Three Major Australian Retailers Will Not Be Stocking The PlayStation Vita [UPDATE]

Bad news has come for bargain hunters in the lead-up to the launch of the PS Vita: Big W, Target and K-Mart will not be stocking the Sony handheld console.

Big W and Target said in emails they did not rule out stocking the console in the future, but they will not be available at launch.

“At this stage we are not stocking the PlayStation Vita, however it may be something that we stock at a later date,” read a statement from Big W and Target. K-Mart stated they will not be stocking the PS Vita at all because they are leaning towards products with lower prices.

It is unclear at the moment whether the retailers have made a choice to not stock the handheld console or if Sony has played a role in this. Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has gone on record with Jason Hill from the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that the Vita is "clearly targeted at the core gamer". It is uncertain if this means that Sony only wants the Vita to be stocked at specialty retailers and excluded from department stores. Whatever the reason, the Vita not being visible at these three retailers is a strange move. Curiously, citing the cost of the Vita as a reason for not stocking it holds little water when the iPad is sold at these stores now, at a much higher price point than even the most expensive Vita SKU.

A secondary repercussion of this move is that gamers will be affected when it comes to looking for the best price for the Vita, with fewer stores fighting it out to offer competitive prices. Big W is especially known for not releasing prices on new devices up until release day and undercutting everyone. Without the discount chains, punters will be left paying whatever EB, GAME, JB and other retailers charge.

Sony has also dropped the price of the 3G Vita by $30 to $419.95 (when purchased with a Vodafone sim card, from Vodafone) just a week before launch. The price of the Wi-Fi unit remains unchanged at $349.95 — that's same price the Nintendo 3DS launched at before the price was dropped after its terrible launch performance.

We have contacted Sony for comment and will update when we hear from them.

The Vita launches next Thursday in Australia. How does this move affect your Vita purchase? Will you be getting one?

UPDATE: Sony has responded to the news with the following statement:

For the launch of PlayStation Vita in Australia, with the specific target market being the active gamer we have chosen to launch the console with a focussed retail channel strategy across national specialist game and specialist technology retailers.

There is a long term vision for our revolutionary new hand-held platform, in the same way we had a long term vision for PS3, and anticipate that in line with this we will broaden channel distribution in the future.


    Awww mannn..
    I want this thing to succeed sooo much, but with the big 3 dropping out, it looks like that won't happen.

      It's success is hardly dependent on 3 dingy retailers in Australia.

        I work at one of these retailers, I assure you most parents don't even know EB/GAME exists and they always assume that we're cheaper even if we're not.

        And parents make up the majority of a console's sales since they're buying it for their children.

          Exactly, this.

          Plus most people who play games know that they can usually find it cheaper at these stores if they have to.

          Believe me, this will affect sales greatly.
          I suggest you familurise yourself with how markets work with technology based products, Alinos.

            I am not so sure it will affect sales that much. I have been to all three major game retailers (GAME, EB, JB) and they have all reached capacity for their pre orders of the vita console. Whilst Big W etc might usually be cheaper, they usually don't stock nearly enough supporting accessories or games, which are the life blood of the system.

            My bet is that the console is picked up by the hardcore at launch, and when an inevitable price cut occurs (right before Christmas), Big W and the rest will start selling it at a low price for the masses of parents sufferring with the their childs screaming ringing in their ears.

            LOL, this won't stop success. It's a setback, but a small one. I look at game stores or at last resort electronic stores(Dick SMitch, etc.) Never Big W, and NEVER K Mart... That place has some really bad prices COUGHLEGOPRICESCOUGH. GAME Launch in UK went well, so i'm not TOO worried.

          I'm having trouble imagining many parents buying a VIta for their children. I mean I'm sure there'll be some, but the Vita console and it's games aren't aimed at children, much like the PSP wasn't.

          They're more likely to want a DS/3DS.

            Also, no insult to your employer of choice, but of course the parents you see in your store don't know EB/Game exists. They probably wouldn't be there if they did.

            Aaaaand that sounds bitchy on screen, but it's not intended that way, I assure you.

            You're trying to make it sound like the psp was more mature than the DS, which isn't true. PSP was filled with badly made kiddy anime jrpgs.

              The inclusion of such games (kiddy anime jrpgs, as you put it) doesn't make the entire system (PSP) and it's library kiddy or less mature than the DS. That sounds like more your personal opinions of a single genre of games and using that to condemn the console itself.

              The DS had so few 'serious' or 'mature' games I could likely count them on one, maybe two hands. The PSP had dozens, if not more. So I'm saying the PSP was more mature than the DS., and I'm going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with your opinion the PSP wasn't more mature than the DS.

