Sony announces Japan launch date for PS Vita, no price discount

PlayStation Vita displaySpeaking to reporters in the Japanese capital just ahead of the Tokyo Game Show, Sony’s Hiroshi Kawano said the PlayStation Vita handheld games machine would launch in Japan on December 17.

According to a Reuters report, Kawano, who heads the domestic unit of Sony’s games business, said there are no plans to discount the price of the gadget.

There had been speculation about whether the electronics giant would reduce Vita’s price in light of the problems being experienced by rival Nintendo with its portable 3DS games machine.

This means, for Japanese consumers, the Wi-Fi only version of the PS Vita will be selling for 24,980 yen ($325), while the 3G plus Wi-Fi model will be available for 29,980 yen ($390). The price of Nintendo’s 3DS was recently cut from $250 to $170.

Sony obviously feels confident that there is strong demand for its new gadget, though any uncertainty among consumers about its price could cause potential customers to take a step back and wait in hope for a discount – thereby increasing the likelihood of there being one.

Last month Kaz Hirai, president of Sony’s consumer and products services, said: “We have a very good product at a very affordable price. There’s no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game industry decided they were going to.”

It’s not clear when a launch date for the rest of the world will be announced, though the new device is expected to be in stores in the first few months of next year. The Wi-Fi only Vita is currently available for pre-order in the US Best Buy online store for $249.99, with the 3G plus Wi-Fi version listed at $299.99.

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