A World Where A 6800% Mark Up On A PS Vita Game Is Business As Usual

A World Where A 6800% Mark Up On A PS Vita Game Is Business As Usual

While it may be Jim Sterling’s sole purpose in life to troll the internet’s gaming community from his perch at Destructoid, his latest blog post raises an interesting point about the price of handheld console games in the post-App Store era.

The console cycle is experiencing upheaval it’s never dealt with before, in the form of mobile phones with the processing power to match it with dedicated hardware — not to mention arguably more sophisticated and mature content delivery systems. Say what you will about quality or controls, you can’t argue that Google and Apple have eaten away at Sony and Nintendo’s market share with Android and iOS-based devices.

It took a while, but developers eventually began porting successful games from dedicated consoles to smartphones. When Square Enix brought Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions from PSP to iPhone, it completely disregarded the established tiers and priced the game at $17 — a controversial move at the time. 2K Games, on the other hand, priced its port of Civilization Revolution at a slightly more reasonable $7; the DS version is $20 new, and 360 is around $50.

Clearly, game pricing these days isn’t based on development time or resources expended — the usual variables used when calculating the worth of a product at retail. It’s entirely to do with the platform and how much users are willing to pay for software on that platform. Boxed copies are always going to be more expensive, if only for logistical reasons, but between different digital services on different platforms, the tried-and-tested publisher arguments don’t hold much water.

Adding to the roughness of this new frontier is the fact that not only are we getting some great original games on smartphones, but “hardcore” franchises are finding a home on them also. In Sterling’s editorial, he uses the example of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, published by Ubisoft. Local prices place the PS Vita version at $68, while the Mac App Store version is just $0.99 — a 6800 per cent mark up. While your Mac isn’t as portable as your iPhone, the price tiers are inherited directly from the original App Store.

It won’t be long before more games are ported from iOS / Android to the Vita and, less likely, the 3DS. How publishers decide to handle pricing is anyone’s guess. Is Ubisoft an outlier in this strange new world of portable gaming, or should we get use to the idea of the same game costing a single dollar on one platform and $70 on another?

Ubisoft’s PS Vita bullsh*t is truly incredible [Destructoid]


  • But is it any good in the Mac? store? Comments seem to include buggy controls etc, something the Vita I’m guessing does not suffer from? & are there any in game purchase costs for this version?

    …….Its not what it costs but what are YOU are prepared to pay….

    • I think this is where the price differential will be justified, the question is, how much are less bugs and better controls worth?

    • According to gamespot…

      “Frame rate dips and other technical hindrances – Costs much more than on other platforms”

  • I saw Dungeon Hunter, and nearly shat myself with how ridiculous it is. To be fair, it is an enhanced version of the original, but it’s still only $10 on PSN, and yet $40 to purchase for Vita…. It’s bloody stupid.

    I expected it to be a $10 download like on PS3.

  • I recently bought Ace Attorney for iPhone for $5.50 whereas the cheapest I could import it for on eBay for DS was around $40. The controls aren’t quite perfect but for the price point it was a much smarter alternative.

  • The 3DS is still doing OK, I think it’s a different market, the people who pay 99 cents for an iphone could never plunk down $40 for a game, that’s why their called casual gamer’s.

    • What? That makes no sense. I own all current gen consoles with a decent game library for each, and around 400 games in my steam account, but I still buy mobile games.

  • I think this is just expected with any new tech.

    All the developers will ride for as long as they can until it all comes crashing down once they hype has ended.

  • If people are so outraged by the price differences then don’t buy the game at all on any of the platforms it’s on. Refusing to buy something is the best protest anyone can do. sadly though, people will still buy it no matter how vocal the game blogs are. I have it on the iPhone that’s enough for me.

  • I want a Vita but right now none of the games are tempting me. I’m more likely to run homebrew and emulate old arcade games .

  • Why the Jim Sterling hate? He speaks his mind, and is part of what makes Destructoid so much better than a majority of gaming sites.

    On topic, that is super messed up Ubisoft, just proves why I dislike them

  • I’ve always said games are overpriced. they get away with it because gamers are willing to pay that much. plain and simple

  • Remember what Civilization IV taught us guys:
    “Everything is worth what its purchaser is willing to pay for it.” 😛

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