News Article

Sony: Publishers Need To Think Carefully About PS Vita Pricing

Posted by Sammy Barker

Tiered the target

In an age where small change can get you a compelling distraction, Sony’s biggest challenge with the PlayStation Vita is convincing people that £40 is a reasonable price for a handheld game. So far it’s tackled the problem by using a wide range of price tags for its selection of launch titles, spanning £4.79 right through to £44.99.

But despite the (surprisingly) low price-points of some titles, Sony’s drawn criticism for the upper end of its pricing scale. Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, has defended the pricing of titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss however, suggesting that gamers will be willing to pay more for meatier titles.

He told VentureBeat:

We have a theory that if we create really compelling, engaging experiences that you can spend hours with, you'll see the value of spending 40 dollars against one dollar.

The good thing about $1 games is that people are not spending too much money on them. If you buy 40 of those, you might be spending $40, but still...

Gamers love all kinds of games. I totally understand people who like games like Angry Birds, but if you're a gamer, you're also interested in trying different kinds of experiences, bigger games.

Despite that, Yoshida implored publishers to think very carefully about how much they charge for their PS Vita titles:

I can see, looking at the games in game stores, when you see games that you feel you can find on the iPod or iPad for five dollars, why should you spend 40 dollars? So software publishers will really have to think hard when they approach pricing their software. Is this the experience that will compel people to spend that much? Or is this something they should provide for more accessible prices, so that people will try it?

Yoshida reiterated that variable pricing is the best solution for handheld titles in 2012:

For the past consoles, we had a pretty rigid price range we kept to. This is a full-price game, $60, this is a Greatest Hits, $30. Like that.

But for PS Vita, you'll see games that sell for $50, $40, $30. And on the digital, $45, $35, $23, $15, $10 and $5. A very wide variety of pricing. We're looking at each title and the value and scope of the content, and trying to match people's value perception with the pricing.

It seems like a sound strategy, but we’re unsure whether that top tier price point is going to fly beyond launch.

[via venturebeat.com]

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User Comments (11)

koops330

#1

koops330 said:

$50 for a handheld game is alot if Resident evil Revelations showed that with it dropping its price before it even got launched.

eliotgballade

#2

eliotgballade said:

guess you get what you pay for . my main concern would be shelling out £30 to £40 on a game and then discovering you need to purchase a memory card to play it

DarkKirby

#3

DarkKirby said:

While I love cheap prices the prices for (well made) full length games are fine (excluding the scam of DLC for purchase near or at the release date for games that could have come with the main game but were left out on purpose to be sold as DLC, but that's another discussion entirely). I actually DO NOT understand the appeal of games like and also specifically Angry Birds. I downloaded Angry Birds on my Android after hearing and reading everywhere how fantastic it was only to discover how its quality, originality, and entertainment value pale in comparison to most high ranking Newgrounds games. There are 100s of "fling stuff to knock down stuff" games there already, and Angry Birds is nothing special. In fact, while I love my Android phone, rarely any phone game I've seen or played even comes close to providing a game remotely close to the quality of many original Game Boy games, and as previously said, high ranking Newgrounds games, which I remind you, are often developed by a single person, and then distributed FOR FREE, not some "amazingly cheap price of $5 or less", FREE. Every time I read an article or hear people say that people who play phone games like Angry Birds are "gamers" (casual or otherwise), claim to be knowledgeable about games in general, the gaming industry and what is has to offer based on said phone games, and companies like Sony, Nintendo, and other non phone game developers are "going out of business because they are unable to make fun games for $5 like they have for their phones", it makes me want to slap them because of their extreme ignorance in the subject of games they consider themselves experts on because they play lots of phone games. The ignorance is deep, with many non game focused news and media outlets spouting the same garbage of how "phone games are the future and are putting all other types of games to shame as well as out of business" and "why would I pay $50 - $60 for a game when I can pay under $10 and get a similar experience on my portable phone and tablet (the latter of which isn't really that portable in my opinion)", all written by people who never played through a single (well made) modern, or dated for that matter, full length game in their life, and do not intend to ever give them a try. The experience you get from (well made) DS games alone so extremely different, and better from that of a phone game that's supposed to be a deal at > $10, they aren't even comparable. You are actually getting a much better deal for most well made games at $40 - $60 then you ever could actually paying for phones games that are often trumped by Newgrounds games that are provided FOR FREE, that I would consider any phone game that isn't free a RIP OFF.

komicturtle

#4

komicturtle said:

Revelations dropped in price because apparently, the team working on it originally wanted it for $40 and had to request for the $10 drop many times. Glad it went through. Revelations is a fantastic game.

PSVita games should for the most part be worth their $40 asking price.

Depending.

odd69

#5

odd69 said:

"But for PS Vita, you'll see games that sell for $50, $40, $30. And on the digital, $45, $35, $23, $15, $10 and $5. A very wide variety of pricing. We're looking at each title and the value and scope of the content, and trying to match people's value perception with the pricing."

I wish Sony would use this strategy for not just the Vita, but for it's ps3 retail.60$ a pop for a new release is just too high end. As far as digital i expect a lower price.. But on Vita new releases should all start out at 39.99 on down.

Paranoimia

#6

Paranoimia said:

I don't know where people get this idea that a portable game should be cheap. Why should it? Because Android and iPhone games are cheap? Bollocks.

I have no reservations at all in paying full price for a portable game such as Uncharted, because I know it's going to look and play like its PS3 cousins. Phone games are utter crap, pure and simple. If you want a true mobile gaming experience, you'll need a Vita, or at least a 3DS.

Like @DarkKirby I do not see any lasting appeal in the likes of Angry Birds. I tried it for about 10 minutes, then deleted it... tedious beyond belief. As is the case with 99% of Android/iPhone games. I've had an Android phone since the end of July 2011, and I've already given up even looking at the games available because they're that pathetic.

Personally, I'd much rather pay £40 for 10 hours of Golden Abyss or any 'proper' game. That leaves me feeling much less ripped off than than repeatedly paying 50p for games which are deleted in under 10 minutes. And I think any serious gamer would feel the same.

rjejr

#7

rjejr said:

Re: title -
So says the company charging so much for their memory cards people won't be buying the system, so they won't have to worry about what the games cost.

eliotgballade

#8

eliotgballade said:

@rjejr
don't know about that . yes the cost of memory cards is an issue (as i mentioned in my earlier comment) - but would you NOT buy a car because it didn't come with a full tank of gas ? or a new fridge because it WASN'T stocked with those microwavable burgers & beer ?

rjejr

#9

rjejr said:

re: Eliot
No, I would NOT buy a car that required a special brand of gas that costs so much more than every other brand of gas out there. I didn't say I wouldn't buy a Vita b/c it didn't come with a memory card, I implied some people won't buy one b/c Sony - the company that is suggesting game makers sell their games cheaply - chose to come up with a new form of memory card rather than just using either some version of an SD card or Pro Duo. Not the same argument.
I also would NOT buy a microwave that required a Vita memory card. Or any memory card. The 3DS launched at $249 and included an SD card, so it's not unheard of or unprecedented.
Sony seems to have this compulsion to do stupid stuff and then have the audacity to hypocritically tell other people not to do the same stupid stuff.

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