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Sony: NGP faces same game pricing problems as 3DS

In a portable market dominated by cheap smartphone games, both need to convince software is worth a luxury price

Sony's worldwide studios head Shuhei Yoshida has said he's well aware that the successor to the PSP, currently codenamed NGP, will face the same preconceptions over games pricing that has dogged Nintendo's 3DS.

In a market where smartphones dominate portable gaming with titles at the low price of 59p, full-price handheld console games must convince customers they are worth more than the comparatively astronomical £30-plus price tags.

"The problem is the same. We are dealing with the same issue that Nintendo is," stated Yoshida.

Nintendo's 3DS has suffered from lacklustre sales, with software titles thin on the ground after an initial launch of games failed to have a long-term impact on the charts.

There's no one clear competitor in terms of what NGP offers

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony

"It's up to content publishers, including ourselves, to show people that this is worth £25 or £30 as opposed to 59p. You cannot release the same content that you put on the iPhone for a dollar on to NGP or some other consoles and expect people to pay 20 times that."

But that's where the comparisons end for Yoshida, who believes there is no competitor that compares to the NGP on the mobile and handheld market. The console is purely for high-end gaming, with few additional features to distract from the PlayStation brand.

"There's no one clear competitor in terms of what NGP offers. NGP's going to establish itself as the unique thing that people want to have. NGP cannot be placed against smartphones. You can't make phone calls on it and it's too big to fit into your pocket."

Discussing Nintendo's latest handheld, Yoshida said he believes the 3DS is just an update of previous DS hardware, despite the glasses-free 3D selling point.

"When we were designing the NGP we had no idea what Nintendo was going to do. Aside from the 3D stereoscopic display, they seem to be keeping the same theme that they had with the DS – it feels like an update of the DS to me.

"So what we're trying to do, lots of choices that we made were so different from their choices. It's kind of hard to compare the two, aside from the fact that both of them are dedicated gaming platforms," he added.

The NGP, which comes in two different models, will take centre stage at Sony's E3 press conference next week, where the company is expected to announce the name of PS Vita, pricing and possible release dates.

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Latest comments (10)

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
The iPhone offers social networks, all types of communication from written to voice, entertainment from podcasts to radio streams, from TV stations and movie streams. The device also manages to enable even the dumbest of its users to spend money on the Apple store. And then it does some games.

The NGP might do games like no other, but for playing on the go that might be way too much and Sony has yet to reveal how much of a competition they can be in all the other fields. What good is the 3G functionality if only part of the consumer base is using it?
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Gary Lucero QA Analyst, Senior 10 years ago
So if the NGP's competition isn't the Nintendo 3DS or the iPhone, is it the PS3 and the Xbox 360? And if it's those platforms then it's also Nintendo's new console. Either way Sony has to compete against some tough players and it's unlikely they will make a whole lot of progress.
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Charles Dawkins10 years ago
This is exactly the reason why the Xperia Play is going to do much better then the NGP. Smartphones have taken over.
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Show all comments (10)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
Smartphones haven't taken over. Apple's way of delivering content and potential Internet based interactions has taken over. The alternate operating systems and attached sales platforms are Apple's competition, not the alternate hardware. You could clone an iPhone 1:1, with neither iOs nor Android on it, it would not be worth anything.

Handheld devices will end up the same way the PC did. Mass produced Chinese throw away hardware with only the software as a means to distinguish yourself.

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Hal Helms Studying Computational Media, Georgia Institute of Technology10 years ago
The 3DS isn't struggling because the games are too expensive, it's because the whole device itself costs way too much and the 3D isn't worth anything to the consumers. Also, I think it's stupid to make the comparison between a handheld gaming device and a smartphone, they're apples and oranges as far as the types of games types of markets are concerned.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London10 years ago
They'll have to work hard then..

Smart-phone games are doing incredibly in terms of quality and price.
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Jake Clayton10 years ago
They might be struggling because you can generally pre-order an xbox360 for the same price as a 3ds game pre-order via sites like amazon.

Which is kind of a pricing problem.

When you can choose between playing a game on a 20-60 inch tv screen, with all the advantages of a not-so-portable console, or buying a game for a few inch screen for the same price, (yes the portable has a couple of advantages but no-where near as many, and definitely not enough to warrant the same price tag).
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
Sony recognise the challenge charging 25-30, where as Nintendo think they can charge 40. I disagree with Nintendo when they say everyone will expect to pay 59p for premium software, but they don't expect to pay the same price as a console game for something that took a lot lower budget and less timd to make in the best cases, and thrown together shovelware that is worse than a lot of 59p phone apps in a few of the the worst cases.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 10 years ago
I have been playing games on the iPad that have comparable graphics to the 3DS. They have a multiplayer online experience which is integrated with Games Center and VOIP, something that I wonder if Nintendo will ever fully support.

And bottom line, that game was free. And Pilotwings is 40. No brainer really.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 10 years ago
Id pay more for the console if the prices for games were cheaper. I truly do think prices for portable consoles should be $17.99 to $19.99. I only say this because as a consumer, Im more likely to pick up games at this price then a higher price, and if most prices are going to come down anyway, why not sell games at this price right out the door. I picked up metal gear solid peace walker last week for $19.99. However when it came out it was $39.99. I think the lower price can be offset by selling more copies. but this is just my opinion. Its not based on statistics or anything of the sort.
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