With the North American PS Vita launch coming to a February 22 near you, Sony has unveiled two Vita bundles, hoping to drum up interest in the 3G version.
Sony will normally be selling the Vita’s 3G-added version for $300, and the WiFi only version for $50 less. However, on the launch day, Playstation is offering up a new 3G/WiFi bundle that includes the handheld device and related hardware, as well as an 8GB proprietary PS Vita memory card; the memory card looks to be a $30 value itself.
Along with the 8GB memory card, the bundle will include an unknown PlayStation Network game as well as an auto-renewing month-long 250MB DataConnect Pass. All this for $99, but you might want to watch for that w/ 3G activation small print. Those of you that pre-ordered the PS Vita 3G/WiFI First Edition bundle will be getting the Little Deviants game, limited edition case and will have to settle for a 4GB memory card. The First Edition bundle will also be getting an AT&T DataConnect Pass and a mystery PlayStation Network game; plus, you’ll be getting your device on February 15.
Well, first you have to decide if the Vita is worth it. Hardware sales in Japan have continued to disappoint since last year’s launch. Though there was a flash of strong sales in the first two days of the mid-December launch, sales slowed to a crawl with only 70,000 units moved for the entire week ending on December 25. In the new year, Kotaku has pointed out that sales dropped down below 20,000 units last week.
The price of the Vita can be seen as problematic, especially when compared to the 3DS which sells for close to half the price of Playstation’s newest mobile gaming device. Analysts have also pointed to the popularity of smartphones and tablets contributing to the Vita’s weak sales; not to mention the price of a cheap, distracting iOS or Android game versus a $20-50 Vita game. Mobile analytics firm Flurry pointed out in November of last year that iOS and Android have tripled market share over the past three years, and in 2011 both platforms beat out Sony and Nintendo’s combined mobile gaming market dominance. However, iOS and Android games probably won’t stack up to the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The games are what will sell the Vita, and Sony is planning a strong showing on launch day with 25 titles.
That brings us to 3G versus Wireless-only. Though Sony touts the 3G-network access as “perfect for the gamer that wants convenience, community and connection,” 3G doesn’t have access to all the PS Vita online features. That means only turn-based multiplayer games, as well as the inability to download larger games. It might be useful to have online access while on-the-go, and with WiFi-only, you will obviously be cut off from that option forever, but why lump an additional $15-30 to the cost of smartphone plan you probably already loathe paying. However, if you’re already paying PS Vita prices for a mobile console, these prices might seem petty: You know what you want. Pre-ordering the bundle on Amazon might not be such a bad idea, since with the WiFi-only version you’ll probably be buying a memory card anyway. What are your thoughts? 3G worth it or not?
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