Major Australian retailers won't stock Vita at launch

Target, Big W and K-Mart back away, Sony focuses on specialist retailers

Three of Australia's leading retailers will not stock the PlayStation Vita at launch, Kotaku reports.

Target, Big W and K-Mart are all backing away from Sony's handheld, though Target and Big W confirmed via e-mail that they would consider stocking the product "at a later date."

However, K-Mart stated that it has no plans to sell the Vita at all, dictated by a broader to strategy to move away from expensive items and towards cheaper products.

As a result, the Vita will be chiefly available through specialist stores, and there is concern that consumers looking for a more competitive price from department stores will be frustrated.

However, Sony is resolute that it fits with an underlying strategy to aim the Vita at a core audience.

"For the launch of PlayStation Vita in Australia, with the specific target market being the active gamer, we have chosen to launch the console with a focused retail channel strategy across national specialist game and specialist technology retailers," Sony said in a statement.

"There is a long term vision for our revolutionary new hand-held platform, in the same way we had a long term vision for PS3, and anticipate that in line with this we will broaden channel distribution in the future."

With a week to go until launch, Sony has also dropped the retail price of the 3G Vita by $30 [Australian] to $419.95. The Wi-fi Vita will remain at $349.95.

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Latest comments (11)

Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology9 years ago
What I dont get from K-Mart statement is that they are selling Ipads, which cost 2x that of a Vita. Anyways this sucks as Big W always would never announce the price until the launch day and undercut all its competitors, and all 3 would do not bad bundles which would drive the 3 big game retailers to match.
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Reilly Davis9 years ago
i would say its more about the risk of the vita not being bought off the shelves where ipads sell like hot cakes
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Stores used to sell products like the VITA at minimal margins, and recoup via software. But with Sony positioning all retail titles as digital also products (at lower prices, and no profit for retail) there is less in it for the stores this time around.

IPads are the exception, as they attract consumers to stores (and may have reasonable retail margins?).
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Show all comments (11)
Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 9 years ago
I think you hit the nail on the head about the low margins for retailers. With no chance of recoup from software sales it's a no brainer to simply refuse the product. Dwindling consumer bucks means that the stores need to buy what they can shift and Vita doesn't even sell as a complete package i.e no memory card and no starter game. The high price just seals the deal.
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Scott Davis Games Analyst, Lift London, Microsoft9 years ago
No news about the PS Vita seems to be consistent anymore. Japanese developers abandoning PS Vita projects, Poor initial sales, Australian retailers refusing to stock it...but then on the other scale the ShopTo website saying that PS Vita pre-orders have been phenomenal, the manager of my local GAME store (central, big city location) saying he had to apply for more PS Vita stock as pre-orders have surpassed what they expected and another manager i know from a Gamestation in another city saying Pre-orders have been very good due to there being actual Vita kiosks in shops. Im going to be getting one day one...but all this news makes me wonder if im the only one or if im going to be joining the queue.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Scott Davis on 16th February 2012 3:22pm

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
Scott - I know where you're coming from. I personally wasn't too bothered about it until I saw FIFA, but now I've got mine pre-ordered. Looking forward to it, and a friend in north America who got one of the early editions says it's awesome, but I can't help but be nervous at some of the reports coming out.

Having said that, if they do FIFA for it, and bring out an NHL, I'll be happy enough.
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Scott Davis Games Analyst, Lift London, Microsoft9 years ago
Fran - Glad im not the only one feeling a little nervous with the doom and gloom surrounding the thing. Considering all the review websites i go on have said the thing is awesome, so don't know where all the negativity is coming from.

Can't wait to see if they bring out NHL for the Vita, remember playing NHL '10 i think it was with a friend on the PSP....good times!
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I had mine pre ordered from Asda, and looking at the immense line up of titles, know that I might actually ditch the PS3 for portable gaming (which is what the 3DS should have done!)
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Jesse HR and HMI consultancy. 9 years ago
What terrible reporting here.

No source? Why? Because the only 'source' was an unsubstantiated series of Twitter posts by @vook64 (an Australian who runs a Nintendo community site and writes for Kotaku Australia). Even he was only speculating on why these retailer might not be stocking Vita.

Meanwhile, has somehow made the leap that these retailers have decided the Vita is too expensive and decided to abandon support for it.... yet evidence would actually suggest it is Sony who have decided to exclusively provide it to traditional 'games' retailers and not these large big box chains. Considering Big W are already stocking and selling Vita accessories, it would suggest they actually DO want to sell Vita.

Tldr; this article is factually misleading.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Jesse, I see a source and quotes. And the source references emails, not Twitters postings.
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Jesse HR and HMI consultancy. 9 years ago
Jimmy, thanks for taking the time to reply.

To clarify, the source (which I admit I missed initially), is a link to a Kotaku post by the same Daniel Vuckovic I was referring to as @vook64. He broke the 'rumours' via twitter, then made an article about it on Kotaku. One person, one source. The 'statements' supposedly from Big W and Target were based on emails that again were communicated via twitter or posted on (an Australian broadband community forum). K-Mart's comments from a casual phone call to their 1800 number - again, by the same guy.

I'm not suggesting anyone is being less than honest, simply that many conclusion are being jumped to here and scratch away at the thin veneer and you'll quickly see that the comments on if and why these retailers aren't stocking Vita is little more than speculation at this point.

If I - as a casual reader - can dig out that kind of info and fact checking in 5 minutes then I would have thought gamesbiz would do the same before claiming it was the retailers backing away from Vita and not the other way around.
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