              I own a PSP, a DSi XL and a 3DS, for the record - I'm not saying the PSP is better or worse, but more mature? Definitely.

                The thing that needs to be taken into account is that, well, most kids don't want to play kiddy games. I know that when I was in school the most child-friendly series I played was Pokemon or Zelda, mostly I was playing Counter-Strike, Halo, Battlefield, etc. All 'hardcore' games/franchises.

                It's only now that I'm in university that I'm discovering the joy of the Kirby series, or Professor Leyton, or the many other games that aren't actually children's games, but that I discounted because of the graphics.

          Which doesn't lead to the Vita being a failure.

          maybe a commercial failure in Australia. But my point was more that 3 retail chains in Australia not stocking the Vita isn't going to have a huge effect on the Success/Failure of the console.

          Yes lot's of people don't know EB/Game exist, Though JB they most likely will. But the thing is that the Vita at the moment isn't really the most buy this for your 10 year old thing around. And i'm not sure that trying to go after that market would be that useful considering that those kids probably just got a 3DS for Xmas

        Parents like to layby for xmas so i'd say its a big deal

          Which is a whole 10 months away when the console releases. A lot can change in that time. At the moment i would guess the retailers are playing it safe. Generally they slash the price on the console and move a ton more games(where the profit is anyway).

          But with the cheaper digital component of the Vita they might merely being cautionary.

      The Big Three are not "Dropping Out". We wanted to stock these but they have been made exclusive by the sellers from Sony. We have no option.

    Those video games. They're for kids. And kids don't have that much money. iPads are for serious business types with responsibilities and stuff.

      Thats exactly right! Can someone explain tablets to me, i never quite understood what they were for.

        They're a cheap alternative to capsules when you're feeling sick.

          So its like a pill shaped cuddling device? Gotcha ;)

        They're like smartphones for people with huge pockets.

      To be fair, and it's an obvious point, The iPad does have much broader (not saying deserved, mind you) appeal than the Vita.

        It has better marketing ;)

          You are right on the money there my friend, aint no marketing like apple marketing.

            Or, [controversial opinion] there's nothing like well-designed user interfaces and functional software that is a pleasure to use[/controversial opinion].

              Your HTML tag didn't work - it didn't appear controversial.

                I don't see why it should be controversial but judging by other comments I've seen around here, supporting a gaming laptop or an Apple device or a console game is controversial.

                  I own an Alienware laptop, work for a major bank and vote Liberal.

                  It's the Axis of Evil!

    Yeah i Put this on TAY the other day, where i live there is only Big W and a speciality games shop who would sell the wifi version for 400 and the 3G for 500 so it throws my plans completely. I really would like one at launch but it looks like thats not going to happen. I'm think i may order from GAME, you get ridge racer with it. Not that i want ridge racer but het frees free right?

      You can always trade RR in to knock the price of the console down a bit. I done that with a ps3 bundle recently at Game.

    Ouch any hope for a $300 or less Vita just went out the window, maybe Dick Smith but I think tose stores are winding up or closing soon.

    Sad news for folks like Chuloopa. :(

      Gutted. Utterly gutted.

      On the plus side, i've already entered, lik, three comps for one of the bloody things!
      *fingers crossed*

    Yeah, I'm officially waiting for a few months now... Hopefully when Big W finally do get it they can do a nifty bundle that includes Uncharted!

    It probably has more to do with network exclusivity deals with Telstra and Optus.

      If it was anything to do with that, they'd still sell the WiFi version like JB are.

        They definitely have similiar agreements - I'm more proposing that the they have decided only stocking the wifi version wasn't worth it following reports of preorders in Japan. They may also have really strict agreements that don't allow any of the units. I'm really just speculating - I'll take other theories.

        The other possible theory is they don't think the unit would sell. Given their market position its totally implausible that Sony didn't want them to stock it. If that were true, the entire board should be dismissed for incompetence.

    Wow, I did not expect this. Not even the WiFi version... It seems like a really weird move. If I was planning on getting a Vita I'd probably be a little annoyed. :P

    Kmart/Target/BigW are usually the places that I check prices before buying anything. If Kmart wasn't selling the 3DS for $288 (cheap for the time) I probably wouldn't have even bought one at launch.

    And that is the death of the Vita down under (well now it has no chance of expanding its audience a little outside of core gamers because it is now going to only be stocked by speciality gaming stores).

    A bad sign.... Still looking forward to picking up a 2nd gen Vita though if enough quality games are consistently being released.

    After looking at the prices for a 3g model plus the costs of actually using it i'm going to say no

    The price is much to high for a handheld system that does not have alot of games. I bought my psp slim at launch and while i had up until the end of 2010 i only ever used it for music and videos, games were just a bonus.

