It seems that Sony’s engineers are putting time and effort into making the PlayStation Vita cheaper in time for next year.
The handheld console hasn’t sold quite as well as Sony was hoping it would do since it launched last year in Japan and this year in the rest of the world. Widespread calls to reduce the cost have since ensued.
Speaking at Gamescom this week, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida confirmed that a price drop will not be happening this year. Yoshida highlighted the various bundles Sony has and will be announcing throughout the remainder of 2012 such as the LittleBigPlanet Vita bundle announced at this week’s Gamescom.
"People like cheap or free," came Yoshida. "Of course, cost reduction is one area our engineering team is working on. But we just launched the platform earlier this year. It takes time to do so.
"At a certain point in the future we would like to address the pricing issue for some of the people who are waiting. But this year we are trying to add value by creating different types of bundles. We announced we will provide LittleBigPlanet PS Vita bundle pack. That's affordable for people who are looking for a good deal."
So, we won’t be seeing a cheaper Vita this year? "No," he said. "It's too early."
There have been complaints that the Vita’s range of games is a little underwhelming, which Yoshida has heard and promises that new content and titles are now the main focus of all things Vita at Sony.
"The reaction to the hardware platform itself has been very strong," he said. "We are very pleased with the response we got. It's up to our expectations in terms of what we were hoping for in bringing PS Vita to the market.
"But the actual sales of PS Vita, obviously we would like to see more uptake. We see lots of feedback from consumers saying they would like to see more content, they would like to see their favorite franchises coming to the PS Vita.
"From our perspective, we were very pleased to launch with many titles. Many people said we had the strongest launch line-up for a PlayStation platform. But it's amazing how much more people want and how much content they consume.
"We designed PS Vita as a medium you can spend hours immersed into playing games. That means any amount of content can be potentially consumed pretty quickly. Also, we feel the expectations of people have changed since the launch of smartphone gaming. There is so much available in terms of variety and numbers.
"So we have to continue to work on bringing more content from big titles people are looking for in terms of franchises, to very small, snack-sized, intuitive casual games on the digital distribution side."
Sony’s Gamescom conference brought plenty of announcements regarding big franchise spin-offs such as Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified and Killzone: Mercenary.
There’s also new content coming to the Vita via the PS Mobile, a new attempt to get miniature titles made for PlayStation certified Android devices.
"PS Mobile is one of the initiatives we are working hard to provide an ecosystem like the App Store, so small developers and even individuals can create content and publish on PS Vita as well as PS certified Android devices," Yoshida explained.
"And anything in between, like offering the PSone emulation compatibility. We were very happy to be able to announce later this month we will bring lots of PSone titles to PS Vita. That includes lots of great RPGs that people were asking for on PS Vita. I for one am looking forward to playing Legend on Dragoon again on PS Vita.
"So, that's our biggest focus now. The best way to realize the potential of the PS Vita platform is to provide the content. That's absolutely number one."