Apparently Sony needs more time to prepare for handheld gaming’s last stand, as the Playstation Vita won’t launch until 2012 in America and Europe.
At a press conference in Tokyo, Sony Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai said the company needs more time to ensure a strong software lineup for the PS Vita. Sony’s not calling it a delay – the company never promised a 2011 release across all regions — but there’s no guarantee that the PS Vita will launch in Japan in time for Christmas, either.
Waiting for more software might be wise in light of Nintendo’s troubled 3DS launch. The 3DS had a game lineup out of the gate, and features like the downloadable game eShop and Netflix were added later. Last week, Nintendo announced that it will slash the Nintendo 3DS’s price by $80, to $170. Price cuts were necessary to gain more users, which in turn should foster more support from game developers, the company told early adopters in an apologetic letter.
Sony, however, says it has no plans to lower the PS Vita’s price from $250 in response to Nintendo. “We packed so much into the device and made it very affordable,” Hirai said, according to the Associated Press. “There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower their price.”
I’ve called Sony’s PS Vita the last stand for gaming handhelds because it packs every imaginable feature and strives to put console-quality gaming on a portable device with a 5-inch screen. It’s a technically impressive gaming machine, but it may still be powerless in a world of multi-purpose smartphones and tablets. Missing the holiday season is going to sting, but this battle is a big one, and Sony needs to be ready.