Sony’s bringing its new handheld the PS Vita to U.S. gamers one week ahead of its scheduled February 22 release. The limited “First Edition” bundle features Vita’s 3G-enabled model, the game “Little Deviants” and a carrying case. More importantly, it includes a 4GB memory card – a requirement to play some games.
All things considered the $349 bundle is a deal, but is Sony setting itself up to repeat Nintendo’s recent miscalculation of how much consumers are willing to spend on a handheld gaming system?
When it hits shelves, the Vita will become the most expensive dedicated handheld device on the market. Nintendo’s glasses-free 3DS handheld formerly held that dubious honor, though not for long.
The Kyoto-based game giant dropped the device’s price by $80 following a lukewarm retail reception. Only now at $169 is the 3DS beginning to make strides with consumers. However, recent financial results show that Nintendo is still paying for the mistake.
Sony hopes to shatter sales records and lead the handheld gaming market, but it’s no stretch to imagine it could face the very same problem. Gamers weren’t eager to spend $249 on a handheld system in 2011. Will that change in 2012?
The Vita’s beautiful 5″ OLED screen and sleek design grants it an expensive appearance – something Sony is famous for. In contrast to the competition, it looks like a $249 piece of gaming hardware. But if looks and features trumped all, Sony’s PlayStation 3 wouldn’t have struggled at its initial $499/$599 price tag. Eventual price drops for the console helped immensely.
Reactions to the news at the Official U.S. PlayStation blog were mixed. Many fans said they were thrilled with the bundle, while others expressed dissatisfaction at Sony’s decision to include the AT&T-supported 3G model over the Wi-Fi-only model. A “First Edition” Wi-Fi Vita bundle will release in Canada for $299.
Sony remains confident with the choice.
“From the beautiful, highest resolution front touch screen and rear touch pad, to the dual analog sticks, motion sensors and dual cameras, PS Vita will offer all new ways to engage and play your favorite games,” said John Koller, SCEA hardware marketing director. “With both 3G and Wi-Fi support, you can stay connected with your PSN friends and social apps, while enjoying location-based gaming.”
The U.S. “First Edition” bundle ships on February 15 for $349. One week later, Sony releases the no-frills Wi-Fi and 3G+Wi-Fi Vita models for $249 and $299, respectively.
Picking up the new Vita bundle, or is it out of your price range? Let us know in the comment section.