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.


Comments

    While this doesn't bode well for the system short-term, I'll still be there day one. I'm going through GAME so I can get me a free copy of RIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER. Play-Asia and ozgameshop for all of my other games though.

      Hate to be the bearer of bad news, Ridge Racer got delayed. :/

        Wasn't Ridge Racer "Unbounded" delayed? The Vita one should release on time.

        NooooOOOOOoooooooo!!!!

        I should note, however, that all retailers are still listing it as a 23/02 release. I guess I'll get the game anyway and can play PSP games on the thing until my ozgameshop order arrives. Crisis (sort of) averted!

    You got to love how Kmart come out and say that they are all about low prices and crap. If that's the case you don't seem to have a problem selling a $399 BBQ.

    Gametraders isn't getting it officially either. All preorders for them have been told to get the units from GAME

      Wow... if thats true then just wow....

      I guess if they have a lot of copies of Ridge Racer on the shelves then it would be true :P

    I thikn the department stores have just been burnt by all the drama and failures of the other PSP's.
    And now days people just have so many electronic devices to choose from.

    i had no thoughts of getting one but may change my mind after Sony copies Nintendo once again and has a struggling launch and then a huge price drop.

    Make no mistake - retailers like money. If they're not stocking this, the only reason can be is that they don't believe it will be successful.

      It's more that the profit margin is low comapred to the storage space. Since the titles are going to be distributed digitally, they can't balance that out with software sales like other consoles.

      It's simply not worth it unless they're confident they'll sell their full allotment.

        I'm sure that's a part of it. But Apple margins are lower & they have an even greater digital distribution model than the Vita. Yet these retailers still stock it because I assume they're moving them in enough volume to make it worthwhile...

          Yeah, the difference is every idiot thinks they need an iPad, not so for the Vita! there's that marketing ability people mentioned earlier..

    *$350 handheld, costs more than a console
    *Didn't learn from Nintendo's mistake
    *Memory card not included, pushes price of handheld to $400
    *3 big retailers not stocking it

    Anyone else reminded of a Sony handheld that did abysmally here?

      Am I the only one who doesn't think the price is too bad? Look at the price of high end phones these days.

        Phone - phone calls, messages, emails, significantly better camera, multitude of applications and functionality and can play games at an adequate level.

        Vita - gaming device.

        Its not really a fair comparison as the functionality of a 400-500 smart phone, significantly outweighs this.

          Well it depends where your priorities lie.

          Vita - hardware optimised for gaming, extra touch pad, bigger, better screen, physical controls, games which seem like high end ps2/low end ps3 titles.

          Phone - Fairly average games as far as I'm concerned, touch screen controls only work for "casual" titles.

          Ultimately you can check your emails, browse the web and play games on both. Obviously the phone has a phone in it, and has more apps. But the Vita is going to be a MUCH better device for gaming than a phone which would cost you $400-800.

          I'm not saying they're the same, but they're definitely comparable.

            As for Phone Gaming...I don't want it to take over the handheld market

            Personally, I was bored to tears after ten minutes of Infinity Blade...I really don't like playing games on my phone at all and I don't want that market to wipe out the handheld market

            So I am really pulling for BOTH the 3DS and PS Vita...I want them both to succeed...just so that way we don't have the market be taken over by mediocre phone gaming.

            Not comparable at all. All the positives you list for the Vita aren't features, they're adjuncts to play games, and even then won't be implemented in all of them. It really just boils down to Vita (good at games, bad at everything else) and smartphone (jack of all trades).

            Indeed your Vita list is padded with inaccuracies or exaggeration. Bigger better screen? Have you seen the galaxy nexus or note? These are vita sizes in much more pocket able form factors with superior pixel density, contrast etc. Additionally, the smartphone life cycle is NOT at all like a handheld's. A smartphone line has a yearly cycle. If you include them all as one block, there's a new device every week. Plus while the vita is comparable now, it will be severely long in tooth 5 years on with advances in processor, battery and display technology.

        i think the price is fine and comparing it with 5-6 year old consoles doesn't really make sense. i mean fuck sony for putting years into developing a new handheld and asking to slowing make their money back. bastards. having said that i'm not buying one at launch, mainly just because i'm a collector and my backlog of games to play is so fucking ridiculous i cant warrant a new console.

