Sony of Japan has announced that the official retail price of both types of PlayStation Vita unit, the Wi-Fi-only model and the 3G enabled model, will be 19,980 yen (around $215 USD) as of February 28. They had previously been selling for a suggested retail price of 25,000 yen and 30,000 yen. The two will presumably be the same price in order to get the horrendously unpopular 3G models off some shelves. The drop also applies to all four currently available colors: black, white, red, and blue. Many retailers, completely independent of Sony's recommendation, have already been selling the 3G unit at a price reduced by a few thousand yen, but this drop is significantly lower than any I've seen in any of the many game shops I frequent. This price drop coinciding with Phantasy Star Online 2's release date means, at least in the short term, we'll see a huge Vita sales spike.
SCEJ announced a few new system bundles as well. The Starter Pack tosses in Hot Shots Golf 6 and a 4-GB memory card, all for the same price as a no-frills solo unit. The "32 GB bonus Pack" sells for 24,980 yen and offers — you guessed it — a 32 GB memory card, cradle stand thing, and a screen protector. Upcoming Vita action RPG Soul Sacrifice had already been the subject of a well-advertised hardware bundle, but now, said bundle will be getting a price drop to match the new systems; it will sell for 24,980 and includes a 4 GB memory card, limited edition red Vita with character art, Soul Sacrifice cleaning cloth, a pair of red and gray earphones, and soft carrying pouch. Here's a picture:
The other Vita news highlight of the day comes with Sony and Square Enix re-re-reconfirming that Final Fantasy X HD really still is still really in development for real, still. "Don't believe me?" asked the decaying remains of an old man holding a Vita, "Well then just have a look at these blurry screenshots! That'll prove that our HD remake is coming along nicely!"
No release date was announced, but as per Square Enix usual, one was promised "soon." In Square time, that can mean anywhere from a week to eight years. Here's a trailer that's better than the screens.
Two years ago, a lot of people were making fun of the 3DS for having low sales. One year ago, they were making fun of the Vita for the same reason. One difference between the two situations is that the 3DS mockery only lasted a few months, as its price dropped, software lineup started rolling, and sales hopped a rocket to the moon; the PS Vita mockery has been almost constant since its launch a year ago. A second difference that Vita's most staunch defenders seem to ignore is that the numbers 3DS was posting during its period of mockery were still double what the Vita has been shifting lately. Vita sales have been terrible, no getting around it. We'll just have to see if this price drop is enough, when combined with the upcoming software lineup, to really move some units.