Posted by: themoviecheese | January 8, 2012

Sony Console Launches and Ridiculous Prices

So at the back end of February, Sony’s new handheld system – named “PlayStation Vita” – is set to launch. The system boasts an incredibly powerful quad-core processor (note: powerful by handheld console standards), amazing console-level graphics, dual analogue sticks (something that was notoriously missing from Sony’s first handheld effort the PSP), a front and rear touch panel, a 5 inch OLED screen, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, excellent online/social features with full Facebook Twitter and Skype support, and much more.

Surprisingly, despite the gargantuan hardware involved, the most staggering thing about the Vita is its price. The UK versions will retail at around £229.99 for the Wi-Fi edition and £279.99 for the Wi-Fi/3G edition. Not only that, but given the relatively poor reception of the console in its native country Japan (the consoles sales dropped in around 75% in just the second week), those prices will most likely fall even further before release. It’s been said that due to the surprisingly low price system, Sony are actually going to loose money on each system sold.

This may at first seem strange, but there is more to this than meets the eye.

First of all, Sony have said that the price drop is part of a “Three year profit plan”. They plan on the Vita out selling the PSP’s current 70 million unit mark in just three years. By which means they will have made a gargantuan profit. Can the system do that? Well looking at the Japanese figures, it seems incredibly unlikely. Having said that, the Japanese market is completely different to the US and UK market. We will have to wait for February and see how Sony plan on marketing this beast to see just how much of an impact it is set to have. One thing’s for sure, Sony better have a damn good marketing strategy up their sleeves, because they have to contend with not just the Nintendo 3DS, but also the smartphone market. With such iPhone games as Infinity Blade bridging the gap between mobile gaming and handheld gaming, will consumers really bother with a new handheld?

The other thing to consider is that the PS Vita has no internal memory. And here comes the real kick in the teeth. Remember when the PS2 came out and Sony invented their own memory for it in the form of a memory card? Now try to remember than the storage of the card was a mere 8 Megabytes. Now try to remember that seperately, the cards cost around £20 – in fact, even when the PS3 was released, one of those 8 Megabytes (Eight. Fucking. Megabytes) STILL cost £19.99 – the same price that could net you a 16 Gigabyte SD Card. Well it seems like Sony are up to their old tricks. As I said, the Vita has no internal memory. It needs memory however to save games and download content etc. So basically the damn thing is useless unless you get memory with it. The system does NOT come with a memory card in the box – you have to buy them separately. And – like they did with the PS2 – instead of adding a simple SD Card, Sony have decided to create entirely new and unique storage media for the Vita. These Vita-specific memory cards, look pretty much exactly the same as an SD Cards only smaller.

Now, let’s do a little price comparison. The Vita memory cards are being released in 3 forms – 4 Gigabytes, 8 Gigabytes and 16 Gigabytes. There has been talk of a 32 Gigabyte card as well, but thus far that hasn’t appeared on any retail sites. The 4Gb card is set to be priced at a staggeringly high £14.99. By comparison, a 4Gb SD Card would set you back a mere £3. The 8Gb Vita card is priced at a staggering £27.99. By comparison an 8Gb SD Card would set you back a mere 7-8 quid. And the most shocking of all, the 16Gb Vita card is set to be priced at a mind-numbing £39.99 – bringing the system’s cost up to around £300 (depending on which model you buy). By comparison a 16Gb SD Card costs around £10 – thirty fucking quid cheaper than the Vita card.

Apparently, the Vita cards have extremely high levels of security and encryption – which makes them incredibly difficult to hack. Now, this is all well and good, but surely that extra encryption can’t justify the extra £30. The prices are just bullshit, through and through.

And by the way, this is all coming from someone who actually plans on buying a Vita on release. The system does look incredibly sexy and it has a fantastic launch line-up (Uncharted, ModNation, Unit 13, Wipeout and Reality Fighters to name but a few). But, I can’t deny my anger at Sony for the cheer scam of these fucking memory cards.

And let’s remember that it isn’t only Sony who are guilty of this. Look at the Xbox 360 on its release. The original 20Gb hardrive would set you back around £69.99. Whereas the average 20Gb Sata Hard drive would be around half that at the time, possibly even less. Also, there was a 120 Gb drive costing around £150-odd, whereas a Sata drive might cost around a mere £40 at the time. Granted that originally the 360 didn’t really need much storage , but it’s still a legitimate comparison.

However, I have thought of a future solution. Now hear me out, for this is the sole reason of me posting this blog entry. What if…just what if companies such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo decided – whenever they are about to release a new console – to release any peripherals that are deemed absolutely necessary (such as fucking memory cards) the month before the console’s official release. That would enable us – the consumers – to go out and get stocked up ready for the console’s release. Most people now-a-days get their wages monthly. This means that months wage could go on any important peripherals, and then the next month’s wage could go on the console itself and any games they fancy.

I honestly believe this is a fantastic solution to this problem. I’d love to be able to buy one of those £40 Vita cards now, with my current wage, and then by the console next month, with that month’s wage.

So yeah, there’s my plan. I just hope Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo find this/take note of this and think about this strategy for future console releases.

Sound out below in the comments to say whether you agree or disagree…

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Responses

  1. completely agree, i want the console, i’ll probably buy the console, but fuck me sony, your prices…


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