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Retail

Uncharted Vita cheaper as a download

Tue 11 Oct 2011 8:16am GMT / 4:16am EDT / 1:16am PDT
RetailHardware

Reports of initiative to give cheap dowloads of UMD games to PSP owners also surface

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

PlayStation Vita launch title Uncharted: Golden Abyss will cost less as a download than at retail, Andriasang reports.

The official price of the boxed version is 5,980 (50/$78), while a download will cost 4,900 (41/$64). However, the boxed price doesn't take into account the discount offered at most physical retailers.

The Japanese magazine Dengeki PlayStation included pricing information for another Vita launch title, Hot Shots Golf 6, and the same discrepancy was present: 4,980 boxed, and 3,980 as a download.

In the same issue of Dengeki PlayStation, Sony's head of development, Yoshio Matsumoto, suggested that PSP owners will be able to download the games they own on UMD at a "special price."

Andriasang was also informed by a retail source that Sony has distributed a pamphlet relating to the use of UMDs on PlayStation Vita, though a link between the two events has not been established.

The PlayStation Vita launches in Japan on December 17, and it will be free from region coding.

24 Comments

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
I suppose the real question here, for us bi-cultural gamers, is whether the Vita will work like the PS3, where a system can be activated for multiple accounts at the same time, or whether it will work like the PSP, where it can be activated for only one account. I rarely play my Japanese download games on my PSP becuase I have to clear my U.S. account information, re-enter my Japanese account information, log in, and re-activate my system for my Japanese account. This process disables all my games downloaded from the U.S. store, and I have to go through it all again to re-enable those, disabling the Japanese ones.

And of course I must have network access to be able to do this.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Kyle Davidson

12 0 0.0
As much as I look forward to getting my hands on a Playstation Vita, I hope that the 50 price tag doesn't become a standard for all the launch and AAA titles. Even with the retailers discounts that will follow, it's a very significant amount of money for a handheld game.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
Concerning games such as Uncharted, it might be better to wait for the inevitable PS3 version to play them on the couch and a big screen. It will be interesting to see how well Sony performs at this high price, when Nintendo had more than a few problems with it.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd

196 164 0.8
50!

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Kevin Danaher Associate Producer, EA Mobile

45 62 1.4
I really hope you're right Klaus, Uncharted is a franchise which has inspired the utmost loyalty from it's followers. Asking them to buy a separate platform in order to play another title in that series is like a big slap in the face in my opinion. I very much hope it's released on the PS3, the Vita however, has true multi core processors for it's CPU and GPU's. With the oddball processor that is the Cell I wonder how much more difficult porting will be from Vita to PS3.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

111 198 1.8
@ Kevin - surely it's no different from any 'big console' game appearing on a handheld? Does it seem like a slap in the face to play a Zelda game on DS, or a God of War on PSP, etc?

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
Don't forget AAA Xbox 360/PS3 titles RRP at 49.99, although absolutely no one actually sells them at that price. This probably isn't any different.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

James Stanard Principal Engine Programmer, Eat Sleep Play, Inc

6 0 0.0
If I recall correctly, games and game systems sell for more in Japan after the exchange rate. Prices are determined on a per-market basis. I'm expecting $40US-$50US, not $78. Nobody in the US would pay more for a typical Vita game than a typical PS3 game ($60).

It's good news that they finally realized that digital goods should be sold for less because they come with the inability to resell, and they have reduced distribution and manufacturing costs. However, I rarely pay full price for games because of preorder discounts or the inevitable price break after 1 or 2 months. The problem with PSN downloads is they maintain their high price for far too long.

I'm actually in favor of a sustained price, but only if it's a fair price. Because of the situation I just described, most people wait for the inevitable price drop, automatically devaluing the product. Be firm but fair and people will buy your game for what it's worth.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
50 for a Vita title is MAD. Even for such a great franchise as Uncharted. It might have worked if people had more money, but they don't.

Be interesting to see what stores actually sell it at.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Hakki Sahinkaya

43 32 0.7
As @James said, I highly doubt the conversions will apply when the product is in the respected market. I am expecting same RRP as PS3 games at most.

