is unclear.