Fans of Nintendo would call it DOA, whereas Sony fans would call it niche; however, the true state of the PlayStation Vita lies somewhere in the middle. Before we dive into dissecting the current standing of this handheld I should first say, for ethical sake, I do own and love a PS Vita.
Now where does this heavy handed criticism of this handheld derive? Simply said: sales. Now the commercial failure of the Vita has been over blown in fact it does regularly outsell the Wii U, and has on rare occasion outsold the beloved 3DS in Japan. Unfortunately these claims of lack luster sales aren’t without merit and the facts are the install base or ownership of the PS Vita is far less than that of the PlayStation Portable or PSP and decidedly lower than its competition the Nintendo 3DS. Many have put forth the argument that this failure to sell is due in large part to the irrelevance of a handheld gaming device in the age of smartphones and tablets, an argument easily rejected by the staggering continued sales of the 3DS.
As a happy owner of a PS Vita the issue is simple, yet has no easy answer in sight. Clearly a $250 price tag in addition to expensive memory cards, which are required, and a deceptive game amrket. Although quality games are only release every few months, the time since the system’s launch has created an environment that new Vita owners will be greeted with a library of games in-excess of fifty entertaining games, which would equal out to around one thousands hours of game time, in my estimation.
At this point Sony has three options to jump start the sales of the Vita. First Sony could offer a PlayStation 4 Vita Bundle for $599 or less and move a few hundred thousands units. By grouping the Vita together with an already pricey piece of hardware the sticker shock will be lessened and one thing the numbers do show is a decided favor towards the Vita once the consumer owns it.
If Sony is adverse to breaking new ground as the first handheld to bundled in with a console at launch, they could sweeten the deal of a Vita by itself. This can be accomplished in two way, the first of which is an outright price cut. If the PS Vita is old sub-$200, in then neighborhood of the 3DS’s price the consumer will have to judge them off of one another, and in my estimation the robust beauty of the Vita will work wonders for Sony’s bottom line. The final potential plan to boost Vita sales this year could be a new bundle.
Sony has already announced that much of the Tokyo Game Show and Gamescom in Germany will focus upon the PS Vita and with the sure fire hit Killzone: Mercenary being released in less than two months Sony would be wise to offer a $200 & $250 PS Vita bundle with a copy of Killzone Mercenary included along with a memory card.
Personally I believe Sony will go ahead with this final plan, as an outright price cut would look like a weak attempt to move units whereas the Killzone Bundle and potentially a Tearaway Bundle would just seem like a fancy box for a great game.