Should have shown more Vita games at its E3 conference.
In the second round of the Sony-Nintendo handheld wars, Nintendo's 3DS has thus far been solidly on top. The 3DS and Vita had sold 17 million and 1.8 million units worldwide by this past March, respectively, and while the 3DS has enjoyed a year-long head start, that's hardly enough to explain the massive gap. What does explain it is the price: After Nintendo cut the 3DS price from $249 to $169 last summer, sales of the handheld surged.
While Sony has been offering a temporary €50 rebate on the Vita, but only in France - and only from the beginning of June to mid-July - it has no plans to slash the price of its handheld to stay competitive. Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida responded to rumors that the hardware giant would be announcing a price cut at E3, telling Eurogamer that he thought it was "absolutely" too soon for that sort of thing.
"From the value for money standpoint, we think we have a good price for what the system is. And our priority is to achieve the potential through more games and services," he said. Yoshida admitted that cost was of course a concern for potential buyers, especially those who needed to buy a memory card as well, but said that Sony wanted to shore up the Vita's content first before focusing on cost reduction. "[Now], our laser focus is to increase the content and to realise the potential of the system."
Yoshida also admitted that PS Vita owners may have felt slighted by the company's E3 presentation, where the only Vita announcements were a previously leaked Assassin's Creed title and cross-platform play for PlayStation All-Stars. "I'm getting lots of tweets from people saying, 'where are PS Vita games?' That was, in retrospect, our fault - not looking at every angle when we designed the [program] for the show," he said.
"We have 25 new games, Vita titles, playable on the show floor. We could have spent more time - probably we should - showing off those games coming out this year."
It's a tricky situation for Sony. Consumers won't buy a handheld without any games - particularly in the age of Android and iOS - but they won't buy a handheld they can't afford, either. A $50 price cut across the board would go a long way to boosting sales. Still, Sony is already losing money on Vita hardware sales, and taking a further $50 hit with every purchase can't be an easy pill to swallow.