3 Ways to Save PS Vita in Japan
The launch of the PlayStation Vita in Japan certainly didn’t go too well. By the second week the system had only sold under 73,000 units compared to the Nintendo 3DS' 197,000. However, all is not lost with some sense applied.
1. Bundles (Memory Cards Included!)
If you didn’t know, the PlayStation Vita doesn’t come with any games or accessories. If you order the system, the system is what you’ll get. There were no pre-determined bundles for the system. This means more money spent. The consumers of the world aren’t stupid. You see the sleek PlayStation Vita on sale for just ¥24,980 and you think, “thats great!”. However, there are the ever essential memory cards that are undoubtedly costly. The total quickly adds up, particularly against the Nintendo 3DS which has received a price cut across the world. Offering incentives to retailers, or listing official bundles at the price that was outed prior to release would ease consumers, offering a more competitive package against the 3DS. You would have thought Sony wouldn’t have made the same pricing mistakes they did with the PS3 at launch. Sadly, with the required additional costs of accessories and games, they have.
2. Sensible Marketing
Its not often that the PlayStation brand receives a stellar marketing treatment with the launch of it’s products. Advertisements, particularly on TV, are often of little relevance to the product itself. The Vita has a strong software lineup at launch as Sony realised not to make the same mistake made with the PS3. [insert no gamez joke here]
However, what’s the point in having such a strong lineup if the consumer knows nothing about them? Typically, its only really the hardcore gamers and fanboys who will find ways to appreciate irrelevant ads. Its these hardcore gamers which will buy the system regardless of the marketing or price.
The marketing has to be aimed at those that are most swayed, the gamers sitting on the fence. What gets people off the fence you may ask? Good quality games. Show the games off and just what this beautiful handheld can actually do. Seeing a cyclist in the pouring rain doesn’t make people decide to buy a Vita. Seeing a console quality Uncharted on a crystal clear OLED screen does!
3. Release an exclusive/original Monster Hunter Game
As daft as it may seem, releasing a Monster Hunter game in Japan would be huge. All one has to do is look at the reasons for the PSP’s success in Japan. A set of Monster Hunter releases turned the PSP into a cultural phenomenon. The recent release of Monster Hunter Tri G in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS has undoubtedly bolstered sales for the system.
To me, the release of MH on 3DS just before the Vita launch was a major coup by Nintendo, but not a stroke of genius. It baffled me as to why Sony allowed that to happen. It really did take the sting out of releases such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which in itself has far more of a fanbase in the West. Japanese gamers have a different taste than gamers in the West. This is clearly indicated by that Hot Shots Golf outsold Uncharted.
An exclusive Monster Hunter game for the Vita which is a new entry into the franchise would initiate a Vita selling frenzy. If this was to come out in Q4, coupled with bundles, clear marketing and a potential price cut; the Vita could become Japan’s true successor to the PSP.
I have a lot of faith in the Vita. After playing it in London in September, I’ve seen what the system can do. Its a shame that in Japan the system hasn’t gotten off to a flying start. The system has huge potential and its up to Sony to get the best out of it.
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