Sony ain’t messing around at Gamescom 2012. You want games for PlayStation Vita? Sony’s got new games from Little Big Planet studio Media Molecule, it’s got new Killzone, it’s got PSone Classics—Who cares if Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified looks shoddy? There are originals on there. Need more? All those PlayStation 3 games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time come free for Vita through Cross Buy.
Great. Good for you, Sony. People like games, so games will convince them to buy your shiny machine. There’s a problem though: It’s expensive. Way too expensive for something that only plays video games. If people are going to buy that fingerprint magnet, you’re going to have to bring the price down. How about a Christmas price drop?
“No,” Sony Worldwide Studios chief Shuhei Yoshida told Eurogamer, “It’s too early.”
“People like cheap or free,” the executive explained in an interview at Gamescom, “Of course, cost reduction is one area our engineering team is working on. But we just launched the platform earlier this year. It takes time to do so. At a certain point in the future we would like to address the pricing issue for some of the people who are waiting. But this year we are trying to add value by creating different types of bundles. We announced we will provide Little Big Planet PS Vita bundle pack. That’s affordable for people who are looking for a good deal.”
Vita’s got even more attractive bundles coming. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation will come packed in with a new white PS Vita in October. It won’t be enough to turn around Vita’s anemic sales though. Bundles are a good incentive it’s true. Many credit the Wii’s runaway success to its being bundled with Wii Sports. Nintendo learned the hard way in 2011 though that price is king in the modern age. The Nintendo 3DS only turned itself around once there were some decent games available and it cost significantly less than the Vita’s entry price of $250.
“The reaction to the hardware platform itself has been very strong,” said Yoshida, “But the actual sales of PS Vita, obviously we would like to see more uptake. We lots of feedback from consumers saying they would like to see more content, they would like to see their favorite franchises coming to the PS Vita.”
“So that’s our biggest focus now. The best way to realize the potential of the PS Vita platform is to provide the content. That’s absolutely number one.”
Games are priority number one, Mr. Yoshida. The best games in the world aren’t going to get people buying your machine though. Just look at the 2009 PS3 redesign and price drop announced at Gamescom for all the evidence you need.