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Vita price cut this year 'essential to stimulate sales' - research firm

New handheld can move 12.4 million units globally in 2012 'if Sony reduces cost'

Research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics expects Sony to follow Nintendo's 3DS strategy by cutting Vita's price early in its lifecycle.

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While SCE UK boss Fergal Gara told CVG yesterday that a price cut for the just launched, £230 PS Vita is "not currently" on the company's radar, Strategy Analytics believes such a move "will be essential to stimulate sales and forge a competitive position".

It expects Vita to sell 12.4 million units globally this year, assuming a price cut is introduced sometime in 2012.

"Vita's hardware sales could reach $2.2 billion assuming a $180 [£114] average retail price," Strategy Analytics said. "In the time of austerity, consumers are considerably sensitive to prices, and Nintendo proved that a price cut can save a product. Their decision to slash the price of 3DS's from $249 to $169 revived sales of the console.

"Sony now is experiencing the same story in Japan. Sales of the Wi-Fi version of PlayStation Vita at $249 initially exploded, selling more than 300,000 units in the first week of release. But the new console is barely moving 20,000 units per week in its home market after all the hard-core fans made their purchases, mirroring the experience of the Nintendo 3DS.

"Strategy Analytics expects sales of PlayStation Vita in North America and Europe to follow the same pattern, suggesting that a price cut will be essential to stimulate sales and forge a competitive position.

"Despite the solid design and strong processing power, it is challenging to convince consumers to buy a dedicated game console above the $200 price range in today's economic environment as Nintendo has learnt. Sales of 3G models will be a particular challenge as it demands a $50 premium and additional data plan charges and in the long run is likely to represent only a small portion of total PlayStation Vita sales."

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