The PS Vita launches today in North America and I know more than a few people who are clamoring to get their hands on the units they preordered. Sony’s marketing has picked up substantially for the Vita in the past few weeks, albeit having some very ambiguous commercials that really don’t highlight anything about the system’s capabilities (the GAMECHANGER campaign). Besides the marketing for the system going into overdrive, deals for the system have followed suit. Almost every retailer that is selling the Vita is offering some kind of deal either on the hardware, accompanying software or both. I know Sony constructed their own “Launch” bundle that included and 8 GB memory card, one month of 3G access from AT&T and a free PSN game for $299.99 (the standard price of the 3G/WiFi model). Those three additional items amount to a $55 value which is nothing to sneeze at (that is almost two Vita games). While Sony won’t come out and say that they are worried about the poor sales in Japan, this bundling incentive was absolutely constructed to make the system more appealing at launch.
For those of you not familiar with the “Ambassador” program, it was an initiative from Nintendo to appease early adopters who felt cheated when Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS $80 six months after it launched in March of last year. Nintendo offered a bunch of free content to members of the program that was available through the Nintendo E-Shop, but I feel Sony is taking opposite approach. Sony won’t drop the price of the system because it will cost them too much money up front and it will inadvertently show weakness and lack of confidence in their product, both of which are bad things. In addition to hardware bundles many retailers are offering deals on the software including buy 2 get 1 free deals and other discounted software on day one. I have no doubt that this has been initiated to stimulate sales of not only software available at launch, but also the hardware. Attach ratios are huge for retailers because the ones that sell more units per transaction are given preference when it comes to restocking inventory. Offering the value day one is a great strategy Sony is undertaking and I think the consumer will appreciate it, rather than having to wait several months to get content which is how Nintendo handled it.
I have gone on record saying that I really want a Vita (probably the 3G/WiFi model), but can’t afford one now, but Sony is making it very difficult for those who want and can afford one to say no at launch. The deals being offered now will likely resurface at some time, but it takes a little bit of the sting out of purchasing at launch when you have such great offers on the table. I have high hopes for the Vita in North America and I hope it exceeds everyone’s expectations and with this “preemptive Ambassador” initiative I think more people will be inclined to purchase now rather than later. The Vita will more than likely be dominating the gaming airwaves for the coming weeks and we will do our best to offer what coverage we can, but in the meantime let us know what you think about the Vita by sounding off in the comments section. As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.