PlayStation Vita software will not retail for £44.99 like some overzealous publications indicated earlier this afternoon. That's the game's recommended retail price (and not a confirmed one at that). If you're unsure of how retail works in the UK, we'll give you the overview: manufacturer sets extortionately high RRP, retailer sells it for less. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 carried an RRP of £54.99 at launch. We bought it for £24.99. Obviously that's an extreme case, but it should give you the overall picture.
So the fact that Play.com currently has Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita listed at £44.99 is almost meaningless. Only idiots will pay that price, and if you're willing to splash out such an extortionate amount of money for any game (handheld or otherwise) you deserve to get ripped off. (Ok, we'd pay £200 for Shenmue III, but that's for another discussion.)
If those sucked in by said attention grabbing headlines would have used a little common sense, then perhaps we could have avoided another throng of "PS Vita is doomed" forum posts. Amazon.co.uk, for example, is selling Uncharted: Golden Abyss for just over £28. That seems more in line with the £30 price-point we're expecting from PS Vita's top-tier games.
Sony said late last month that it intends to take a "more tailored approach" to PlayStation Vita software pricing, and that much is evident from Play.com's placeholder prices. For example, despite Uncharted: Golden Abyss' relatively high price-point, both Little Deviants and Reality Fighters can be snatched for £17.99. Similarly, mid-tier titles such as Wipeout 2048 and Everybody's Golf can be pre-ordered for £29.99.
It makes sense for Sony to spread the cost of titles appropriately. Why demand a high price for a specific game when it might not carry the same production values as another? We got our hands on Reality Fighters earlier in the year and thought it was pretty neat, but pondered whether people would pay £30-£40 for it. But £17.99 sounds spot on to us.
If nothing else, the numbers show that Sony's certainly aware of the threat from smartphones, and that it needs to be dynamic with software pricing in order to maintain the system's long-term appeal.
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