Sony Executive Vice President Kaz Hirai has announced that the PS Vita will be released this year in Japan and early next year for the US and European markets.
Sony’s original press release stated the PS Vita would “successively launch in [the] global market starting [at] the end of 2011.” This led many journals and blogs to believe that the device would launch during the holiday season in the US. However, Kaz Hirai has since said this will not be the case, citing the need to launch with a good lineup of launch titles as the reasoning behind this decision.
The PS Vita was slated to release at a price of $249.99 for the standard console, and $299.99 for the 3G-enabled version. Because of the recent price cuts for the Nintendo 3DS, the Vita’s main competition, many people inquired as to whether or not the PS Vita will launch at a lower price. Hirai has since responded that this will not be the case: “We packed so much into the device and made it very affordable. There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower the price.”
Analysis: The PS Vita has potential, especially since it supposedly has the same capabilities with the PS3 that Nintendo’s upcoming controller will have with the Wii U. The Vita is one of Sony’s most innovative products, and although it is not introducing new technology, it is utilizing current tech in an interesting way.
However, the decision to not launch during the holiday season is going to hurt sales, especially since the 3DS will be $80 cheaper by then. I have high hopes that the Vita will be so much more than the PSP could ever be, but these are poor marketing decisions that I feel will be reflected in their fiscal year-end reports.