We Fools aren't right 100% of the time. But in this case, three of us are hitting it right on target.
Yours Truly, along with fellow Fools Rick Munarriz and Patrick Martin, have all predicted that Sony's
The Vita seemed to be off to a healthy start when it launched in Japan two weeks ago. Within the first few days, more than 324,000 units were sold. That figure was about 50,000 short of the Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY.PK) 3DS debut earlier this year. Sales experienced a precipitous drop during Christmas week, tumbling by 78% to roughly 72,000 units.
After converting from yen, the Japanese debut prices were $320 for the Wi-Fi model and $385 for the Wi-Fi + 3G model. When it makes it stateside on Feb. 22, we can expect price tags of $249 and $299, respectively. Those price points are all insultingly high, when the 3DS is already selling for almost a third less after shaving a few pounds and smartphones that people already carry can satisfy mobile-gaming needs.
Sony never gives up its expensive proprietary format pushes, and the Vita is no different. You'd think the company would have learned its lesson with Betamax, which was 36 years ago. Over the years, it's tried MiniDiscs, Memory Sticks, and Universal Media Discs (UMDs), among others.
Comparing domestic preorder prices on GameStop's
Game developers like Electronic Arts
Sony is sticking by its prices. In August, Sony exec Kazuo Hirai told Bloomberg, "We have a very good product at a very affordable price. There's no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video-game industry decided they were going to." Happens to be? Competition isn't a coincidence, and pricing strategy has been a staple of rivalry since the beginning of time. Hirai needs to retake Competition 101.
Dedicated handheld gaming systems are a dying breed. There will always be a market for them, but one that is rapidly shrinking in the face of "good enough" alternatives. The 3DS took about five months domestically to chop off 30%. I give the Vita three months before we see the same.
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