PlayStation Vita Roundtable
Posted on Wednesday, February 22 @ 13:44:18 PST by Anthony Severino
Q: Sony has recently added a Wi-Fi + 3G Vita launch bundle that includes an 8GB Memory Card, an AT&T DataSession Pass, and a free PSN game voucher with redemption of that pass. The First Edition bundle also has the DataSession Pass and the PSN game voucher offer. Sony now has two bundles for the Wi-Fi + 3G Vita and no bundles for the $249 Wi-Fi Vita as of this writing. Why do you think that there are two bundles for the Wi-Fi + 3G Vita and none for the $249 Wi-Fi Vita?
Nicholas Michetti: Sony's been discussing 3G functionality in their games frequently as the Vita launch gets closer, so the Wi-Fi + 3G Vita SKUs selling well must be important to them, at least in terms of 3G functionality being a part of their vision for the console. Having two bundles packed with value incentivizes the gamer to go out and purchase a Wi-Fi + 3G Vita over a Wi-Fi Vita. Plus, having the First Edition bundle grabs the attention of the hardcore early adopter, who would pay the extra $50 to have the console early. If 3G is a big part of Sony's plan for Vita, having bundle for the lower-end 3G-less SKU doesn't make as much sense.
Dale North: I think Sony would like to push this new avenue of connectivity right out of the gate. Multiple SKUs could be a bit confusing for consumers, so Sony has to come out strong to show that the Wi-Fi isn't the only choice.
Daniel Bischoff: Clearly, Sony and AT&T want people plugged into the network at all times. AT&T wants people using the data so they get paid. Period. Wi-Fi-only models offer no cash flow for the communications giant. The Vita is just another stepping stone on the way to massive profits thanks to cheap 3G data service and wide margins. For Sony, keeping people connected on the Vita means consumers will take it everywhere and act as Vita evangelists. Offering free stuff for early 3G adopters is just smart launch business. Expect big titles to get bundled with both models later in the cycle.
Adam Dolge: This is likely due to some agreement with AT&T. Sony also probably wants to boost sales of 3G units to give people access to PSN when Wi-Fi is not available. We’ll need to see 3G in action; otherwise, it’s hard to recommend the extra cost and charges from AT&T.
Q: Sony has recently confirmed that digital PSN downloads of Vita titles will be cheaper than their retail counterparts. How much less than retail versions of games do downloadable versions of those same games need to be priced in order to be a success?
Adam Dolge: I would say $10 is reasonable, but we’ll likely see downloadable games closer to the $35-$39 mark.
Nicholas Michetti: The discount has been announced as being 10%, but that may not be enough to grab the attention of gamers who weren't planning on buying digitally in the first place. $10 off might have been an enormous game changer that would've drawn plenty of attention towards Vita's digital sales, but 10% off may direct some deal seekers and "day one"-minded gamers to download from the PS Store instead of going out to retail. Software sales in Japan hint that gamers in the East are taking advantage of Sony's discounts in a big way—whether or not that will happen in the West remains to be seen.
Dale North: I feel like we're at a point that, even priced the same as retail, downloadable games could compete. For now, for digital titles to be more attractive than retail, Sony would need to chop off at least $5.
Daniel Bischoff: I don’t know if pricing has to be a specific level to be a success. I think the pricing of downloadable Vita titles needs to be flexible, like it is on Steam or Amazon. Downloadable software services need to establish, cultivate, and hammer one of their few advantages: Sales can happen any time and the cuts can be deep. Gamers are thrifty. If Sony wants Vita owners to download games, they need to attract them with even deeper discounts during sales events.
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