        This is a gaming device, not a phone. Besides, a decent all-round phone only costs $100-$250, which is way cheaper than an iPhone or a Vita, for that matter.

        The damn thing costs more than a console, and remember how bad the 3DS did at $350? What makes Sony think they'll do well at $400?

        I don't know why people keep making the comparison between the Vita and phones. A vita isn't trying to be a phone, it is trying to be a handheld. If early reviews and impressions are accurate, it's probably the best handheld ever.

        Gaming on your phone is pretty weak. Adequate if you're not really into gaming that much but you need to kill some time while you wait for the train. Talk to me about gaming on your phone when you can play any of the current handheld games on a phone.

          I think they compare them because aside from the actual phone part, the Vita seems a lot like a smart phone, since it has 3G and web apps. Personally I was surprised they didn't include a higher priced model which included a phone.

            Frankly, I don't get the 3G version. Not "I'm not going to get it", I mean I don't understand why it exists.

              I know what you mean. If 3G was fast enough to play games, it would be great. But at the moment it just seems like they put it in there for email and web apps. Personally I would have been happy to pay much more for a version with a phone in it, despite the size.

    I'm gonna wait for a bundle that's actually good.
    If not I'll wait for them to put it up on the rewards store for my credit card.

    I'm torn between supporting a platform I really want to succeed and saving money by waiting for a price drop.... = /

    Personally, I don't give a crap about Big W, Target or Kmart...this is how little I go to these retailers. The only time I go to these retailers are for home supplies at best.

    But if I want anything tech wise, JB is the place I go to.

    But I can see how this will hurt with the Average Parent out there who would look towards the "big" 3.

    I really like the Vita, I really think its a drastic improvement over the PSP (which I also liked and remain in that small crowd that liked it)...but I really don't think its gonna suceed with the mainstream...which is a real shame, cause I think its a fantastic handheld and have loved my Japanese model since I got it

    Is it possible this could be due to a limited supply of launch units?

    Want a Vita but will wait for the inevitable price drop and bundles around the End of Financial year sales. Wifi will sell close to if not lower than 250 bucks which should be justifiable..

    Side note: Can anyone clarify Vodafone's free Wipeout 2048 offer? In the Vita brochure doing the round at EB, etc, they obviously mention the 3G Vita comes with a Voda SIM, and 'connect and recharge' for a download code for a free copy of WIpeout 2048. Assuming from PSN, of course.

    Now I'm aware the Vita isn't locked to any network, and the Voda SIM is purely optional. I'll be setting up the Voda SIM as pure data prepaid SIM, and am curious on the conditions for receiving a code for WO2048.

    Before anyone decides to pay on Vodafone, I'm not really interested, this is my chosen provider for Vita. Just trying to clarify if I can get a code with a prepaid SIM, or if they're only giving it away with say a 12month contract data pla, or purchasing the Vita from Voda themselves, which they adevrtise on their website.

    Any thoughts?

      Yeh I'm interested in this too.

      Can I be a sneaky bastard and buy a 3G model from Game with free Ridge Racer, hook it up to vodafone pre-paid for a month and get a wipeout code?

        That's pretty much what I'm hoping to do. =)

        At the back of the current dick smith catalogue they explain it really well...
        With each vita 3g you get a vodafone sim card with 200mb which expires in 30 days of activation. If you decide to recharge ($23.20 with a 20% discount) you get Wipeout for free. Pretty lame that it doesn't seem to apply for the vita on vodafone contract with the only bonus a measly 4gb card.

    I'd wager the big department stores are wary of how badly it did in Japan during it's launch, especially given it's high price. I think it's a good machine, but I'm concerned about the upcoming titles for it: There's still nothing announced that says "We need to get a Vita to play [title x]!".

    The good ones are either already/coming out on the 3DS or the PS3, which you could buy now for the same price and have access to a far bigger library of games (with the PS3, I mean)., or have that fun flavour of unique and interesting you just know won't sell in huge numbers (at least outside of Japan)

    DO NOT BUY THIS THING AT LAUNCH

    The less people who buy it means that the more Sony will be forced to lower the price.

      So I'm to skip buying it, when I think it's fairly priced, I have the money for it, and I'm extremely excited about it - so you can get it cheaper? Sorry, I'll pass.

    The 3g has been $419 for ages now. I think it's great news that they aren't stocking it. Leave it to the people who know what they're talking about.

