Sony planning "more tailored approach" to Vita software pricing

Multiple price-points expected, but publisher confident it can "sustain" premium pricing on triple-A games

PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan has revealed that Sony is planning to offer multiple price-points for Vita software to combat the growing threat of cheap smartphone games to its handheld business.

While the company has yet to confirm details ahead of the console's European launch next February, Ryan told "I think it would be safe to assume we will take a more tailored approach than perhaps we've done in the past."

Speaking in London last week following confirmation of the first-party launch titles in Europe, Ryan admitted it would be "foolish and naïve to ignore what's happening" in the smartphone sector.

"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," he added.

If we provide great value on games like Uncharted, I think the possibility to sustain historic console price points is there

Jim Ryan, Sony Europe

"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."

One launch title that may be priced lower than premium is the newly-announced MotorStorm RC from Evolution Studios, coming to Vita and PlayStation 3 as a digital download, with cross-platform functionality.

Evolution group game director Matt Southern said: "We've not announced the price yet, but we have announced that for one price you'll get both versions". Later last week, during a panel discussion at Develop Liverpool, Southern added that the studio was in dialogue with Sony over pricing, hinting that a lower-than-premium point was preferred.

Further seeking to differentiate Vita from its smartphone rivals, Ryan said: "Absolutely it does do other things, but it has been designed as a gaming device, and a perfectly logical consequence of that is that the gaming experiences you can have on Vita are superior to what is possible on a device that has other functionality at its heart."

Elsewhere, Ryan admitted that predicting the relative popularity of the 3G and wi-fi only models of Vita was something "we agonise over endlessly internally". However, he said Sony expected the wi-fi model would "just shave it" in numbers.

"But the truth be told, we just don't know," he continued. "This is one area where we're going to have to be very nimble internally and if consumer preference skews one way or another we will adjust very rapidly to meet what the true underlying consumer demand is."

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Latest comments (6)

Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology10 years ago
SONY should take a good look at the IOS market, and understand that there is alot of developers making for that market, they are making interesting and ever increasing in quality experiences. Now how do I get those developers to make for the PSV, the simple answer to that is to make the process as easy as possible for those developers, allow the price to be that of what they want (do the 30% cut), and open the platform up to allow engines like Unity to offer its publishing as like ios and android, but then go a step ahead and regulate the games, reject the poorly made games and allow those of decent quality in and also make sure there is a great store front. Now these games wont kill the high quality ones, but having that range unlike ios along with hard controls could be a strong reason for people to pick up the device. SONY can get the indie market, they need a good store, allow good prices, and have great support available for the indies and they will be rewarded with more sales of the devices, developers making great games for the system and could be a way for the device to use the current smart phone gaming revolution and not compete against it.
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 10 years ago
Sony already have a good marketplace, the PSN network. It's been successful for Indies in the past and gives flexibility on price points (or more so than say XBL).

In some degree, I wonder why Sony consider the mobile market as it is a completely different scenario. Games in that market are generally very short lived, pick up and play affairs. Users will expect more from Vita and expect the same quality from it as they receive on a) home consoles and b) current true hand-helds.

Comparing the console (even handheld) and mobile markets, or at least type of game, is the equivalent of wondering if Book Authors worry about the magazine market or the blogsphere.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
Cross-platform support for MotorStorm RC... does that mean it's coming to the PS3 as well? I hope so; I've got a lot of time for the MotorStorm games.

I'm not personally a fan of handheld gaming, but I'm looking forward to the launch of the Vita. Sony have really done their homework and corrected their mistakes from its predecessor, as it seems to be ticking almost every box.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
Considering myself somewhat of a gaming relic, I do not give a damn about 79c iPhone games. But 40 portable games are just as useless, especially when they are not really made to be played on the go. But one look on Steam and I can't help but see a lot of games which are not full price titles and must buys at the same time.

Cave Story: 10
Terraria: 10
Super Meat Boy 15
Torchlight: 15
Sequence: 5
Trackmania: 20
Braid, BitTip, Chime, Limbo, Geometry Wars, etc., etc.

Those are the kind of games you want to play for 15 minutes at a time, not some downport of an 8h console experience.

In terms of WiFi vs 3G, I predict 90% to be Wifi only, due to 3G contracts being rather prohibitive in price considering the target audience of Sony.
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Jack Lee Studying Internet Marketing, Virginia Commonwealth University10 years ago
Mr. Smith's comment makes me excited just to think about, but can we really expect such a showing from Sony? I'm an avid PS3 owner and player, but they have done nothing to suggest that indies will be overtly supported like on Steam. I hope it happens, as that might make me buy a Vita (once I have a job, at least!), but I won't be holding my breath.
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Peter Bess Software developer 10 years ago
I personally think this will not do aswell as they say it will, this is not 2005. Sony has a problem and that is not only is the product they initial release somewhat flawed (as most things in there first gen), it is also overly priced. Now Nintendo, Up and till Apple arrived on the scene, dominated the handheld market since the very first handheld. There was a alot of expectation of the 3DS and within a year there was 2 price cuts. Nintendo themselves are finding it hard to move 3DS, that could be part to blame there pathetic software range, where Sony many not have innovating machine but it has got a solid software line up. Now in a recession where people barely buy software, they will pay 250 for a handheld, in that price you can get home console cheaper than that. Back to the point now for cheap Apple/Android games can not be compared to Vita, casual games and even people that don't play many games, just see a game .99 and they think why not because its easy simple and convenient in there pocket, same thing what happened to the Walkman died out when Apples iPod came out (maybe not initially). But what Apple has done everyone from Sony to Nintendo to Android, is trying to copy that formula and they also did it in a shorter time period, now we have mobile phones that can play music, play games, go on the web, take picture/videos, we can now do more with one device, my point being what is more convenient to the customer (i many sound like Im praising Apple too much but Im stating what is what). Die hard game will most probably get this, but this sell many many units, unlikely. But only after its launch in Japan can anyone really say what it will sell.
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