PS Vita Release Date Feb. 22

PlayStation VitaAccording to SCEA President and CEO Jack Tretton, the PlayStation Vita will be released on February 22, 2012, in the Americas and Europe. This is in line with a previous report that stated the Vita wouldn’t come to the West until 2012. The system will retail for $249USD for the Wi-Fi model and $299USD for the 3G model.

Analysis: At the risk of stating the obvious, we now know for certain that the Vita will miss the Christmas rush. When you combine this with the system’s price tag—either of them—and all the accessories that could come with it, I can’t help but think the Vita will run into the same issues that the 3DS did after it launched. Sure, the Vita may have a nice list of games lined up for launch, but how much will any of this matter when it comes time for the general public to decide whether or not to pay for this thing? It’s not like they’ll be able to use the excuse that it’s a Christmas present for a family member or a loved one.

Moreover, the Vita’s going to launch at a time when the market for mobile device apps is Strong with a capital S, so it may run headlong into the same wall of competition as the 3DS. Also think about this: why pay $40 for a game that can be played only on a $249 handheld when you may already have a phone that can download a $1 game as an app? To the average customer, this is a no-brainer; anyone would gun for the product with the lowest price tag, and this would be true even if the economy weren’t in such a rut.

I have no doubts that Sony will appeal to its established fanbase, but I do question just how much success the company will see over all with the PlayStation Vita. Personally, I’m not optimistic.


About M. Ngai