    I think at the moment, I'll pass. I really want one, but realistically its going to cost me over $400, to get up and running with a memory card and game. That is really steep imo and money that could be else ware. As soon as the console hits the 250-280 mark, I'm there.

    I find this really odd that big retailers would completely ignore the vita like this, it reminds me of the Sega saturn and Dreamcast days but Sony has been doing well of late - Everyone's talking about how great the 360 is doing thanks to Kinnect but Sony actually outsold the all other globally last year. Why miss another opportunity to make some money of a new product? Even the 3DS sold well at launch before it slumped in the coming months...

      Sony has been doing great? Certainly not financially. They've recorded loses for 4 straight years. I think the latest loses were about 2.8 billion USD.

    DAMN! I was hoping for a cheaper BigW or Kmart price like $288.

    You know what those 3 retailers are actually saying...

    "We will stock it if it proves successful and a good seller, we still have 2nd gen PSP's lying around for gods sake!"

      $288 is an unrealistic price. The big retailers don't deserve to stock it. They are retail soul suckers and do nothing but destroy jobs, fair trade, and equal competition.

      There would be no way the big retailers would sell it that cheap, Maybe $1-$10 cheaper, but thats about it.

    What's with all the ripping on these 3 stores? Fact is, their launch/introductory prices are always heaps cheaper than EB/JB/GAME's

    I have no doubt that if they were selling the Vita, Target, Kmart and Big W would've had the cheapest prices on the console and games.

    D.O.A.

    Somehow I don't think this is Sony limiting distribution. You only have to go into a Big W and see the unkept shelves of DS games with dwindling stock, DS and 3DS games mixed together, not to mention the bargain bins starting to appear with PSP title and old DS titles crammed in them.

    Handhelds have had a soft year, the big games like Zelda and Mario 3D are selling, but not at a $60 price tag, only when they go on special, the rest of the year they just fester.

    Maybe some here are too young to remember but when the big 3 retailers stopped stocking the Gamecube around late 2004 it was game over in this country.

    I think it is great that the big retailers aren't stocking it. They are destroying the gaming industry and are all about selling a cheap price, rather than an experience and a great gaming conversation that you would get at GAME and some EB stores.

    The price is honest and I've seen the cost prices of these units and they are not over capitalising on the fact that the large retailers aren't stocking.

    The 3G is still available but most places are not taking pre-orders for WiFi for release as they have been exhausted, but you can pre-order it for a mid march release. GAME has the best offer, offering Ridge Racer, JB are offering a Starter Kit (for the same price as game) and I have not seen EB or Dick Smith come to the party with any freebies.

    I do know that GAME are not offering Ridge Racer with the WiFi now but you can still get it with the 3G Model. And GAME were selling it for $419 way before there was any talk of them coming with a pre-paid Vodafone data sim,

    So out of all the retailers, GAME is the best place to go for the VITA. They have stores pretty much all over Sydney and most major shopping centres across Melbourne. Or you can pre-order it off their online store.

    I also not only got Ridge Racer with my pre-order, but a cool set of blue sony ear buds and PSN discounts. As well as that, I get points to spend on other stuff and I can get an extended warranty from them for when the first release of VITA's are faulty as hell and all break down after 12 months of use.

      It is right Ridge Racer is free only with 3G model only, but if you made the WIFI preorder before it happend like I did then its still free with WIFI model but not any more, apparently their WIFI models are sold out completely... That is actually a good thing

        Hahaha you sound like the perfect EB mark. I bet you have game guarantees, 10 pre orders & a subscription to Game informer.

    "with the specific target market being the active gamer".

    I'm so happy to hear this, because it's where Nintendo went wrong with the DS and Wii. Wrong isn't the correct word, but they dumped their core gamer audience in favour of a more profitable "Mums and Dads" approach. Hopefully the PSV will get more attention from serious developers, then.

    In relation to the article, I'd be buying my console from the game retailers if I were to get it, anyway. They sure as hell need the support.

      Unfortunately if it doesn't sell well, it's not going to get attention from any developers, serious or not.

      I'm really floored by this decision, actively limiting your userbase seems incredibly short sighted.

    JB will only stock the WiFi version because Sony decided to partner with Vodafone of all people to provide 3G coverage. Win there kids...

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