We could compare PS VITA game Yen prices with PS3 game Yen prices to see what Sony's pricing policy is. But I am a lazy lazy man :)

And for handheld specifically, I much prefer Download so I'm glad they are going that way and pricing sensibly (more sensibly than charging 58 for Driver on UK PSN anyway).
And retailers can buy codes or something from Sony to unlock the game, and sell it that way, they don't have to act so bitter all the time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hakki Sahinkaya on 11th October 2011 5:40pm

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Peter Paninar Artist

35 3 0.1
hahaha 50 price tag for vita game is total madness... I so totaly not buy anything for 3ds just because I simply don't think anything thats been available so far is worth the 3x price tag... so there is totaly no way I would ever be paying 40-50 for vita games ....this is crazy... somebody is greedy here!

and I thought they are getting the PSN pricing back on track when I've seen the title of this article :)

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
When you consider that the initial discounted price of a brand new PS3 title is 6000-8000 here, less than 6000 (once we see the retailer's discount) at release for the top title of the PS Vita doesn't seem so unreasonable.

For example, Battlefield 3 here has an RRP of 7,665 (64/$100) and Amazon.co.jp is selling it for 6,218 (52/$80).

The price is also not out of line with other portable console systems. Mario 3D Land here is 5,690 if you pre-order it from Amazon.co.jp.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
There is no downside to launching with a high price and then lowering it later. At least not for Sony, because that way they squeeze every Penny from consumers and they always get a cut from every game regardless of who made it. Too expensive? Come back next year. It is a very retro point of view, which goes against current market strategies of Apple and Google.

The hardware prices for Apple and Google smartphone products might be arguably higher than the costs for a Vita, but the perceived value of the total package is still more than competitive.

This is not something Sony can fight with overproduced 50 games. Those are not a way to bring down the perceived value of the package. You have to fight value with value. The iPod touch and the iPad are more than garden variety competitors for 3DS and Vita. Forget the iPhone, that is another crowd, but the other Apple devices are moving in for the killshot.

Posted:3 years ago

#13
Yup - anyone expecting Vita games to be 10-20 Euro (for AAA games) is dreaming: the sole purpose of these machines is to sell games for a hefty profit, countered by the extra quality of the gaming experience/device.

I found it interesting that virtually none of the comments above relate to the pricing differential (which is what the story is about ;).

Personally, I think its a step in the right direction - but personally I'll easily pay an extra 10 Euro/$ to have the same game owned on a "physical" format, that I can sell or lend.

And yes - part of the "risk" with the PSV strategy, is that virtually all of the games will also appear on a PS3 - in enhanced form.

Posted:3 years ago

#14
Yup - anyone expecting Vita games to be 10-20 Euro (for AAA games) is dreaming: the sole purpose of these machines is to sell games for a hefty profit, countered by the extra quality of the gaming experience/device.

I found it interesting that virtually none of the comments above relate to the pricing differential (which is what the story is about ;).

Personally, I think its a step in the right direction - but personally I'll easily pay an extra 10 Euro/$ to have the same game owned on a "physical" format, that I can sell or lend.

And yes - part of the "risk" with the PSV strategy, is that virtually all of the games will also appear on a PS3 - in enhanced form.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Rob Fahey Columnist, GamesIndustry.biz

76 190 2.5
For those commenting on the GBP / USD conversion of this price, it's worth noting that the Japanese Yen is trading at historic highs on the currency markets at the moment - under 120 to the pound right now, which is absolutely insane considering that it traded closer to 200 to the pound prior to the 2008 financial crash. As such these prices seem much higher than they should - in terms of someone both earning and spending money in Yen, games aren't significantly more expensive in Japan than they are in the USA, and are usually less expensive than in Europe.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Shuhei Yoshida President, Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment

1 0 0.0
Exactly, Rob.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Rodney Smith Developer

81 40 0.5
Also doesn't take in to account that you have to buy a memory card to download to. Which if you add that to price (4GB model is 2,200yen (approximately $29), 8GB 3,200yen ($42), 16GB 5,500yen ($72), and a 32GB will set you back 9,500yen ($124). convert dollars to pounds at 1:1 (normal Sony practice) and you find downloads a total rip-off!

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
Ok, no conversion of currency. But it still only takes one second to check Amazon.co.jp and realize, the price for Golden Abyss is the same than the price for Uncharted 3. At least in Japan, Sony seems to think a certain type of Vita game can be sold at the same price PS3 games are currently sold for.

If this strategy is carried over to the western market, we will also see Vita games going as high as 60. Not because of the exchange rate, but because Sony is confident a top of the line Vita game can be sold for as much as a PS3 game. With mainstream media making people anxious about the double-dip recession that move is gutsy.

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Klaus, price discrimination is hardly a "retro point of view": it's a commonly used technique, and for good reason. It gets more money from those able to pay more, and allows those not able to pay as much to get the product later anyway. It's only a bad idea if you think that charging poor people less than rich people is a bad idea for some reason.

