Sony Prices PS Vita to Compete with Nintendo 3DS
At the E3 gaming expo, Sony officially named their new handheld gaming console the PS Vita and revealed that pricing would start at $249.
The Vita had been announced previously, but Sony called it by a codename, NGP, which stands for next generation portable.
Sony exec Kaz Hirai said during a press conference that the PS Vita will cost $249 for a Wi-Fi-only version and $299 for a Wi-Fi plus 3G model. Sony announced it would launch this fall or winter, but later revised that to March 2012.
The hardware is impressive, with rumors swirling that it might be more powerful than the Sony PlayStation 3, the most powerful game console on the market. Sony representatives wouldn’t confirm the rumor or the specs, but a representative did tell TechNewsDaily that the PS Vita specs are "about on par" with the PS3.
That’s impressive, but not the most surprising thing about the PS Vita . Experts and gamers alike were surprised that Sony priced the PS Vita as low as it did. Many were predicting the Vita would cost more than $500. By contrast, the average smartphone, unsubsidized, costs more than $500.
The $249 price is not accidental, though. It just happens to be the same price as the recently released Nintendo 3DS , Nintendo’s own handheld gaming system and direct competitor to the PS Vita. It’s clear that Sony doesn’t want the price of the Vita to dampen competition with the device. Indeed, several gamers at the convention expressed interest in the Vita simply because they could get the power of the Vita for the same price as the 3DS.
Even if Sony is taking a loss in order to boost sales, it’s not a new move. It was widely known that Sony priced the PS3 at less than the manufacturing cost to boost sales and get consoles in the hands of gamers, who would then buy games and hopefully recoup Sony’s losses.
Sony announced the 3G version of the PS Vita will use the AT&T network exclusively, which will require customers to get a new data contract if they are not currently AT&T customers. It’s not clear if AT&T users will be able to use their existing data account.
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