Vita software pricing confirms retail's worst fear

Ben Parfitt
Vita software pricing confirms retail's worst fear

PlayStation Vita owners will face a very stark choice when the system arrives in the UK next year – pay a premium price for boxed games or a discounted price to download the digital version.

This will for the first time place Sony squarely up against retail as opponents, fighting for the same market. This, of course, being the same retail that Sony will depend on to get the system into the hands of consumers in first place.

Andriasang reports that SCEJ has priced Uncharted: Golden Abyss for Japan. The boxed over-the-counter version will retail for ¥5,980 (£49.85) while the digital download will cost just ¥4,900 (£40.85).

Hot Shots Golf 6 will cost slightly less at ¥4,980 (£41.50) and ¥3,980 (£33.18).

Of course, retail will argue that the premium price for boxed games comes with other benefits, not least the ability to trade games in at a later date and recoup some of the initial spend.

But it must also fight a war against convenience. Clicking X on the download button is somewhat less troublesome that getting up off the sofa and catching the bus into town.

And retail, lest we forget, still holds the ultimate trump card should it wish to play it. If software sales do fall in favour of Sony then it’s not hard to imagine retailers allocating their Vita shelf space to another more lucrative product.

None of this even takes into account an even more important question that has implications for the Vita itself – are gamers still willing to shell out £50 for a portable game?


Tags: PlayStation , Vita , Digital , download , boxed , software , pricing , physical

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50GBP for a portable game? No matter how good the quality of the graphics I don't think that is a sensible pricetag. Consumers don't pay that for top console games. I expect that if portable games have a SRP of 49.99GBP then retail will be selling them at 34-40 which is still quite pricey but closer to 3DS prices.

The fact that Sony is willing to compete with retail says a lot about the future. The fact the console was going to push consumers to buy digital isn't a surprise though as the PSPGo was their first attempt. Plus I am sure that all publishers would like to sell D2C if they could; no boxed games, no distribution logistics, no street date breeches, no import region abuse and a massive margin for them. Sony has shown it is more than happy to compete with retail and I wonder how long it will be before console games via PSN Store are competitive too.

Retailers are unlikely to make any profit on the console itself (due to its price and competition), or the games (due to price being too high or competition with each other/Sony), so why should they support it at all? I think high street retailers would be better just selling PSN cards. Leave the bigger online retailers who have cheap parcel delivery to sell consoles.

I think it would be interesting if online retailers could offer the games for download as well, much like they do for PC games at present, as a direct competitor to Sony.

Darren Bennett

Darren Bennett INDUSTRY
Oct 11th 2011 at 9:16AM

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lol "getting the bus".

Nicola Whitaker

Nicola Whitaker ELITE GAMER
Oct 11th 2011 at 9:41AM

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@Darren Bennett

Game prices in Japan are usually quite high, these prices are in line with 3DS game prices (according to Amazon Japan anyway).
The new Ace Combat game for the PS3 comes out at almost £70.

Phil Evans

Oct 11th 2011 at 9:48AM

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@Phil Evans - Thanks for pointing out. I guess the PSV titles will be priced similarly to 3DS in the UK then at around the 30-40 mark? I read the article as suggesting we'd be looking at 50GBP in the UK.

Darren Bennett

Darren Bennett INDUSTRY
Oct 11th 2011 at 11:22AM

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