Earlier yesterday, IGN uploaded a ‘Podcast Beyond’ with a question asking the staff “is the Vita going to get a price drop anytime soon?”, thankfully Colin Moriarty immediately responded “no”.
I also cannot see the Vita getting a price drop anytime soon, nor should it! Granted, the Vita hasn’t been the best selling console (or selling at an ideal rate at all), but why does the gaming community automatically assume that dropping the price is the solution?
If a console is worth buying, it’s worth buying. Yes, that’s oversimplifying the whole problem – but it’s true! Unless a console is being sold at an outrageous high price, people will be at least intrigued to buy the console. Considering that the Vita Slim can be purchased at Amazon UK for £149, I wouldn’t call that an outrageous price; the redesigned Vita competes with the 3DS XL (which is priced at £175). For around £26 less, you’re purchasing a more powerful system, with better displays and better control functionality. However you’re also spending £149 for an underdeveloped console.
The solution therefore isn’t price, the hardware you use is worth the selling price – the problem is the games. When the Vita was first announced it was provided a promise of AAA first and third party home console experience games, a promise which Sony did not fulfil. With the lacklustre amount of sales, Sony realised that gamers did not care for the push of amazing graphics and a home console experience, they just wanted better games. Here’s where Indie games come in. The handheld became the perfect device to play your favourite Indie games on the go, and therefore began to serve a purpose. The problem is, there’s too much of a focus on JUST Indie games. In order to appeal to the general market, Sony need to at first provide some attention grabbing titles (but make sure that the gameplay is actually worth buying and not similar to Uncharted: Golden Abyss), advertise it well and then introduce gamers the various amount of indie games that the Vita offers.
Marketing. That’s the next big issue. Had the Vita been marketed better, more people would be interested in buying it. Back during the build up to the 3DS release, I happened to have witnessed many previews in where I managed to test out the device early before release; this wasn’t during any special conventions, but rather just in shopping malls, inside video game retailers and such, this allowed people to witness the true power of the 3D (which was Nintendo’s focus of a selling point back then). Unlike the 3DS, I did not see that much of the Vita. Whether it being the chance to test it out, television adverts or anything else, the Vita was near invisible in the gaming market. But surely if the console was marketed better, more people would have purchased the system meaning there’d be a higher demand for new games, therefore Sony would push for more games to be produced and would be selling a more successful console than it is today. There is no need for price drops, but rather the need to advertise the system better.
Recently, the Wii U has been the signifier that a price drop isn’t needed. A single game (Mario Kart 8) managed to boost system sales, then in addition with the fantastic E3 Nintendo Direct, fans have glimpsed the potential future for the console, proving that the console is worth buying. There has been an earlier price drop for the system, but what pushed people to buy the console wasn’t the price, but rather the content.
Sony seem to be pushing focus on the PS4 and providing regular content for the console so that the future doesn’t end up in a ‘game demand drought’ and instead leaving the console in a successful first year. Due to this, the Vita has been left more on the side, which I find ridiculous. With the success of the PS4, Sony should be pushing the Vita ever more so! There’s remote play; allow more games to integrate this feature, advertise it as a Wii U killer and present the remote play as a extremely better alternative than just the standard DualShock control scheme! IGN recently released an article about upcoming Vita games, all of which look great but desperately NEED to be advertised well in order to grab peoples attention, the Vita just needs that extra push in games and the console could actually sell partially better.
Then there’s availability. The majority of retailers have either an extremely low amount of Vita’s in stock, or sometimes none at all. If the alternatives to price drops are going to work, there needs to be actual stock to sell! Sony needs to influence retailers to restock a large amount of consoles, and then provide demo booths with a fantastic game such as TxK, pushing customers to play the demo and try out the system. The general public don’t know what they want until they see it right in front of them, which is why demo units are a perfect way to grab potential sales!
This article alone has managed to find 4 alternate focuses for Sony to use to promote the Vita and amplify its success. The phrase ‘price drop’ is over used in the gaming industry, yet it’s ridiculous? The company needs to earn a profit and if the device isn’t too overpriced, surely there must be extraneous variables other than price which is the reasoning for poor sales. The over use of ‘price drops’ makes it sound as if it’s such a struggle to purchase the device, as if we all live in extreme poverty where there’s no other alternative other than dropping the price; yes I’m over dramatising the whole scenario, but I avidly believe that the push for price drops seem to happen for no reason.
Leave a comment below with your view of price drops, whether you agree or disagree if that should be a companies primary focus in boosting sales.