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?