At the Sony E3 conference we just got news that the PlayStation Vita will retail for $US249.99 with Wi-Fi, and $US299.99 with 3G. Considering the specs and features of the device, this is incredibly aggressive pricing from Sony - but what does this mean for Australians?
Previously it would have been safe to look at precedent - with most devices retailing at $US250 going at $399.95 in our region.
From that reasoning, and from Sony's previous pricing in Australia, you might expect Sony to go higher - with a $399/$499 price respectively.
However, I fully expect Sony to go lower. We could be looking at $349.95 for the Wi-Fi PSVita and $399.95 for the 3G enabled version - for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the US pricing for the device is designed to compete directly with the 3DS launch price. I fully expect Sony to follow suit and launch in Australia at $349.95 for the base model.
Secondly, Sony needs to re-earn the goodwill of its consumer base - relatively fair pricing in all regions will help that.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the strength of the Australian dollar should have an impact. For the last few months publishers have been in denial about the need to pass on savings to the consumer, but we're starting to see such attitudes thaw from consumer pressure, a dramatically growing imports market, and pressure from the consumer groups and the Australian government itself. We're not sure yet, but the PSVita will most likely not be region locked - which will make importing the device a viable option for many. In order to justify itself as a region worth subsidising, Sony Australia must be relatively competitive with pricing.
And being 'competitive' will probably result in $350 baseline price point.
As for the release date? Until we get full confirmation that's anyone's guess. We're still waiting to hear back from Sony with regards to the official pricing and release date - but it looks like the PSVita may launch globally by the end of this year. Sony's E3 conference did not make any reference to specific reasons, so from that we can only deduce that the PSVita could be in Australian stores before the end of the year.
We've contacted Sony with regards to the official word, and hope to have more details soon.