Yoshida Talks Vita Expenses: “It’s a Burden Having 3G”, Likens to PS2 Broadband Functionality

Ever since Sony announced that there would be two different versions of the PS Vita at last year’s E3, the question that has been plaguing gamers’ minds is whether or not the 3G-enabled model is worth the extra $50 and subsequent data fees.

During an interview with Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida at DICE, GameIndustry.biz asked that very question, to which Yoshida responded by confessing that the company initially had its own share of uncertainties with the 3G model.

That’s a question we asked ourselves maybe 200 times over the course of the development.

But from the very outset, in early 2008 when we first started the project, we had a very high level goal. We looked at all the technology we could and the advancements that we could use in a new system. 3G was always in the top five things we wanted to do.

Because of how people are using social networks and how people are connected, we saw the opportunity that games can be enhanced by having 3G and an always-on capability.

Yoshida went on to explain the difficulty in moving forward in this space, pointing out the expenses that come with using such technology.

More so than the cost of goods involved to have 3G capability, it’s a burden having 3G, because 3G it’s not cheap. It’s an investment from consumers and sometimes they have to make a commitment depending on the country. More pre-paid plans are available but it’s still additional money people have to spend on top of the content. We want people to spend more on the content, not on the connectivity, to be honest. There’s a balance.

He went on to liken the 3G functionality to the PS2’s added internet capabilities:

It’s like when we started the PlayStation 2. We didn’t have the broadband capabilities, but we added those features knowing that not all users would have it. We were prepared to put that in the middle so that publishers and developers could start experimenting with online games, so that we can learn from their feedback and prepare for future growth.

That’s the same stage in my mind by introducing the 3G SKU for certain people who have more money and are more interested in trying something new, to choose the 3G version but also at the same time prepare a WiFi version.

If you’re getting a Vita, will you be purchasing a 3G Vita or do you plan to settle for the cheaper, Wi-Fi only model? Let us know in the comments below.