During an extremely short notice live streaming presentation early this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan announced that they will drop the price of both the Wi-Fi and 3G models of the PlayStation Vita on February 28th to 19,980 yen (approximately $212 US). This is down from 24,980 yen ($266 US) for the Wi-Fi model, and 29,980 yen ($319 US) for the 3G model.
After the price cut takes effect the PS Vita’s MSRP will be within striking distance of Nintendo’s 3DS XL (18,900 yen), however, it is doubtful that Sony’s handheld will be able to pick up any long term momentum on the price cut alone. Weekly sales of the 3DS generally hit around the 75,000 unit mark in Japan (the latest Media Create report puts the 3DS at 127K units for the week ending February 10th), while the Vita is more often that not below 10,ooo units (8,762 units for the week ending February 10th).
To help turn the tide, Sony also announced that a new Ice Silver Vita (pictured above) will launch on February 28th to coincide with the price drop. Additionally, a Cosmic Red Vita Soul Sacrifice Premium Edition bundle was announced for release in Japan on April 7th (24,980 yen).
As for new software, SCEJ reminded potential Vita buyers that Phantasy Star Online 2, Tales of Hearts, Final Fantasy X HD, Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown, Toukiden, Gundam Breaker, God Eater 2, Valhalla Knights 3, and Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki are all due out later this year.
Finally, Sony announced that all Japanese PlayStation Vita owners will get a free week of PlayStation Plus starting on February 28th.
A Sony Europe representative has officially told Eurogamer that the PS Vita price cut is only for Japan, and they have “nothing to announced at this time” in regards to the handheld’s price in Western regions. Despite that statement, this is most likely one of the announcements that Sony has planned for their February 20th event.
Sony has clearly needed to do something to boost Vita sales worldwide, and a price cut is a good start. Hopefully it’s not too little, too late.