I don't think it's arguable that smartphones and tablets are more expensive than the Visa: it's a clear established fact. Sony simply has a different pricing structure, as well as their games being quite different products. As for value, I and many of my friends find the Visa to be a better value proposition, and Sony clearly thinks that enough others also do to make this a profitable business venture.

From all indications, Sony is not in the market that Apple and Google are, and is not trying to complete with them. So it doesn't make sense for you to analyze it as if they were.

For others, I would be very wary of assuming that Sony is not doing price discrimination on a regional basis. Pretty much every PS3 game is differentially priced by region (Asian editions of the same game are often as much as a third cheaper than Japanese editions), and that's been working well for them. And if you have complaints about folks buying the Japanese editions subsidising your games purchases, well, you're free to send me your share of the cost difference. Just send me a message here.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 13th October 2011 12:48am

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
@Curt

I have to disagree on your opinion of long term price degradation being a common technique. Go to any electronic hardware store and make an experiment. Find me a piece of hardware which was sold for $500 in 2006 and is now being sold for $300. Aside from the 360 and the PS3, there is no such hardware to be found. Any other piece of electronic is sold at a stable price that never changes, while the insides improve each year. An $800 TV set will remain an $800 TV set, but now it does something new, or has a shinier case. That is what I meant with being retro. Sony still sticks to this pricing model, while Nintendo and Apple have long since fallen in line with every other piece of hardware manufacturer.

As a result, Sony and Microsoft will always get reviews centered around the argument whether it is ok to buy now, or wait for the inevitable price cut. The pricing structure of Sony and Microsoft educates the consumers to think that way.


Sony's regional price discrimination is nothing new to me either. But I know it as a linear factor. I do not know of games which were released full-price in one territory and half-price in the next. At worst, Sony splits a package, but not an individual game.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert

171 4 0.0
@Klaus totally agreed. Take a look at Laptops, TVs washing machines and all other electronics piced at 400 and up. They put more stuff and features in it and sell the same price over the years.

A lot of people ask me what the price for a Laptop will be, if they wait 2 months. The same model will only be available for around 3 weeks and gets a maximum price cut of 50 (if the product is already priced at around 700 and/ or is the one standing in the "show room") if they are lucky and the product will be STILL available next month - wich is pretty rare.

To get back on topic:
@Hakki
"And retailers can buy codes or something from Sony to unlock the game, and sell it that way, they don't have to act so bitter all the time."

My retailer answer is: Yes I'm very bitter about the strategy to launch games cheaper as a download.
Consoles doesn't make much margin as most people know. The only money you'll make out of console sales is the attachement rate of other products.
So I ask you this: Why should a retailer sell the PS Vita if sony sabotages the game sales with lower prices?
If this sounds harsh, consider that every industry (yes even the gaming) is trying to earn money.

My personal answer is: Well, I will always pay around 10 more as long as I have a physical medium and something to get covered in dust in my living room.

Edit: "..And retailers can buy codes.." Yes we already sell PSNetwork cards, wich are as well available in gas stations and drugstores. Where's the need to drive to your next electronic store, if you can easily buy the games online for a cheaper price? Even if we sell codes wich are priced the same way as in the PSN why should anyone with a credit/debit card go to us to buy a code?
Sony is able to repeat the same mistake twice. If this download model is transfered to the western market, there could be the same outcome as it did with the psp go (even if you have a choice this time).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Winkler on 13th October 2011 11:47am

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Klaus, Joe: I was talking about price discrimination for software. You're talking about hardware, which is something completely different in cost structure and utility, though price discrimination does occur in the hardware world, too.

One major way you go wrong with the particular products you're looking at is in comparing prices of different products, especially ones that are somewhat or complete fungible. Games are not fungible. Uncharted 2, for example, is not a replacement for Uncharted. It neither renders playing Uncharted unnecessary nor reduces your enjoyment of it. A new laptop, however, renders the old one unnecessary; it can do everything the old one did and usually more.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 22nd October 2011 4:41am

Posted:3 years ago

#23

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Wait... aren't digital versions of games SUPPOSED to be less expensive than retail versions? What's the story here, then? That price point is indeed a joke, but I doubt the game will actually cost $50. If anything, you'll see prices upwards of that on eBay from sellers ripping folks off with crazy pricing and shipping fees for a game that's not going to be "RARE!", "HARD TO FIND!" or "SOLD OUT!" unless Sony somehow doesn't make enough to meet demand (highly unlikely for a core franchise such as this)...

Posted:3 years ago

#24

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