Don’t get me wrong, the Vita is shaping up to be a thing of beauty – but will it be able to survive in this wintry economic climate, where players get inundated with cheap iPhone games every quarter? Sony has a plan, though – they intend to offer multiple price points for Vita games. This is a fancy way of saying that different types of games will cost different amounts, or possibly that some versions of a game may be cheaper than another.
Details have yet to be forthcoming, but Jim Ryan of PlayStation Europe explains that they are very aware of the threat posed to handhelds by the massive smartphone market:
It’s our challenge to ensure that the gaming experience that we provide is closer to that TV console experience than it is to your 69p thing that you’ve downloaded on your iPhone. If we do that and we provide great value to the consumer on games like Uncharted, I think the possibility to sustain historic console type price points is there.
MotorStorm RC will likely be one of the games with a special pricing model – the PS3 and Vita versions will have cross functionality, so the two versions will likely come bundled together for a single price.
It is a smart strategy. Success for the Vita will hinge on being flexible enough to discover what the market will really bear. It’s unknown if the superior gaming experience the Vita supposedly provides will be enough to entice consumers to spend top dollar on a new handheld and new games. Ryan explained that they don’t even have a good estimate on how well the wi-fi only version will do against the 3G version. The wi-fi model is expected to “just shave it” in terms of profitability.
The Vita will be available in Europe and the US on February 22nd, 2012.