      I went with a local 3G model for two reasons

      a.) I'm going on Pre-Paid (so I control if I want 3G or not as opposed to a plan)
      b.) All the whistles and bells...GPS being in the 3G Model...Sure I probably won't use it but you never know, something might make use of it one day

      (and this is the big one) c.) Because if the 3G model sells terribly then I think it will be abandoned by Sony...I honestly believe this, if the WiFi model is the preffered choice then I think by the end of the year they will abandon the 3G model and go back to One SKU. So In that case, I'm getting a 3G model whilst its still in exsistence. (but I could be wrong here)

        I'm puzzled why anyone would want the 3g version anyway. Apparently you cant play multiplayer on the network or do 20MB downloads which really just leaves browsing, stats checking and other functions a smartphone can perform equally well. The salt in the wound is that a ssmartphone can tether its (non-vodafone) 3g to the wifi model and bypass these restrictions .

    I'll be waiting for the inevitable price drop. If we don't buy it early they will drop the price, right?

      Buying handhelds nowadays is like watching a dubstep video.

        it gives you a headache?
        it involves creepy looking children?
        it's repetitive?
        the sales attendants name is ROB ROB ROB-ROB RAWWWB

    You guys can't have Vooks reporting on PlayStation. It's a conflict of interest. Daniel clearly has a financial (and a personal) interest in seeing the Vita fail and Nintendo products succeed.

      I don't see anywhere in the article where some sort of bias came through. The facts were reported fairly so what does it matter who wrote the article?

      Little known fact: Vooks is actually a PlayStation fanboy.

      The above post is not in any way, wholly or in part, endorsed by Kermitron Enterprises Inc. (est. 1982).

    Makes perfect sense, the Vita is directed at hardcore gamers, and hardcore gamers know not to shop at any of those 3 stores... Prices are always inflated and the range of games simply sucks... Any actual gamer would have already pre-ordered at JB or EB by now anyway.

      Are yu kidding? The prices are all inflated? Are you sure of that?

        Yeah that made me lol, the prices at the big 3 retailers have pretty much always been cheaper at launch than EB or Game.

      If I recall, Big W had outstanding launch deals for 3DS and the PS3. I got my xbox and wii from JB though, so I can't remember for those.

        I got mine from Big Dub. The 3DS was $340 and it came with Ghost Recon (or Rayman) as well as a cleaning case. I t was the best deal in Australia for ages.

          At launch DSE had the 3DS with a Ubisoft launch title for like $280 with free shipping.

            $277! And yes, that dick smith deal was amazing, though i remember Target had a decent launch pack that was better than EB (where the real gamers ostensibly shop), according to a 12 year old.

      well I'll be damned, I guess I'm not an 'actual gamer' based on where I buy games from. Thanks for enlightening me.

    "Sony has also dropped the price of the 3G Vita by $30 to $419.95 (when purchased with a Vodafone sim card, from Vodafone) just a week before launch. The price of the Wi-Fi unit remains unchanged at $349.95"

    Christ almighty that's expensive. Somewhere along the line in my complete ambivalence towards the Vita, I forgot about those prices.


      The 3DS was $349.95 at launch.

        So what? So was the Wii. So is a set of Yomohaka tyres. So is a tee-shirt from high street. That's not related.

        I had the same gut reaction (in fact, it may have even been stronger) towards (away?) the 3DS.

        $400 (+/- $50) upfront is too much as far as I'm concerned, and apparently the big box movers agree.

          Fair enough.
          I was just adding some perspective.
          Cheer up buttercup.

    I'm unsurprised. The PSP Go was something of a flop and retaillers were hesitant to stock it because the profit margin on the console wasn't worth it if they couldn't sell the software too.

    I'm sure the Vita is a good machine (and I might be interested if I wad any interest in handhelds at all) but I can't blame these retaillers for keeping their hands off it until it shows it has some longevity.

      Has nothing to do with longevity really. I think the fact that the online store exists is a concern for them.

      With the iDevices they don't have an avenue to sell software for the devices themselves. At most they sell iTunes Credit.

      Retailers like BigW and Target generally cut the price on the console at launch but expect to foster goodwill and get more game sales in the early weeks thus getting some nice moolah. The reportedly cheaper online store throws a spanner in that plan.

      Problem from a retailer perspective with the PSPGo was that it essentially was asking them to waste shelf space on a product that probably had piss poor margins. And they would probably see no future profits from(PSN cards exist as well) While actively discouraging their current PSP game purchasers from buying in there store since with the new PSPgo they had to go online to buy anyway

    Dudes, check Play-Asia.

