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.