The rumors have turned out to be true, and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has announced that the lighter, slimmer PS Vita 2000 (PCH-2000) will be released in the UK on February 7 for a price of £179.99 (about $296 US). It sells in Japan for 20,000 yen (or about $195 US). The Recommended Retail Price is £199, but it seems very few shops actually sell it at that price, instead opting togo lower (or you could import one for less than the UK retail price). Such a thing doesn’t happen over night; it takes time and realization of the lack of appeal. The store prices have nearly unanimously become that way because the Vita sits and collects dust at the old prices. Sony leaving it that high means setting the stores in another cycle of trial and error, taking away any shot at early momentum.
While it’s great to see new versions of the hardware being spread to other regions, this is ridiculous. Without trying too hard, gamers can find bundles that include a Vita system, a memory card, and several games, for as little as £140 brand new. The system simply is not moving at the retail price.
Moreover, part of the point in developing this new system was to lower the production costs on Sony’s end. The Sony crew could keep the price the same, or be a nice lot and pass the savings on to you, but this is neither of those. Production costs are down, and the price is going above that of the old model. If one didn’t know any better, one might assume that the PS4 and PS Vita were made and marketed by completely different companies, as one product seemingly made all the right moves and the other has a double agent trying to kill it before it reaches the shelves.
This is frustrating as a Vita owner, because I want the thing to take off, get some great sales, and therefore interest more developers in the machine. If that happens, then I continue to get more and more great games for a system I enjoy. And if it doesn’t, then I have another Dreamcast. Sony needs to rethink the marketing strategy of this hardware revision, or it ultimately won’t have done anyone much good.
I played with the new model at the Tokyo Game Show and wrote this, but don’t own one myself. In Japan, it is pretty much phasing out the older hardware with its fancy OLED screen, and there’s reason to believe this will happen elsewhere. If you don’t yet own a Vita and that OLED screen is something you think you’d want, best to get a new Vita now. If the other improvements with a Vita 2000 are more to your liking and LCD is your thing, you need only wait a short while to jump into Vita’s excellent game library.