The PS Vita's 3G Plans Could Raise Eyebrows In Japan

This December, Sony is launching two PS Vitas. One model is the cheaper 3G model. The other is a 3G version.

Japanese carrier Docomo is handling the Vita's 3G services. Paid online services are nothing new to Sony or the PlayStation platform. The Vita's 3G services are a departure.

Do be aware that these are the 3G services for Japan. Western carriers are likely to offer different plans and different prices.

According to Sony's official release, there will be two plans offered in Japan: a Private Data Plan 20 Hours and a Private Data Plan 100 hours.

For ¥980 ($12), the 20-hour plan offers 20 hours of gaming. Those 20 hours must be used within a 30-day window.

For ¥4980 ($63), the 100-hour plan will offer 103 hours of gaming that must be used over the course of 180 days.

If your hours are not used during the set time period, they will become invalid.

After that set time period is up, PS Vita users have 14 days to decide if they want to continue buying more hours. When you initially sign up, you must pay ¥2100 ($27). If you decide not to continue after this 14-day window, you must pay that ¥2100 again if you decide to buy hours in the future.

The hours are sold by credit card, and it currently seems like there will not be the option to pay cash for hours at retailers.

Many Japanese gamers seem to be reluctant to buy virtual points with their credit cards. Sony even released a smart card reader USB peripheral in Japan so individuals could add money to their PSN accounts without using their credit cards.

The plan being offered is similar to phone plans, sure, by buying blocks of hours, having to use them during a certain time period, and then needing to buy more hours could hinder the 3G model in Japan. The contract looks to be a sizeable commitment.

During the press conference, Docomo said that it would offer a service that children could use safely. I have no doubt this is true. As safe as it is, is it affordable — not for just kids, but adults?

I imagine that American and European gamers will get different plans. Those plans might be better. They might be worse.

If today's press conference did anything, it convinced me that, as someone living here in Japan, there's only one way to go: Wi-Fi.


    The 3G model is better than the 3G version I think...

      Yes, I'm assuming it is 3G/WiFi

        I'm definately getting a 3g model, or should i just get the 3g model?

    I wonder what plans will be like here in Australia. My guess is worse. :(

    Although Telstra is starting to get better with wireless prices. Especially with mobile plans which would be something similar to this?

    Ok... So you're shelling out money for the console, the games and then you have to pay again (Each month) to play them?

    That's how this reads to me or am I misreading this?

      Only if you want to play multiplayer online through the mobile network. If your at home with your wifi I'm assuming thats free. I imagine this will only be bought by people who play heavily while commuting.

        Good luck if you live in one of the big cities that has the subway, though. Not much 3G signal down there!

    I dont get this at all. So are they paying for hours of online gaming?

    Does this mean they can download what every they want within these hours. In japan do they have hours instead of data caps so you buy your monthly hours of use instead of getting a fix limit?

    weird it sounds. Well i am sure it will be a data plan here in AUS like with tablets. Hopefully discounted. If its say 450-500 dollars over 12 months and you get several gbs a month that wouldn't be that bad (including the PSV 3G as well).

    I'm curious to see how the 3G online gameplay handles here in Australia. The Vodafone network struggles to send SMS', and I've been noticing a considerable difference in speed and loss of reception on the Optus network over the last few months. I live in Metro Sydney, so I don't think it's a coverage issue. I think maybe Telstra is the only service provider that could support online gameplay over 3G. Their plans are getting better, but they're still not nearly as generous as the other telcos in regards to data plans.
    Does anybody know what sort of upload/download speeds are required?

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