According to Gamasutra, Sony’s Chris Norden gave a GDC Online session earlier this week to answer questions about the new Vita platform. He first confirmed that retail PlayStation Vita games will be available on PlayStation Network day and date with their launch on the platform. He went on to say that:
“PSN is supported from day one, right out of the box at launch.”
When asked later if the Vita platform would support the free to play model, he said:
“You are free to explore whatever business model you want. You’ll have to talk to your account manager, and say, ‘Here’s my idea, and here’s what I wanna do,’ but yes, you’re allowed to do that.”
This is not the only news about the new platform to emerge. Earlier this week, Develop reported that Sony has indicated that many of the psychical media games are going to have a premium price attached to them. Here is an example of two launch titles to better illustrate this high price point: First is Uncharted Golden Abyss, which will retail for ¥5,980 ($77.83). Second is Hot Shots Golf 6, which will cost ¥4,980 ($64.82). Sony will be offering a discount of around 20% if these and other games that are downloaded digitally, thus the cost saving is going to be passed on to the customer.
Analysis: It’s great to see that Sony is going to allow different types of business models to take root on the Vita platform. The next thing I want to hear is that the device will support HTML5 or Flash natively, giving many mobile phone games a chance to move onto this device. The last I heard, Flash was being considered, but HTML5 went unmentioned.
This idea of a digital discount is where I am going to cry foul on Sony. Sure at first glance it looks good, but now let’s look at the whole picture. The Vita has proprietary memory cards. These things are expensive, as seen here on an earlier article from Gaming Bus. This is going to make you think you’re getting a great deal, but in the long run, you’ll be buying more memory cards to store all that information, and Sony makes their money somehow.
If I do end up buying this platform, I will personally just buy one 32GB for about $124 and just delete what I’m not playing, which I’m sure many of you will do as well. There will, however, be those who buy more so they don’t have to redownload their games, mostly because of download caps imposed by Internet service providers, and that just isn’t right. The devil is in the details, and in the long run, Sony wins one way or another.