After the 3DS launched to a shaky start, everyone feared that iOS and Android devices were going to steal the relatively large mobile market. After a mere five months Nintendo was forced to slash the price of the handheld to $170, which gave the device a huge sales boost. Thus proving the market does still exist, although it may be considerably smaller than in previous years. So why do I find it hard to believe the Vita can’t take its fair share of the market? Simply because there are far too many barriers to enjoy the Vita and Sony still can’t market their devices.
Price point. The price of a device is a huge factor for many people. The Vita itself is a fair price. Taking into account all the tech that is inside the device; the front touch-screen, dual-analog sticks, back touch-pad, 3g/wi-fi connectivity (3g on 3g model only) and its 5-inch OLED screen, the price is fine. The only reason the price looks less than stellar is because the 3DS cut its prices, which was a great move by Nintendo ahead of the Vita’s Japan release. Being almost $100 less than your competition is a huge advantage and Sony will definitely have to further entice customers by creating bundles to gain ground in the mobile market.The Vita’s price is a slight detriment to many people but the proprietary memory card could be the nail in the coffin.
The Vita has no on-board memory to save game data and, typical of Sony devices, it requires a proprietary memory card. Proprietary means one thing, expensive! The cards range from the smallest of 4gb at $19.99 to the largest of 32gb at $99.99, with a couple of sizes in between. Had Sony used an sd card, it may have been enough get the people who were on the fence about buying the device, to take the plunge. Not only would this allow consumers to buy more games it would begin to saturate the market with Vitas thus creating buzz.
Marketing and Sony are two things that, recently, rarely go hand-in-hand. I am sure you all remember the crying baby ads? If not, one will be posted below for your enjoyment. I will give credit to Sony’s team with the Kevin Butler PS3 ads, but when it comes to Vita they are nearly non-existent. The only one that comes to mind is the Taco Bell Vita giveaway Ad, which is an ad as much for Taco Bell as it is the Vita. I don’t have the slightest clue of what the marketing teams budget is but it has to be more than what they have produced. A few ads on Spike or ESPN could have been enough to generate at least a little buzz. My hope was that Sony saved up money to buy a slot during the super bowl. As the commercials passed by, i realized this was more of a pipe dream than anything else. Yes the ads cost a couple million but the ability of reaching such a large audience surely outweighs the cost. Ever if the ad was terrible, people would still have it on their, ” Worst Super Bowl Ads of 2012″, but the Vita brand would be talked about.
Getting the device into the consumers hands is the main goal when launching a system and Sony’s inablitiy to adapt to the changing market and there lack of advertising with greatly hinder the Vitas early sales. The early adopters are crucial, especially with the capabilities of smartphones. If the Vita doesnt launch well in the US it could be a crushing blow to the handheld mobile gaming market. Mobile devices and the 3DS pose a small threat but Sony’s main opposition is itself.
The Playstation Vita will be released in the US on Feb. 22.