President of SCE Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida is confident that consumers will happily pay full price for Vita games.
Titles for the new handheld vary in price – both digitally and at retail. Games are available from 4.79 for downloadable titles like MotorStorm RC, to 19.99 for mid-range gamessuch as Ridge Racer, to 44.99 for Uncharted: Golden Abyss and other triple-A titles.
But Yoshida claims that, despite the rise of 69p apps for iPhone, iPad and other portable devices, gamers will still pay full price for Vita games if they are of high enough quality.
"We have a theory that if we create really compelling, engaging experiences that you can spend hours with, you’ll see the value of spending 40 dolars against one dollar," he told VentureBeat.
"Gamers love all kinds of games. I totally understand people who like games like Angry Birds, but if you’re a gamer, you’re also interested in trying different kinds of experiences, bigger games.
"For the past consoles, we had a pretty rigid price range we kept to. This is a full-price game, $60, this is a Greatest Hits, $30. Like that. But for PS Vita, you’ll see games that sell for $50, $40, $30. And on the digital, $45, $35, $23,$15, $10, and $5. A very wide variety of pricing. We’re looking at each title and the value and scope of the content, and trying to match people’s value perception with the pricing. We are not just focused on big-budget, AAA, $40 titles. We’re big fans of the smaller experience as well."
The Sony exec even pointed to rival handheld Nintendo 3DS as proof that people are willing to pay full price for portable games.
He said: "You saw Nintendo’s 3DS, it had many software hits last December, like Mario Kart. That’s the theory. That’s what I’d like to see proven, after the launch of PS Vita.
"I can see, looking at the games in game stores, when you see games that you feel you can find on the iPod or iPad for five dollars, why should you spend 40 dollars? So software publishers will really have to think hard when they approach pricing their software. Is this the experience that will compel people to spend that much? Or is this something they should provide for more accessible prices, so that people will try it?"