    Even with turbo postage it's only $320. It's cheaper than EB and Game, and the online store has like 10x as many titles as the EU one and it's cheaper in the long run.

      Only problem with that is if it breaks you are up to shit with getting it fixed.....

      You can access the US store without using a US system.

        Not through the Vita though, you have to use a PS3 and use the file transfer method, which is a bit worrying now they're talking about limiting it.

    Seeing as the Vita is region-free, the cost of importing one would surely be less than the cost of purchasing locally, no?

      It is but again if it breaks you really can't get it fixed anywhere...

        As long as you have proof of purchase, assuming it comes with a world-wide warranty, which basically ALL major electronics companies provide, then all you have to do is walk into an EB, JB, Dick Smith, etc, and ask them for the details of the repair centre. Then send it in yourself.

        I do that with a lot of my electronics anyway, since it saves about 2 weeks on the repair process.(going me->repair centre->me, rather than me->store->head offices->repair centre -> head offices -> store -> me).

        Admittedly, a lot of retailers do a replacement warranty on <$400 items in the extended warranty period, but we're going on the assumption that it's going to break in the first year.

        It's under warranty. You get it fixed the same way you do a local one

    i was hoping for day 1 Vita price wars, but obviously that won't be happening now. I will not be purchasing Vita until Sony come to their senses and drop the price more.

    ok so we will be limited when it comes to buying the psp locally but what if we import it? are the games going to be region free?

    I didn't realise people actually bought video games/consoles from those 3 retailers. I'm serious, btw - on the rare occasion I enter such establishments, I'm usually met with a sub standard range, with really odd pricing. (Some things super cheap, others crazy expensive)It sort of feels like they only update their prices every 6 months. Maybe it's just me.

      At Big W, and prices are really inconsistent. Mass Effect 1 for Xbox is in a bargain bin at $40, Alan Wake 1 still costs $78 but is 24 at K-Mart and Forza 3 is $15 when it's $29 at EB.

      They don't pay particular attention to their game prices lol.

        This x100000000!

        Big W is weird when it comes to pricing games. You can go in and 2-3 year olf games still have $78 stickers on them or something.

        As for the Vita, I think The Good Guys will stock it, Dick Smith, Eb, JB etc.. If you pay cash at The Good Guys they'll probably give you some sort of discount.

          you mean, Good Guys will stop charging extra if you pay in cash.

          As someone who worked for DSE, my experience was that we sometimes went 9 months without changing the prices on 90% of the games in stock, all of which were <18 months old. Same goes for Big W, from what I've seen. It's erratic as.

        Who cares if they're inconsistent?
        I'm not going to go in to buy a PS Vita, a 2 year old PS3 game, Skyrim and a new wired xbox 360 controller. Thats a weird shopping list.

        I walk in buy new launch day 3DS (around $290) and the cheapest advertised SFIV-3DS.
        Then a few months later I go in and buy Mario Land 3DS at $20 under EB Games etc.
        Then the next week I go in a do the same for Mario Kart.

      Spot on! I only ever go in there in case they've priced something stupidly cheap. I am usually disappointed.

    I preordered one yesterday from GAME simply because it comes with RIIIIDGE RACEEER!

    Bought my games on play-asia though.

      Also ridge Racer has free DLC for people who purchase it within the first week of release, so not only you get for free you get $8-$10 free DLC as well....

      By the way its not being stocked in the three big retailers is because there is limited stock being shipped to Australia and SONY is struggling to make sure the stock to all stores, so they charge retailers more on the wholesale price for now due to limited stock.

        They have plenty of stock in Japan they can't sell.

    Good, I hope everything Sony does fails.

      Yay for constructive input!

      Now that sony knows you feel that way adam, i'm sure they'll leave the business world forever.

      However will they get on without your blessing, adam?

      Did ken kutaragi have relations with your significant other while you were at work?

    It's a bit shitty for people looking to pick up a Vita for the best price. I got my launch 3DS cheap at Target with a free game.

    I've been finding that Big W (or at least my local one) have been really bad at getting stuff in stock. They didn't even get Resident Evil Revelations or the Circle Pad Pro for the 3DS (or did Nintendo/Capcom have a hand in that?)

    Even stuff that has been advertised in their catalogues you go in there and ask and they say "We don't have it yet, come back next week" even though the catalogue says it should be out.

    Then they probably wonder why their customers are buying online from overseas.

    Christmas sales??? I want one but not at current prices. If I was nintendo - 3DS 2 stick revision NOW. Killer blow. I would buy one. I want the Vita to compete BUT how???? It seems Sony are giving out mixed messages regarding it's audience AND the constant price changes / distribution changes are not engendering a sense of confidence in me.

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