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Retail

Sony: PlayStation Vita price was decided from day one

Wed 08 Jun 2011 3:26am GMT / 11:26pm EDT / 8:26pm PDT
RetailE3 2011

Company did not want repeat of PS3's high price holding back sales, says Worldwide Studios boss Yoshida

Sony has told GamesIndustry.biz that the price of the PlayStation Vita handheld was set at $249 at the earliest stages of hardware development.

The decision was taken to avoid a repeat of the launch of the PlayStation 3, which struggled with slow sales due to the cripplingly high price of between $500-$600.

"Going through the PlayStation 3 experience was difficult for all of us involved," Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, told GamesIndustry.biz.

"So when we started working on PS Vita three years ago we set goals, and one of those goals was to hit the $249 price point, €249 from the very, very beginning. That was springtime 2008.

When we started working on PS Vita three years ago we set goals, and one of those goals was to hit $249 from the very, very beginning

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony

The new handheld console also comes in a 3G SKU, priced at $299. Revealed last night in LA, the price was one of the biggest surprises of Sony's E3 conference and a target figure the company is proud to have hit.

The price tag was established so early in development that the hardware team in Japan had not even decided on central components for the device, said Yoshida, and highlights the exec's success in bringing together hardware and software teams and having content creators involved in new hardware development - something that didn't happen with the creation of the PlayStation 3.

"The difference was the timing of the Worldwide Studios' and game team's involvement in the process. We were involved in Vita development before we made the decision on what kind of CPU and GPU to use."

"That shows how long we've been involved and we were there all the time when the SCEI hardware guys got their hands on the components. In the past, up to the PlayStation 3, they kept everything behind closed doors, even from ourselves, and making decisions based on their inspirations from a mostly hardware engineering standpoint."

The PlayStation Vita is due for release this calendar year, with software support from some of Sony's biggest franchises, including Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers.

12 Comments

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,228 388 0.3
Do they not think that what consumers think is reasonable for a launch home console is different to for a handheld, that $250-$299 may be good for a console but IS still seen as high for a handheld. The reaction to the 3DS, with price coming as the main barrier : http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/20...

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Simon Jefferies
Lead Programmer

3 0 0.0
I don't think they've mastered the pricing on this one. It's quite high in $ but the £ price is around the price I paid for a PS3. It's just not at a price that you have to own one, it's more of a luxury item.

Posted:3 years ago

#2
I think they went about with a large straw poll for pricing for a handheld, decided $250 was a the upper end of just affordable, and asked the engineers to make it happen, with some idea that midway, the price would self adjust to the sub $200 barrier.

For the Europeans, they probably reckoned, they were suckers before, they are still suckers, lets recoup where possible.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,228 388 0.3
I think generally it's seen that to break america the price needs to be right, but the UK will buy whatever seems to be doing well in the US regardless of price. Unfotunately we often prove them right.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Yannick Boucher
Project Manager

27 1 0.0
Again, bang-for-buck, this blows both Nintendo and Apple out of the water. All that remains to be seen is whether people will be willing to buy a device that doesn't have an Apple logo on it (at least the iPod Touch), and well, that is admittedly bigger, but clearly has tons more potential.

Posted:3 years ago

#5
If thats what it costs to make.. thats what it should cost. There is so much engineering behind products like this you have to project initial costs with costs over time to end of life. The software tools for chip design are well over a million dollars per seat, add in a load of developers, production staff, a few hardware spins, etc and you have to charge this much. Typically products like this don’t make money for 9-12 months then reach a sweet spot for cash flow followed by an end of life cycle that can cost more for components reducing the profit margins.

I think its priced accordingly, the screen is the biggest cost.. its probably 100 bucks.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,228 388 0.3
But Michael, it still doesn't cost $125 more to make one for the European market or $100 more to make on for a UK customer.

Posted:3 years ago

#7
Consumerism 101 - we dont like being shortchanged

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Eliot Lloyd
Studying Computer Games Design and Production

23 0 0.0
I find it hilarious that before the price was official, everyone was saying it would be amazing if the price tag was $250, and that it would be the perfect price for it.

Suddenly, Sony give it the price everyone wanted it to have, and a ton of people shout out "it's too expensive."

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Jamie Watson
Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment

179 0 0.0
Ii wonder what the aussie price will be....hopefully not to much more.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Jonathan Davis
Developer

1 0 0.0
I will definitely NOT be purchasing the PS Vita for 249€ ($364 USD). My American friends can purchase one for me (probably without a region lock) for $249 USD (170€).

Posted:3 years ago

#11
100 dollar difference is a stiff price jump just across the lake, my last company had the same issue I know one reason was the EU was a separate company due to EU laws and their pricing structure was completely different to deal with EU taxes, imports and an the same infrastructure we had in the US. If you think about it, it costs about as much to support 30 million users as it does 18 million users with the same infrastructure then the price has to be more.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

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